There are several golf courses in the area of Front Royal, Virginia but the photographs on the web site of the Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club intrigued me the most so I looked for online specials to play there. Normally a golfer would pay about $40-44 to play a round of golf using a riding cart, but checking online through a web site that offers discounted tee times if you pre-pay I found a coupon deal to play for $22 plus tax per person. The tee time was for 2PM, but that was doable in the somewhat cooler temperatures we had been having. I received an e-mail from both the scheduling web site and Blue Ridge Shadows confirming the tee time (this had been an issue in Chula Vista a year ago) so we were good to go.
Set in the rolling hills outside of the Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club has received several awards for best course, best course for women, new affordable public course, etc. There is a huge clubhouse with a nicely stocked pro shop plus a restaurant and bar. The golf carts don't have GPS systems, but they are stocked with free tees and a couple of towels for wiping off your clubs. Our special deal also included a free bucket of range balls, but we passed on that due to the later tee time.
From a distance the course appears to be in wonderful shape. Close up, the damage from Hurricane Irene and T.S. Lee is evident in a few boggy areas of fairways and dead spots in several of the greens. However, for the most part the fairways are in good condition and greenskeepers were out in force as we played.
Sandtraps were everywhere and water hazards were cause for carefully played shots on nine of the holes. The grass of the rough was links-style long and it was a good thing there were only about five sets of golfers on the entire course while we were there because Denny and I did have to spend a little time looking for golf balls in the long grass. If you play a straight shot, then this will be a fun course for you. There are enough slopes and hillsides to challenge you and distant vistas of the mountains add pleasure to the game here.
There are five sets of tee boxes per hole here at Blue Ridge Shadows; from the longest (black) tees your yardage is 7315 yards with a rating/slope of 75.5/143. From the blues it's 6787 yards with a rating/slope of 73.1/138; white tees have a yardage of 6204 and 70.4/130 for the men and 75.9/142 for women who want to play a slightly longer course. Seniors tees have a yardage of 5551 with a rating/slope of 68.2/122 for men and 73.3/128 for women and the shortest (red) tees have a yardage of 5006 and 70.0/120. Greens here are cut short but run deceptively slow and those slow rolls will find dips and breaks in the greens that you'll never see. Denny had a tough time with everything breaking left on his putts whereas I could never get the speed right. The greens are also larger than what we're used to seeing on less expensive public courses which lent a more professional feel to the golf course.
Finishing up on the eighteen hole you approach not only the very attractive plantation style club house, but the green is set up with a rocky waterfall as a back drop with a wide creek in front of the green for one last challenge to your shot making.
Blue Ridge Shadows would be worth playing even at the regular price; Denny and I would play this course again in a heartbeat if we were ever to stop in the area again. It is fun, challenging, scenic and in pretty good condition for the extreme weather conditions the area has suffered lately. This is a golf course we'd recommend.