Initial ThoughtsI had the pleasure of playing the 1757 Golf Club in Dulles, Virginia, last week (free- in exchange for this following review). The course has a bit of a tumultuous history from idea to completion- but the long story short is that it is a Jack Nicklaus design in the heart of the DC suburbs (literally across from the AOL building in Dulles) designed to be a corporate golfing destination. It ran into some financial troubles along the way and was a 9 hole course for awhile, but the full 18 holes are now open for business and Billy Casper Golf took over the management duties last year and have finally turned it out for the public to enjoy. It's not completely what the original plans for the course were- but a lot of that structure is still built into some of the interactions at the course- and it feels like an odd hybrid of a private, resort, and high end daily fee course all mixed into one.
One of the highlights of the 1757 Club was the practice facility. I think you could visit daily and spend 2 hours getting better at golf without ever playing a hole. A huge hitting area and full driving range off new high-end synthetic turf as well as practice bunkers, greens and pitch and chip areas. The practice area was the best I've seen in the DC area in 5 years of living there.
Date PlayedThursday, May 27th, 2010
Value - 7.5For the DC area on a course of this quality and design prices are actually pretty reasonable. You can find cheaper tracks but probably not to play a Jack Nicklaus design 5 minutes from the airport.
Monday – Thursday: $65 before 2 p.m., $55 after 2 p.m. and $39 after 4 p.m. $49 for seniors all day.
Friday – Sunday and holidays: $95 before 2 p.m., $65 after 2 p.m. and $49 after 4 p.m.
Pace of Play - 8.5Surprisingly, pace of play was not an issue for our foursome, despite every tee time for an hour on both sides of us being taken. I could see this being an issue on the weekends but at least during the middle of a weekday things were smooth sailing. Their were marshals on the course ensuring things were moving by doing little things like spotting tee shots and helping search for lost balls.
Course/Maintenance - 8.0When I first looked at the scorecard and saw the Tips were only 6600 yards it didn't really match-up with the slope of 142. Then I realized it was a par 70. Then, I actually played it (from the Tips). Wowsers! Tight holes, forced carries, water. Did I mentioned forced carries?! The course was typical Jack Nicklaus, big wide beautiful fairways but once you miss one you're ball is in trouble. I think I only lost 3 balls and was easily the most fortunate in our group in that regard.
Some of the greens are very large and you've not experienced a lag putt until you've tried a triple-breaker from 120 feet! Because a lot of the greens are brand new- they were still a little soft and not mowed too tight.
The whole course shows signs of "youth" but you can see what it will be in a couple years as the trees and shrubs grown and develop. The course maintenance was top notch- everything was green. Fairways were beautiful, bunkers were raked and filled with a nice base of sand and the course was well marked. Distance poles as well as sprinkler-heads with front/center/back markings made choosing a club quick, even without the help of a device.
Two quick cons, first with the actual layout. I think Nicklaus and the building team did a great job packing as much golf course into a pretty small physical footprint but I still thought there were a couple odd choices for things like cart paths. On at least 3 different holes, from the tips, the cart path with potential golfers playing a different part of the course could drive in front of you while you're on the tee box. In fairness- this didn't happen to my group, but we definitely questioned it. My only real beef with the maintenance was around some of the water- the bugs were real bad. I don't know The 1757 Club's stance on pesticides and the environment, but I was a little distracted around the course's water holes- which was a lot of them.
Hospitality - 4.0Hospitality is an area I'm a bit mixed about. Fortunately, it's a part of the operation that the course and it's staff has 100% control of changing.
I'll start with some of the positives. As previously mentioned, they did a good job of having staff on the course helping guide golfers, keep playing moving and even going out of the way to help look for misguided golf balls. Top notch! I saw the beverage cart at least 4 times during my round which I think is sufficient and there are at least 4 times you cross a water cooler station. The last time we passed a cooler it was inexplicably empty (considering it was 4pm on a 90 degree day) but I'll give them a pass- because I'm sure a lot of people were drinking.
There were a couple negatives, and while I don't want to come across as a high and mighty douche (I did play for free after all), I don't think my expectations are out of line for a course pitching itself with the quality of The 1757 Club.
When we showed up- we weren't given great directions by the attendant/starter to the Pro Shop- so we ended up walking aimlessly for a bit (it's a pretty big complex)and finally just walked through the building, through a couple meetings room, and the restaurant until someone pointed us in the right direction. Once in the pro shop- it literally took 20 minutes to check in because the staff was asking for name, address, phone number and email address for every single golfer through the door and on the course. I understand this is a new course and their pushing for contact with their players, but it was ridiculous. Were lost a chance to warm up on the range because every single person was asked to give their "firstname.lastname@example.org" junk email address (and physical address) to the pro shop. UNREAL!
Once we made it through that process we went back to the starter, who I feel pretty confident in saying has never played golf. He KNEW were were there with a website with the intent on reviewing the course- yet he stood beside us wandering aimlessly for 8 minutes before sending us off to the first tee without bothering to give us a rundown of the course, local rules, or points of interest. I wasn't expecting the history of Dulles, but it would've been nice to know and not have to figure out that the blue, white and red flags signified pin position. There was also an odd moment where I was behind the cart messing with my clubs when he was leaning into the front of my cart looking at my iPhone. It was just weird.
Scenery - 7.0I'd say the 1757 Club pulls off a pretty neat trick fitting a par 70, 6600 yard course into such a small physical space. The course is literally tucked into a busy road between corporate buildings and business parks in the middle the DC suburbs. There are a couple places where you see gaudy power lines, roads and corporate buildings. At the same time- you also lose yourself in the course with beautiful holes with water, woods and trees and some cool views of a local bike trail. The course is less than 5 miles from Dulles Airport and huge jets are flying overhead all day- which to me added to the color of the course. Some could see it as a detractor- but you have to expect that based on the location of the course. Sprawling masterpieces are great and all- but their not located 2 minutes from thousands of workplaces and eateries like 5 Guys!
Overall - 8.0 (not an average)The 1757 Club packs a hefty punch for the price and location. A Jack Nicklaus designed course with a practice area to kill for. I probably can't hype that part enough. You'd never have to actually play a round here to get value from the facility.
If you're in the DC area I'd recommend getting out for a round sometime this summer to check it out. If you're visiting the area- I'd put it on a short list of courses to play, especially if you have an afternoon flight out of Dulles. Nothing beats stealing 18 holes before a flight out of Dodge.
Billy Casper has done a great job resurrecting a potential nightmare and I'm sure as the staff gets more comfortable with how to manage all aspects of the course it will only get better. My only real fear is that it's going to get TOO nice and end up costing double what it does now. I guess that's incentive to make it happen now!
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I played it about 3 years ago when they had six holes open and they were still pushing for the corporate club type thing. The holes I played were great but I could tell the course would be a tight fit. The range, as you have noted, was spectacular. In a big city like D.C. grass ranges are extremely difficult to come by so you end up on terrible beat up mats. The turf they used felt great and very similar to grass... and the fact the whole range is made of that turf you can walk up to any part of it, as if it was a grass range, drop some balls, and just start hitting. A comforting feeling in a city where all you can find are crappy mats.
Also, not sure if it is still there but the Nicklaus Golf School had set up shop there. And more importantly, along with the Nicklaus Golf School, a company called Max Out Golf also uses the facilities there. Max Out Golf is an "unbiased" club fitting company with many awesome sensors/tools to get an idea of how you torque the shaft, compress the ball, how much spin you put on it, etc. And they also have interchangeable shafts to try with different heads, etc. etc. Great place.
I think the course overall is pretty tight, and the fairways are only average in terms of width. The problem is (mainly on the front) that you can't miss the fairway by much. On many holes you have water on one side and thick rough (think lost ball) or OB on the other. Also, on a bunch of holes you can't miss the green on the wrong side by much or a hill will take the shot into the water.
But overall, the course is in pretty good shape for it's young age. The fairways are fully in, the traps have ample sand, the rough is a good length (mildly penalizing), and the greens roll pretty true. It's definitely a challenge from the back tees, but moving up a tee makes the course considerably easier and shorter.
Nice truthful review man. That's why i like this site. I must say the one thing i like when i'm paying close to $100 for a round of golf is to be "pampered" a little bit. I like to see a smile, and i like to know things and feel like they're doing more than just punching their scoring pencil through your receipt and saying "hit 'em good". That's in all realms. I was at a course for the first time in the baltimore area a while ago and the guys walked to your car, got your clubs and carted them for you. Cleaned them at the end and everything. That makes you feel like you get what you pay for rather than having 3 people on the course counting the guy in the snack shop. I"ll have to check this place out when i'm in DC.
1. It's a David Heatwole design..not Jack Nicklaus. If you're going to write an article on a course...you might want to know the CORRECT designer. 2. You complain about bugs on the golf course? Are you serious? Have you played any other course recently? There are bugs everywhere with the heat and humidity. Insect replant anyone? You can pick it up at at Target or Wall-mart. Do they have those stores in Douchebagburg?
3. "He KNEW were were there with a website with the intent on reviewing the course - yet he stood beside us wandering aimlessly for 8 minutes before sending us off to the first tee without bothering to give us a rundown of the course, local rules, or points of interest. I wasn't expecting the history of Dulles, but it would've been nice to know and not have to figure out that the blue, white and red flags signified pin position."
You bust they guys balls for NEVER playing golf but you don't know a red flag signifies a front pin position and a blue flag signifies a back pin position? Excuse me.. I'm King Douche bow down and give the the history of your course. Tell me where the balls should go and not. Tell me teenager making minimum wage or senior citizen working for free golf.. tell me you expertise and handicap and then you may speak to President Douchearoni. And keep your hands off my DouchePhone.
I guess with that review you didn't meet your goal of "I don't want to come across as a high and mighty douche".
There is some revisionist history going on here. This course broke ground in early mid 2001 with JACK NICKLAUS as the designer owner -That Bear banner was predominently displayed.
There was an existing home on the property that was used as the center TRYING to sell 35k Memberships, trying to capitilize on the Internet boom workers and Loudoun County growth.
Obviously everyone knows what was already transpiring in late 2k and 9/11 helped to drive the nail into the proverbial coffin.
This course was to be called "Bear National". Check the county records. The first 4 of the original six were by JNDG.
The Presidential name was from the 2nd owners. They dumped-bled cash and ended up stiffing people. 1757 is the 3rd owner of this property.
Scenery? How do Great Blue Herons, box turtles, hawks, giant woodpecker, red fox, and oh by the way bald f'ing eagles do for scenery? I play here every weekend since the 10 holes opened & have never noticed a jet landing, I am too distracted by the ridiculously amazing golf experience.
Not landing, flying over (stupid iPhone autocorrect!!)
LI Boy says:
Played on 8/12/2011. Course was in good shape, greens were fast and true. Very tight layout, probably should have used a little more land for 2 or 3 holes. Pace of play was unacceptable. It took us 5 hours and 30 minutes to play behind a group that had two open holes in front of them. The marshal was polite and apologetic, but nothing was done to move the slow group, which had the entire course backed up, along. Will not return to play this course with this kind of playing time needed.
Played on 9/25/11. I liked the course very much, thought the greens were great to spectacular. We teed off 30 minutes late and got in 16 holes in 5 hours and 10 minutes. Asians hitting the ball 160 yards off the tee make for slow rounds and the marshalls said they were working to keep up pace of play, but did absolutely nothing. All the flags were blue, wish we had the standard red in front, white in the middle, blue in back. I was distracted by at least 3 planes flying over. You're close to the airport and they are loud!
Course is still in outstanding condition - staff started w/ an A & get friendlier every round. Pace is an issue on the weekends, if you are playing on Saturday & Sunday plan on 5+ unless you get out before 8am. Still great value, still great location, still great golf. They have cut back some of the penalizing growth to make it more playable, but it still punishes you if you don't place your shots - bring extra balls. Love the course, still my favorite.
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