|10/15/2005||A much deserved retreat away from the kids found us at a creekside cabin in Warm Springs, VA, just 10 miles (and $200) from the Upper Cascades course at Homestead Resort. No sooner had we dropped off the wives off for a private horseback ride at the Homestead Equestrian Center (who do you think was getting the better deal here?) we arrived at the famed Upper Cascades golf course. Expecting the treatment of a PGA tour pro, I was a bit under whelmed by the muni-style bag drop area, but the friendliness of the starter and the beauty of the course quickly gave me reason to believe this was going to be a special place. We checked in, took out a small loan for greens fees and requested caddies at an additional $60. Back at the bag drop, we were informed that they only had one caddie left – and he was 76 – definitely NOT a double-bagger. Depressed again by the bag drop station, we loaded our GPS-less carts and headed for the first tee. (Don’t expect to hit balls at UC – there is no driving range.) |
The course is an absolute gem. It requires every club in your bag, and while lovers of the big dog will have their chances, placement and putting play a more important role. The front nine takes you into the mountains, where the slope places the importance on ball positioning. The greens however are another story. After a bogey, par start, the short par-4 aptly named “The Table” seemed easy enough. On in two, my short putt rolled clear off the green. These greens are FAST. This was also true on the back nine, down in the valley, where the winds whipped at 20 to 30 mph. Twice I was on in two, only to four putt…that’s right, four putt. It’s tough to line up when you ball is wobbling against the wind.
Depending on the course conditions, which were perfect (the best fairways and greens I’ve played all season), this traditional course plays like a champion. Great customer service, beautiful club house and ample $8 apres-golf whiskeys. Is it worth the college admission to play? Maybe. Will you play another course like this in Virginia? Not likely. Does it deserve the reputation that precedes it? Absolutely. Gball
|10/16/2000||My wife let me “tag along” to a corporate meeting she had at the Homestead so I tried to make the best of it and suffered through a round of golf. The Old Course was the play on this beautiful, sunny, 70-degree fall day. This course features the oldest continous tee in use (the 1st tee) in the United States. The layout is extremely scenic and this course (I’m told) is the most forgiving of the three at the Homestead. I found this to be true, as the fairways were generous with plenty of room to miss. The rough was not too thick and therefore was not too difficult to hit from although the abundance of leaves made ball finding a little difficult. The course itself was unique in that you very seldom had back to back par 4’s. In fact, each nine has 3 par 3’s, 4’s and 5’s, although from the white tees a couple of the par 5 are easily reachable in two and could even be called long par 4’s. Although the layout was not particularly difficult, the real trick to this course is being able to putt on lightning fast greens. The breaks are difficult to read and substantial to say the least. If you have a downhill putt, play it three feet short and hope for the best. The fairways and greens were both in superb shape and I would definitely give the “Old Course” another play if I get the opportunity. Lefty|