From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:
I'm a Civil War buff, but I once foolishly skipped touring the Manassas battlefield in Virginia in favor of teeing it up on a then-new course just north of Dulles airport, the awkwardly-named 1757 Golf Club. It's listed as a Dave Heatwole design. Heatwole is a former Nicklaus design associate, best known for Great Bear in Pennsylvania.
1757 is commercial golf of the most disappointing kind. Its centerpiece is a big, clunky practice range and learning center gobbling up valuable land in front of the pro shop. The first tee is a quarter mile away.
The first few holes are tight, tree-lined and edged with water hazards, but then the course emerges onto a plain, flat, open field for several holes. After a half-mile cart ride from the ninth green to the 10th tee (passing a couple of holes in the process), the back nine repeats the disparity, with the added annoyance that, after the 10th hole, the bunkering changes drastically (from decently shaped sculptured ones to flat ovals) and the last eight holes have barely have any shaping. There’s absolutely no flow or movement to those holes.
Here’s the backstory: 1757 was originally intended to be the private Presidential Country Club, a 27-hole Tom Clark design that was reduced to 18 when a new owner brought in Jack Nicklaus’ firm (and hence Dave Heatwole). But then he sold to a third owner, who dropped Nicklaus but retained the lower-priced Heatwole. After nine holes were built, that owner apparently wanted out, so the management firm Billy Casper Golf got a 99-year lease on the property.
That management firm finished the last nine without Heatwole’s involvement, using a local contractor and shaper, and it shows. They also rearranged things to create that huge (and apparently money-making) practice range, in the process sacrificing a decent 18th hole in favor of an anticlimactic 165-yard par-3 closing hole. Okay, it’s over water, but still it seems like an afterthought, mainly because it was. They had nowhere else to fit it in except for a spot hard against the parking lot.
Billy Casper Golf reorganized after Casper's death and became Indigo Golf, which today is a branch of Troon Golf. It no longer operates 1757. Heritage Golf Group now runs it as a middle-class private club with monthly dues less than $400.
I found little to like about 1757, least of all its name, which I was told is the date of the founding of Loudoun County, Virginia. No, it’s not a county-owned course, and county residents don’t get a discount. Loudoun County has no particular significance in American history.
Ratings from our panel of 1,900 course-ranking panelists
“Too demanding (too many trees, too many wetlands) to enjoy. Course layout is average at best."Read More
“Nice DC metro option for a round. Nicklaus design with plenty of water to circumvent..."Read More
“Average but playable public course. Nice practice area and clubhouse."Read More
“Design is too difficult for the average player which leads to a ton of lost balls and very slow play. Cart paths and routing criss cross several times, which makes for a lot of noise and movement around tees and greens. Practice facility is large, covered, lighted and excellent, to include a nice short game area. Practice facilities are one of the best in the area."Read More
“Nice layout, but awkward logistics and facilities."Read More
“A nice public facility. It is routed on some fine terrain. It is a busy course but the conditioning is very good."Read More
“large range facility. The golf course has a good mix of holes."Read More
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