I just returned from Stonewall Resort in West Virginia. The resort is located in the middle of nowhere but has easy access directly off of Interstate 79 that runs down the middle of WVA.
The Arnold Palmer designed course is just a spectacular venue for wilderness/mountain golf. The course is carved out of some of the most gorgeous mountains that rise above Stonewall Jackson Lake, which is the 2nd. largest lake in the State. The golf course has beautiful views of the lake as well as the Stonewall Resort hotel and grounds that sit on the shores of the lake.
The course is tough but fair, and with 6 sets of tees to chose from, it can be a very playable course for any skill level golfer IF the correct set of tees to play from are selected. We played from the Blues which measured just under 6,300 yards. I felt that the rating of 70.0 and the slope of 131 were slightly off. Both numbers, IMO, should be set higher. That is because this course puts a premium on getting the ball on the green with your approach shots.
Very few of the greens are left unprotected to provide for a bailout shot to an open area around the green and most greens are surrounded on all sides by a variety of challenges. Those run the gamut of the usual sand bunkers and various mounding to the use of the natural contours of the property to include steep drop offs to hazard areas close to the lake shores for those holes running along the lake and steep hills behind a couple of greens on the holes in the higher elevations. Water comes into play on some holes also, but the lake itself is not utilized as the primary water hazard. Only one par three, hole #6, requires a shot over a finger of the lake itself. All of the other water hazards come from another source.
For example the second hole is a beautifully designed par three that is surrounded by trouble on three sides. Only the front of the green is left unprotected. The right side has a large bunker that runs the length of the green and on the left side a small pond surrounds the green. This pond is fed by a little mountain creek that trickles down from behind the green producing a wetlands hazard there as well. With the green tucked back between all of those defenses, the only good shot is on the green or just short. The use of these naturally occurring water sources are utilized throughout the design of the course with wetlands and small streams complicating many of the mishit approach shots to these well-protected greens. The final component of this green protection gauntlet is by the use of the naturally occurring native grasses, left high and uncut around some of the greens to gobble up any arrant shots directed their way.
After playing the course for three days in a row, I became more enamored by the course design with experience. It is a golf course that really requires you to consider each shot prior to pulling the trigger in order to manage your subsequent score. If you get sloppy with your game here expect some big numbers to show up on the scorecard. Add to that the premium condition and maintenance given to the course and the result is a four star rating for this venue.
Considering that the course is but one aspect of a large scale resort that includes a full service clubhouse/pro shop, restaurants and bars, a spa, pools, hot tubs, saunas, etc. all with the staff being attentive to their guest's desires, this sums up to nothing but a good time if you decide to try out Stonewall Resort for a few days of golf in a fantastic mountain setting.
Date Played: April 21, 2012 | Cost: $55