Belle Haven Country Club - Views of 'Fun' In the Making

Belle Haven's Website

Photos By Jeff Janas, Text and Captions By Jeffrey A. Rendall


ALEXANDRIA, VA – Needless to say, when you hire a golf architect to remake your golf course, you’re taking a big chance.  Sure, the risk is greatly reduced when you bring in a veteran professional like Arthur Hills, but when the ‘dozers are rolling and the dirt’s being thrown around, you never actually know how it’s going to turn out.


Such was the case for Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria.  Belle Haven’s Head Golf Professional, Steve Danielson, humbly admits he didn’t have a clue what the finished golf course was going to look like while the work was going on:  “It’s kind of funny, during the early stages, watching ‘em build it, I quickly learned how little I knew about landscape architecture, because I had no inkling how beautiful the course was going to turn out – and it really turned out spectacular.”


Danielson continues, “The greens are so perfect, and if anything, they’re only going to get quicker when our superintendent decides to mow ‘em down real short.  I think it’s at least a year away before this place really peaks – as good as it is now, it’ll keep getting better.”


That’s quite a statement considering just how pristine Belle Haven looks right now.  Both Danielson and Superintendent Mike Augustine insisted that landscaping is an on-going project, which will add color and contrast to the already wonderfully tailored waves of lush green bentgrass.


One of the most remarkable things about Belle Haven is – even though you can tell it’s ‘brand new’ in terms of the golf course, it still feels ‘old.’  Danielson said the property’s claim to fame is a centuries old oak tree behind the seventh tee – that was determined to be the second oldest such tree in the state of Virginia (according to a group that came out and measured it).


When I asked Hills about the ancient oak, he joked – “Oh, I didn’t know that – what did we do, take it down?”


Not a chance.  So much of the club’s old-style tradition is still there, much to the delight of members and guests.  Part of that tradition is maintaining a laid-back, people oriented atmosphere – the opposite of the stuffy ‘Bushwood’ (of Caddyshack fame) country club stereotype.


Again, Danielson elaborates:  “One of my assistants went to work at another club, which is a very upscale club.  After about a year, we had an opening and I asked him to come back – he agreed.  He later told me, ‘Steve, the members at this other club, they just don’t have any fun.’”


It’s safe to say, the folks at Belle Haven are having fun.  And why shouldn’t they?  With a golf course like that, a good time’s pretty much a given.  Here are some of the sights you’ll see:

Looking towards the clubhouse on the par four 18th hole. Not a bad way to finish up a golf round, is it?

The 320 yard 5th hole is a perfect, strategic short par four. The diminutive tee ball landing area demands a precise shot with a long-iron or fairway wood, and the bunkering guarding the dogleg will strongly discourage a 'go for it' mentality.

The water level may change with the tide on the par three 17th hole, but the beauty of the setting is certainly a constant.

At 230 yards from the back tees, the par three 9th qualifies as a brute of a hole. This view makes the green look pretty large (as it is), but from the tee it looks like a speck in the distance.

One of the things Arthur Hills did during the renovation was adding quite a bit of water on the course - to increase the challenge, but also provide drainage. Luckily for the members, they built some bridges, too.

Looking from the 13th tee (towards the 12th green) - there's some colorful flora at Belle Haven, too - and according to Danielson and Augustine, it's only the beginning.

Here, you're seeing a view from in back of the flagstick on the par three 6th hole's green. Behind you resides the 'ancient' oak tree - but don't overlook this relatively tame par three.

Taking a look at the par three 10th hole's green complex. The tee shot's downhill, but as you can see from this look, if you miss the green, you're chipping up a slope.

From the fairway of the monstrous 465-yard (and uphill) par four 8th hole, you can see some homes from the neighborhood. They must have a nice view, with the golf course down below and the Potomac River in the distance.

Hills turned the previously flat, relatively featureless 15th hole into a strategic, dogleg right par four. You'll need to choose your club wisely from the tee, and then execute a precise approach shot to get to this point.


Belle Haven Country Club

6023 Fort Hunt Road

Alexandria, VA 22307


Telephone:  (703) 329-5264




Head Golf Professional:  Steve Danielson, PGA

Superintendent:  Mike Augustine, CGCS

Course Architect:  Arthur Hills


Membership Information:


Consult the club’s website for membership contacts.

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