Spring Creek is located 20 miles east of Charlottesville and 50 miles northwest of Richmond in Virginia. On one of my many drives between Raleigh and New York City in the summer of 2016, I went an hour out of my way to play this course and I am sure happy that I did. It is ranked as the 55th best public course in the country, but, while I was there, the club was pushing a membership drive in an effort to go private. Overall, there is nothing particularly stunning about the course. It weaves through housing developments and does not have any amazing vistas, but it was just full of well designed golf holes and was in immaculate condition. It certainly is not a round that I will think about when going through a highlight reel of the best courses I have played, but if I am ever in the area or doing a trip down the east coast, I would certainly stop by again.
***On all of my reviews, you can now click on the first image to see a slideshow of all images on the page.
The first is among my favorite holes on the course--a 435 yard sharp dogleg left with a fairway bunker waiting to get your round off on the wrong foot. You can throw the drive out right and avoid the bunker, but a good tee shot will clear the bunker and make the hole considerably easier. A defining feature of this course is its expansive bunkers that are exceptionally steep around the greens and perfectly placed in the fairway to challenge an aggressive tee shot. Picture of first tee below.
The second--a 532 yard par five--is a very difficult hole, especially when playing the course for the first time. There is a marsh area in the middle of the fairway that has to be cleared with your second shot, the landing area for your second shot has a massive fairway bunker, and the green (especially with a back right flag position, as it was the day I played) is guarded by yet another large bunker. Minor mistakes on this hole can cost you big time.
Second shot on two.
Approach to second.
The third is another strong hole--a par four measuring 430 yards with a fairway bunker on the right and the green protected by a creek in front.
Approach to third.
Another defining feature of this course is its tightly mowed and steeply banked fringe.
The fourth, at 360 yards, should be easy. Just can't go right.....but I went right into the bunker and was left with a delicate wedge over the bunker protecting the green. Skulled that over the green. Ultimately only a bogey, but a very ugly one.
The fifth is a 167 yard par three with an enormous green surrounded by bunkers. Not too many great pictures from this hole because I was rushing through the group ahead of me that let me play through.
The sixth is another splendid hole--a 394 yard par four. I like holes where there is a gully between the tee and the landing area so that it feels downhill, but, really, it is not because the landing area is at the same elevation. Here, the drive has to carry the bunker on the right, but if you carry the bunker too far and go over the left half of that bunker, then you will go through the fairway and find yourself in another bunker.
Approach to six.
The seventh is a tough hole--a 426 yard par four with bunkers that can really blow up your score. Tee shots left or right will find fairway bunkers. Then, your approach, which will likely be a 170-190 yard shot, is to a green protected by a deep bunker. They must have had the Sunday pin locations out the day I played, as the pin was tucked perfectly behind the bunker.
Approach to seven.
Another example of the green complexes. The enormous bunker protecting green is on right side of this photo.
The eighth is a pretty tame par three at 151 yards, though I did get lucky with a front right pin location that takes the bunker out of play.
The ninth is another fairly easy hole--a 495 yard par five that I nearly reached in two. There are a good number of fairway bunkers on the hole, but they only come into play with bad shots, as opposed to other holes where the bunkers protect against aggressive shots.
The tenth--a 423 yard par four--is another hole where you can get aggressive and try to fly bunkers, or play it safe and leave a long approach. The problem with a long approach is that there is a large, highly contoured green, so a three putt is likely if you are not correctly positioned on the green.
The eleventh is a 377 yard par four and, I thought, among the easiest on the course. Your drive should come up short of the fairway bunkers and then you are left with a short club into an inviting green complex.
Approach to eleven.
The twelfth is one of those holes that can easily lead to the snowman of your round. The difficulty is not its length--a 514 yard par five--but the greenside bunkers. And it is not the typical one or two bunkers directly in front of the green. Rather, it is a series of bunkers protecting the right edge of the green that extend back into the fairway approximately 30 yards. If you find yourself in the front portion of these bunkers, you will be left with a 30 yard bunker shot to a narrow green that has to fly completely over sand.
Approach to twelve.
The thirteenth is a 176 yard par three--my least favorite yardage. I would much prefer 185-190 yards, but par threes in the mid 170s are my nemesis.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fourteenth hole--a 412 yard downhill par four (one of the few holes on the course with elevation change). The fairway is split for no particular reason. There is an upper portion of the fairway that gives you a better look at the green. Then, as best as I can describe it, there is a three foot wall of grass that drops down to the lower fairway. If you find yourself down there, it is only problematic if you are right up against that wall. Otherwise, your angle to the green will be just fine.
Approach to fourteen.
The fifteenth is a fun hole--a 342 yard par four. The fairway and green are littered with bunkers, so, even though it is potentially a scoring opportunity, a misstep could turn an easy hole difficult real quick.
Approach to fifteen. Lucky for me, the pin was front right.
The sixteenth is another one of the few holes with a significant elevation change--a 351 yard par four. Like fourteen, the fairway is divided in two by a grass wall. However, on this hole, if you are on the lower, left portion of the fairway, trees will block your approach.
Approach to sixteen.
Seventeen is a sneaky hard 181 yard par three. At first look, there does not appear to be much protecting the green, but the green is perched atop a crown that runs off to the front, left, and right. If you hit the green, you are in business. If not, then you'll have to deal with a tough chip.
Not sure if eighteen--a 515 yard par five-- is the course's signature hole, but I would guess that it is. A lake runs up the entire left side of the hole and threatens to come into play on every shot. The toughest shot for a first timer is the drive because it is difficult to gauge how far into the fairway the lake juts out. The next two shots have no blind factor, but knowing where you can't go does not always help the matter.
Second on eighteen.
Approach to eighteen.
Overall, Spring Creek is a solid course. Beautiful, well maintained, challenging holes, and great bunkering. And, you can't beat the price--$125 for a prime time weekend spot, or $50 for a weekday twilight. Definitely worth the hour detour off of I-95. Get there before it goes private.