This past year the Rasberry Golf Management took over operations at Bull Run Golf Club in Haymarket, Virginia, which can only mean good things to come for this 12 year old course in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The first time we played in the course was early 2010 and may have been not long before the ownership change occurred, because while the layout was remote and stunning in parts, the service was flat out non-existent. Now with the new management, Bull Run is clearly staffed with more warm bodies which is a big step in the right direction, however, the course has still got a way to go before it can be compared with its new siblings on the Rasberry Golf Trail.
The front nine has several forced carries off the tee including the par 4 first hole, where your drive has to carry water to reach the fairway. The par 5 second will offer up the best scoring opportunity, which should be reachable in two without too much trouble from any tee box other than the blacks which measures 535 yds. The next five holes bring the golfer through a heavily wooded area, that provides a couple gems including the par 4 fifth hole and the long par 5 seventh. Eight and nine are two fun holes, the first giving the chance to make a score, the second fraught with peril. The eighth brings you out of the woods and back to the front of the property with a dogleg right par 4 that is greenable with a precise left to right drive off the tee. Too far right and you’ll be in water that guards the back of the green. I would encourage any long hitter to wait for the green to clear and give it a go. Closing out the front nine is the hardest hole at Bull Run, a long curving par 4 with water starting in front of the tee and continuing the length of the hole on the right side. Left of the fairway, which is straight out from the tee, is high unplayable rough which you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
The back nine starts on the opposite side of the expansive property here and starts you off with a few holes that don’t inspire too much other than a bit of temptation to try to drive the green on the par 4 twelfth. The thirteenth is a tough par 4, that if playing from either of the two back tees requires a drive to carry a water into a heavily bunkered fairway. The par 5 thirteenth is long and but fairly open, so while going for it in two is probably not realistic, the fairway will allow to at least try. My favorite hole on the back is the par 3 sixteenth which is a simple picturesque tree-lined hole that carries a pond from tee to green, showing off the tranquility that the golfer feels deep into the grounds at Bull Run. The finishing hole is par 5 that has a semi-blind tee shot that could leave a long drive wet. However, a well placed three-wood should leave the golfer anywhere from 140 to 180 yards to the green.. why is this a par 5? There is a tree to the right of the green that i suppose from a certain angle could require a layup on the other side of the pond, but that is a stretch. In reality, making the eighteenth a par 5 provides a cheap scoring opportunity to finish the round and allows Bull Run to be a full par 72. This last point may be the only aspect that the Beltway Golfer disapproves of at this otherwise highly enjoyable layout. The course conditions at Bull Run, while need in need of improvement on a few fairways and greens, are much improved since just last year. Another plus for the aesthetics at Bull Run is that it is currently completely house-less, although i suspect that won’t be the case forever. The 19th hole has a nice elevated deck that overlooks the 18th green as well as good sized bar and dining room. On tap i was pleased to find new local brewer Lost Rhino’s Face Plant IPA on draft which is much recommended icing on your Bull Run cake.
Weekend Rate: $89 w/cart
Weekday twilight: $49 w/cart