Cannon Ridge Golf Club -- Nicely maturing into one of the region's best

Text by Jeffrey A. Rendall; Photos by Jeffrey A. Rendall (Photos are below the text)

FREDERICKSBURG, VA -- One of the nice things about covering golf for the past decade in this region has been the ability to see new courses springing up and then keeping track of them as they’ve matured over time.

It’s hard to believe Cannon Ridge is going on six years old – time certainly flies.  But the passage of time has also demonstrated that this facility just north of Fredericksburg has amply solidified its place amongst the region’s best, a layout that’s worth playing, time and again.

Like every new golf facility, Cannon Ridge experienced its share of growing pains – mostly in the form of drainage issues that often left the course so wet that its keepers employed the dreaded ‘cart path only’ policy nearly full-time.  There were other problems as well, some involving the growth of the area, the lack of a clubhouse, and simply getting the word out well enough to keep the clientele flowing.

We’ve had the opportunity to visit Cannon Ridge twice in the past eight months, and were extremely pleased to see it in outstanding condition both times.  We also had the chance to catch up with Cannon Ridge’s new Head Golf Professional, a veteran of the region, Bart Wolfe.  Wolfe brought us up-to-date on the happenings at Cannon Ridge, and assured us they’ll keep working hard to keep the facility placed high in everybody’s minds.

“The golf course is in the best shape it’s ever been,” Wolfe said proudly.  “We’ve used a very aggressive fairways aerification and verticutting program over the past year, which has eliminated the drainage problems.  As a result, we’ve been riding the fairways most of this wet spring, where this time last year we were on the paths almost all the time.”

The club’s also doing more corporate events and weddings, helped along by the new clubhouse – a fine addition to the facility.

In addition, Cannon Ridge is now part of the Raspberry Golf Trail, having partnered with Raspberry Falls, Old Hickory, Blue Ridge Shadows and the Links at Gettysburg to offer frequent customers a good value on several of the region’s premier golf courses.  I was under the impression that the Raspberry group had bought Cannon Ridge, but Wolfe says the original owners are still in place.

“The ownership’s been the same since the beginning, with Gary Schall (past president of the PGA) and Deane Beman (former PGA Tour commissioner and co-designer of the golf course) remaining as principal owners,” Wolfe added.

Raspberry Golf Management was brought in for an 18-month period to run the facility, but now Cannon Ridge is under its own management once again.

Cannon Ridge also retains its emphasis on instruction, with a very active golf academy and its connection with growing the game programs such as Play Golf America and Beman’s 6/90 program, which aims to have beginning golfers shooting in the 90’s within six months.

In other words, Cannon Ridge continues to thrive.  Here are some of the sights you’ll see on the golf course:

The second tee is a good example of how Cannon Ridge is fun for shorter hitters, yet challenging for low handicappers. The ravine in the photo is daunting only from the back sets of tees.

The par five 3rd hole begins a stretch of long and challenging holes -- but if you play it right, you'll likely be putting for birdie.

At 225-yards from the back tee, the par three 4th hole offers a stiff test -- not only is it long, but if you miss left, you'll probably mark down a big number.

From behind the 5th green, you get a panoramic view of the golf course, without a house in sight. The 5th is Cannon Ridge's #1 handicap hole -- and it's a beast that won't be tamed easily.

The 8th hole demonstrates how Beman (and Weed) used the contour of the land to shape the golf holes -- you tee off over a ravine, then the second shot's up a gentle slope to a well bunkered green.

From the fairway of the par four 10th hole, you'll see a very wide target -- but you'll still need to be accurate to have a chance at a birdie or a par.

No matter how many times you see it, you're still awed by the tee shot on the par five 12th hole. From the back tees, it'll take quite a blast just to reach the short grass.

The tee shot isn't the only scenic aspect of the par five 12th. The third shot plays uphill to a green that appears to be on a plateau.

Cannon Ridge's Civil War past is never far removed, with interpretive plaques in several spots and tee markers in the shape of cannons. This cannon rests in back of the 14th green.

There's plenty of room to drive the ball on most holes at Cannon Ridge -- and that's a good thing for the par five 16th hole. The fairway is very wide, but you'll still need to challenge the bunker on the right if you want to get close to the green in two.



Cannon Ridge Golf Club
9000 Celebrate Virginia Parkway
Fredericksburg, VA 22406

Phone: (866) 857-4343; (540) 735-8000


Course Designer: Deane Beman (with Bobby Weed consulting)
Head Golf Professional: Bart Wolfe, PGA


Cannon            7010/147                     75.8
Black               6610/140                     73.0
Blue                 6050/136, 144 (L)       70.2, 74.3 (L)
Gray                5625/120, 135 (L)       69.3, 71.6 (L)
Gold                4655                            67.3


2009 in-season: 
M-F: $69; $49 after 2:00 pm.
Sat-Sun: $79; $59 after 2:00 pm.

Discounts available for local residents, fire, police and military personnel.

Golf packages are available with Genesis Golf Trips and The Golf Guide (and include preferred hotel rates with several hotels in Central Park and on Highway 17. Call the pro shop for details.

Courses within the Raspberry Trail have member reciprocals – club members at any of the Raspberry facilities may play any of the others for $25 on weekdays. Club professionals must call to make tee times.

Note: The Bobby Weed course is still in the medium to long-range plans for Cannon Ridge, but is likely several years away from being built.


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