The Boulder Course first opened to players in the Summer of 2015. It is challenging players with alternate routes, multiple greens, contingent to the placement of the flag stick. Distracting players with the views that highlight the whole of the Shenandoah Valley. Come, play, enjoy! Rock Harbor is for golf lovers.
The opening hole of the Boulder is the perfect warm-up for the challenges ahead. Running straightway from tee to green this short par 4 is bordered by knolls on the left that separate the 1st hole of The Rock Course. As you approach the green, an elevated tee box and rock formation of an adjacent hole protrudes ever so slightly from the right side along the cart path. The two bunkers around this very receptive green follow the warm-up theme providing an easy escape should you find yourself in one of them. Be cognizant of the pin positions due to a mound extending from the right side sand bunkers to the center of the putting surface. If the day’s flag-stick is in the back right area of the green, then that mound definitely comes into play.
The proverbial elephant in the room is actually buried ‘neath the second’s green. This lengthy, uphill par three is well guarded at the front by a deep sand bunker with a rock-faced centurion ensuring the skill set required. Escape from this bunker may require block and tackle. A blast over a height of 11 feet – a golf shot by anyone’s standards. Bailout to the left if you want to play it safe. Once on the green, you’ll quickly realize the importance of being in the right position on the green. (This truism is applicable to every hole of the course.). Sand bunkers behind the green could also prove to be a good test in sand recovery.
Please note that this particular golf hole has brought men and women to their knees sobbing. (seriously, actually sobbing).
Voted Lexus Top 10 Toughest Par 3 in Virginia, this one could ruin a scorecard. Get out of here with a 3 or even 4 and you’ll think you’ve stolen something.
A comfortable dog-leg right. A precursor to the challenges ahead which characterizes a mountain course. The tee shot over a gully to a fairway guarded by a fifty-yard waste area, running along the right and capped by a greenside bunker. By biting off as much as you wish, the fairway, 80 yards and in, is designed to give a favorable, albeit slight, left to right roll toward the green. Becomes a driveable par 4 when the alternate tees are in play. The less risky play would be to hit to the center of the fairway, aiming just to the left of the big boulder. The green complex itself is complimented by steep embankments at its right and rear with the vigilant boulder bearing witness to the proceedings.
In terms of the other golf holes on the course, this is a very short par 5 hole, that can easily be a scoring hole. Playing the hole along the left side sets the hole up as a conventional par 5. The teeing ground lines up straight away and favors the alternate route where you may not want to use the driver. You can shave off a hundred yards by directing your second shot through the alternate route that features a boulder-ladened waste area bordered by trees. The flag-stick placement as with most of the course’s greens must be a consideration. Knowing the nuances of the green’s slopes and curvatures can better assist your approach shot funneling it toward the hole.
An elevated tee shows off the vista of this cute little par 3 drawing inspiration from the 7th hole of Torrey Pines South Course. And as with any elevated teeing ground, the hole will play a little less than yardage. That being said, should you miss hit and fly over the green, you may find yourself in one of the deepest pot bunkers (15 feet) this side of St. Andrews. Yet heavily guarded by surrounding bunkers, the green, by design, features a run-up lane in front in addition to the slope and undulation that can assist the tee shot to a favorable position nearer the hole.
Quite possibly be the longest par 5 you may ever encounter. A unique feature here is the use of two greens on the hole. The pin position of the day determines which green is being played. Now, armed with this knowledge at the tee, you’re set to choose one of the two routes available. The landing area center-right of the fairway has a slope built in for additional roll and thus a shorter pathway as the only possibility to reach the green in two. The center-left of the fairway leads to the more conventional approach. Playing this golf hole just once cannot provide the multiple options available or nuances presented.
One of the shorter par 4’s of the Boulder Course, here also has two greens connected only by a small patch of fringe. This dogleg left demands the knowledge of pin position in order to determine the optimal landing area. If the pin is positioned on the front lower tier then your tee shot should hug the left side of the fairway just at the bend. This vantage point channels your shot through a small cluster of trees. If the pin is positioned at the mid to back section, you should take your tee ball toward the farther right side of the fairway. A tee shot favoring the right side of the fairway nearer the rock wall around the 150-yard marker will give you an avenue to any pin position, though you may have to sharpen your shot shaping skills. This multi-tiered green is designed to assist the player’s creative shot-making skills, should you be faced with a less than optimal approach. The back section presents the opportunity to show off those skills where it’s surrounded by a rock wall and bunkers.
Upon arriving at the teeing ground your first impression, oddly enough has little to do with the golf hole itself. The splendid vistas from atop an elevation at about 165-foot drop to an awaiting green. The scenery boasts the look into a working quarry and even overlooks neighboring counties. As we turn our attention back to the matter at hand, this hole claims the furthest distance tee to green on a par three at our complex. Remember that elevation and the wind can significantly affect the playing yardage. The target area, a visual postage stamp that is protected by bunkers to the right and rear. The left side bunker fronting a water hazard could very well save you from being…well…wet. The right side of the green a centurionesque stonewall and slightly further right, the recognizable boulder field. There is much to consider when selecting your tee shot, and it may prove to be, though not definitively, where the best approach may be to utilize the specifically designed a run-on patch of fairway.
Which way do I go? Alternate route anyone? A 693-yard par 5. Standing at the teeing ground you will recognize an extreme slope on either side of a slight cluster of trees. Clearing the hill with your tee shot could give you an opportunity to reach the green in two regardless to the route selected, yet you still need to commit to the selected route while at the tee. The right pathway can play up to forty yards shorter for a second shot to the green yet is slightly narrow featuring a rock ridge with trees finishing the lane to the green. The wider left side may not have the obstacles to overcome and will most likely play conventionally. Achieving the roll from the tee shot could put you within a long iron, perhaps a hybrid away from the green. That approach is not without hazards, though, as a water hazard guards the left front of the green, bunkers sandwich the putting surface.
Your choice to make, your shot to play, Go for it!
This is the longest par 5 on this nine, yet you might want to leave the big stick in the bag. A cautious shot from the tee will prevent running out of fairway and into a lateral hazard along the left side of this hole. While hugging the left side could save you some yards, water runs the entire left side of this hole which also serves to separate the 10th from the 5th hole of the Rock Course. The less adventurous player may use the sloping throughout the right side of this hole that promotes a favorable right to left roll for your approach. Three good shots are required to achieve your GIR with the approach coming over water to a large green that is bunkered front, right and back. This par 5 will test your shot-making abilities from tee to green.
The shortest par 3 at Rock Harbor takes the player over a small pond serving as its water hazard. A mid-size green is shaded by trees on either side while a stadium-like hillside with rock ledges surrounding the left and rear. The green is protected by two sand bunkers, one that is carved into that left hillside and one that snuggles the length of the green along the right. Side effects of taking this hole and its surrounds for granted are drooping of shoulders, headaches from slapping oneself on the forehead, heavy sighing and in some severe cases, an ‘x’ on the card.
This par 4, begins a series of undulating greens that will demand a lot out of your putter. This hole has seen its fair share of distraught putters trying to drown their depressive performance in the adjacent ponds as well as those to come. A wide fairway flanked on either side by large waste bunkers that feature cosmetically placed boulders. An elongated two-tiered green is part of a much larger green complex (35,000 sq ft) that abuts the Rock Course’s 13th. A tree within a green-side bunker edge the water hazard that guard this narrow green to the right, while a smaller and shallower green-side bunker and steep hillside wrap the green to the left. An errant shot here will give you an opportunity to test your up and down abilities.
The 2nd in the series of greens that will try your putting prowess. This medium-length par 3, affectionately known as the “Castle Green,” can be as formidable as storming a castle. Peaceful and picturesque yet deceivingly treacherous. This hole took its name from the fortress-like stonework fronting the green, not to mention the moat inspired water hazard and a deep (14 ft) bunker for added protection. Study your pin sheet carefully. Mounding and levels can be used to your advantage or demise. Too much spin and you could find yourself spinning off of the putting surface and into the bunker below or worse into the water hazard. Secondary sets of tees that come into play on a rotational basis will have you re-evaluating your club choice and shot selection for the proper side of this green’s flagstick.
This par 4 offers a scenic view back across the course as the fairway slopes downward interrupted only by a water hazard about 100 yards shy of the green. Severe sloping midway, where a large tree splits the fairway, creates a roll forward so the yardage shown should not be the only determining factor of the club selected from the tee. Target the right side of the tree for a landing area that is safer for your approach shot. Now you’re about to experience the 3rd in that series of greens for your putter to work well. Two distinct levels. The rear level is a narrower ridge. Pins placed in this level can be challenging. A putt traveling offline may actually drop off the rear of the green, continue down a steep embankment and perhaps into an awaiting bunker some 10 feet below the putting surface.
A comfortable par 5 on any other course, this par 4 will test your ability to shape a shot. The hole presents an opportunity to show off your shot-making skills from tee to green. Tall mounding to the left of the fairway is most used to bring shots back to the fairway. Too far left and challenges await to get creative in finding the green. The right side dotted with trees separating the previously played hole. The green is a large (wait for it…) multi-tiered, undulating surface fronted by a deep sand bunker as well as a shallower bunker to the right. A grassy knoll at both the left and rear can assist in stopping screamers hit from the fairway. It is highly recommended that you develop a game plan relative to the pin placement and vigilantly stick to it. Caution: expletives may be exclaimed.
If you ever wanted a chance to tee it high and let it fly, this is it. Overlooking several civil war battlefields around Winchester, the view from the elevated tee is spectacular to behold. Waster bunkers to the left and right of this expansive fairway that slopes gently toward the target surface. A good drive could put you in a position to test your mettle. The peninsula-like green is large and here again, undulated yet well-guarded. Water on three sides. Four sand bunkers. Boulder wall lining the edge. A water hazard separates the fairway from the green itself with a carry distance of 55 yards to the beginning of the putting surface. Now equipped with all this knowledge and the green beckons you from afar, you have to ask yourself one question; do I feel lucky? Well, do you?
This hole offers a medium-length par 3 with a carry over a water hazard that wraps itself around a two-level green. A semi-circle tier toward the left rear of the putting surface with a bunker dug into a hillside backdrop. Sand shots from this bunker may pose a challenge with the green tilting toward the water hazard. A back pin position can be tricky. Review your pin sheet, exact the yardages and trust your data. You can breathe a little easier now, you’re almost done.
The last hole of the round. A great closing hole if there ever was one. This par 5 takes you back to the clubhouse in style. Here, elevated tees show you the landing area that rests upon valley floor where hillside to the left and right and dotted with trees, optimizes the tranquility you have to feel this close to home. A good tee ball may give you an aggressive line to the green – albeit unseen from the landing area – over trees and brush. The green is guarded by a sand bunker to the front left (following the aggressive approach) as well as a water hazard (know your water hazard rules). Risk and reward at its finest. If you elect to play the hole conservatively, a solid second shot along a rising fairway places your approach within a short iron of the green. The same left side sand bunker and water hazard may still be daunting, while the three sand bunkers sunk into the hillside to the right may pose as a visual obstacle. A simple putting test closes out the hole and your round.