Shenandoah Valley - Views of Virginia's Burgeoning Golf Destination

By Jeffrey A. Rendall; Photos By Jeffrey A. Rendall


SHENANDOAH VALLEY, VA – During the American Civil War, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley was known as the ‘Breadbasket of the Confederacy.’  This was primarily because of the richness of its agricultural produce – but it just as easily could have earned the nickname from feeding the hearts and imaginations of the soldiers on both sides with its rolling terrain and abundant natural beauty.


In the 21st century, the guns have long since fallen silent (except maybe for those at VMI), but there’s a new kind of attraction open for ‘feasting’ upon – and it comes in the form of great and affordable golf courses.


Though hardly evoking visions of Myrtle Beach (in terms of sheer number and availability), several new courses have opened up in the Shenandoah in recent years (and more are under construction), highlighted by three 18-hole facilities that are receiving the majority of the word-of-mouth, Packsaddle Ridge in Keezletown (near Harrisonburg), Rock Harbor in Winchester, and the brand new Vista Links in Buena Vista (near Lexington).


These three courses are as different as the properties they occupy – and while there’s a healthy dose of variety involved, they all feature one thing in common -- incredible scenery that everyone will enjoy.


They’re all very reasonably priced, too.


You might have to do some research to find accommodations near them, and the restaurant choices won’t be as varied as with some other destinations (and you’ll also have to do some driving to visit all three in consecutive days), but it’s worth the effort.


Like everywhere else in the Mid-Atlantic, the Shenandoah Valley is growing fast – and these three golf courses were built to help accommodate the growing local demand for places to play.  But that hasn’t stopped regional and national golfers and publications from recognizing the quality of the golf product – and very soon, there could be enough ‘out there’ to attract visitors in large numbers.


For now, be content to discover one of our region’s ‘best kept secrets.’  Here’s a sample of what you’ll see:

The Vista Links' short par four 4th hole provides many hints into the golf course's character: rural setting, big bunkers and beautiful views.

Few golf courses in Virginia have the long-range views of Packsaddle Ridge. It's a very challenging layout from the back tees, but with scenery like this, a bogey or two won't upset you for long.

Rock Harbor was designed and built by owner Denny Perry. All in all, a pretty solid job for a first-timer.

As the name would imply, the Vista Links was designed in the 'American' links-style by former Nicklaus associate Rick Jacobson. The land dictates the hole shape, and it's quite a piece of property to accomplish just that. Here, the par five 16th hole.

Packsaddle Ridge opened in 2002, and it's gone through its grow-in period nicely. The greens are in terrific shape, as are all the playing areas. Here, looking back on the par four 1st hole.

Rock Harbor isn't really a true mountain-style course, but that doesn't stop it from offering beautiful mountain scenery. Looking from behind the par three 2nd hole.

It's all downhill to the Vista Links' par five 2nd hole. Because of the rolling nature of the ground, it's tough to see the landing area -- but there's enough room out there to still feel confident.

Shadows hide the flag on Packsaddle Ridge's par three 7th hole. From the back tees, Packsaddle is one of the tougher challenges in the Old Dominion.

Much of Rock Harbor's land used to be apple orchards -- and some of it still is, like the orchard guarding the dogleg on the par four 15th hole.

Looking back on the Vista Links' tough par four 18th hole. It's so beautiful, you'll want to see it again.

The clubhouse at Packsaddle Ridge overlooks the greens of the par four 18th hole, and also the par five 11th -- shown here.


Rock Harbor Golf Course

365 Rock Harbor Drive

Winchester, VA  22602


Phone:  (540) 722-7111;

Toll-Free (866) 273-1934




Course Designer/Owner:  Denny Perry

Head Golf Professional:  Jerry Wampler


Packsaddle Ridge Golf Club

3067 Packsaddle Trail

Keezetown, VA  22832


Phone:  (540) 269-8188

Toll-Free:  (877) PACKSADDLE


Course Designers:  Russell Breeden and Jeff Forbes

Head Golf Professional:  George Dodson




The Vista Links

Buena Vista, VA


Phone:  (540) 261-4653




Course Designer:  Rick Jacobson

Head Golf Professional/General Manager:  Edward Armentrout

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