Westfields Golf Club -- Scenes From Fred Couples' Premier Design In Northern Virginia

Text and Captions by Jeffrey A. Rendall; Photos By Jeff Janas
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CLIFTON, VA - When you think of Fred Couples, you probably envision his beautiful and uniquely fluid golf swing.  Or you remember a Masters champion practically ordained by God with that miraculous 'save' on the 12th hole at Augusta National during the final round in 1992.  You see raw power that was the standard for pro golf prior to the days of Woods, Els and Daly.

Now and in the future, however, you just might picture 'Freddie' in another way -- perhaps even as a golf course designer.  That's because Couples, along with design partner Gene Bates -- burst onto the Northern Virginia golf scene with their Westfields creation (opened in 1998), a magnificent track combining the best elements of parkland style golf to provide players of all abilities a terrific golfing experience.

Itís interesting to see how Couples' playing strengths translated into his thinking on course design.  Throughout his professional career, he's been known to excel on long courses with minimal rough -- because his driving's been erratic at times.  Couples' playing strengths convert nicely into his work at Westfields.  The fairways are wide enough for a jumbo jet to land on, and there are a few holes nearly long enough to allow it to take off again. 

David Finocchiaro, Westfields' Head Golf Professional, says that's just the way Couples wanted it:  "Fred wanted to create a challenging course for the low handicappers, but also one that would be playable for the average golfer.  For that reason, the fairways on this course are 5-8 yards wider than for comparable courses."

Measuring 6897 yards from the 'Boom-Boom' tees (par 71), Westfields has length enough to satisfy long hitters, and a solid test of shot-making to keep 'finesse' players happy, too.  There are four par fours measuring over 440 yards, and two of the three par fives probably aren't reachable in two -- except for maybe Mr. Couples himself.  At the same time, there're a couple short par threes and a 285 yard par four to help put the course's overall distance figures in perspective.

Westfields Golf Club is affiliated with the Marriott Hotel of the same name in Chantilly, which adds the extra touch of class you'd expect from the Marriott name.  Here are some sights you'll see at Westfields:




One thing you'll certainly notice from playing a round at Westfields is the large, sculpted bunkers on the course. Gene Bates said they deliberately tried to create a 'potato chip' look to make them distinctive. Mission accomplished.



The 16th hole's green is extremely wide, but not very deep. At 384 yards (par four), it's a good thing you'll only need a short-iron to reach it, because misses short and long are severely punished.



In addition to Westfields' excellent golf layout is a nicely thought-out practice facility. Practice putting down below the Clubhouse, and entertain the onlookers.



There's a fair amount of room to go at the green on the short par four 14th hole (285 yards) -- but if your tee ball ends up in the cavernous bunkers by the green, you'll feel fortunate to escape with par.



Though it might appear intimidating from the tee, the 160 yard, par three 17th hole plays as one of the easiest on the course. Just don't let the pond and bunker fronting the green get to you.



Don't go left on the par three 7th hole (180 yards). But as with many of the holes at Westfields, there's a relatively safe 'miss' option to the other side.



Westfields' 223 yard, par three 3rd hole is one of the signature holes on the course. It's the first one you see when entering the property, and will no doubt leave a lasting impression once you're heading for home.


Details:

Westfields Golf Club
13940 Balmoral Greens Avenue
Clifton, VA 20124

Phone: (703) 631-3300

FAX: (703) 648-0999



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E-mail Jeff Rendall, Editor:
jrendall@golftheunitedstates.com