Willow Oaks Country Club
|Black / Quarry M: 74.5/141||329||165||463||411||577||455||208||520||390||3518||318||187||477||431||349||232||590||467||434||3485||7003|
|Blue / James River M: 72.4/136||319||156||425||381||540||420||178||480||365||3264||301||170||477||400||323||219||565||430||402||3287||6551|
|Green / Oak M: 71.1/134||309||146||407||367||517||390||168||463||351||3118||285||170||459||384||323||180||535||400||375||3111||6229|
|White / Carillon M: 67.6/125||295||135||358||333||445||340||150||424||337||2817||260||146||419||337||315||158||480||337||308||2760||5577|
|Gold / Granite W: 71.7/126||295||135||358||333||445||340||150||424||337||2817||260||146||419||337||315||158||480||337||308||2760||5577|
My First Private Course Experience Is A Great One
After years of being confined to the lowly public golf courses, I finally made the leap to experience a private course for the first time and I’m glad Willow Oaks was the destination. From a warm and wonderful staff and eye-opening pace of play to great course conditions and quite possibly the best riverside parkland style layout I’ve ever played, Willow Oaks has it all.
I arrived with plenty of time to warm up on the very nice grass driving range, complete with about 20 pyramids of Titleist practice balls and not one but two practice putting greens. If you want to impress a public golfer, A+ on pre-round pampering! That first impression only grew with being greeted by the starter and getting the round underway. The first hole with a short, wide-open dogleg left par-4 is a unique and perfectly-executed opening hole that inspires confidence without feeling boring or patronizing. The rest of the course is equally impressive with a surprising variety and character for such a compact and relatively flat track. Nearly every hole is memorable after just one play.
Many courses in the area experienced significant winter kill coming into this season and Willow Oaks was not immune to it. But the course has recovered very well and may only be weeks away from being back to peak condition. Even still I encountered the few bare spots a few times and it didn’t take away at all from the experience. Bunkers, tees, fairways, and rough were all in excellent shape. The greens rolled buttery smooth with good speed.
For once, there’s not much to mention on the value front because as a guest of a member I have no idea what it cost to play here (not cheap, I imagine). But the X-factors here abound and really set a place like Willow Oaks apart from public courses. From the peaceful riverside setting to the go-at-your-own pace of play to the incredibly welcoming staff, this place is so much more than just another golf course.
I’m going to guess I won’t often get to play here and that’s ok, I don’t want to have to sell my house to afford a membership here. Plus, it will make me truly cherish the few times I do get invited out. It was my first private course experience, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll keep it my only one.