For such a relatively small body of water, it’s quite remarkable that there are three separate 18-hole golf courses that all have holes with where Lake Manassas is in play. Robert Trent Jones, commonly referred to as RTJ, is the world class and highly exclusive club that has hosted four President’s Cup tournaments since 1994, and has the most lake front golf of the three courses. Stonewall is a highly rated upscale public course on the west-end of the lake, as well as a course that the Beltway Golfer plans to review before the year’s end. Virginia Oaks lies predominantly east of the lake with only a couple holes bringing the lake into play, and is the more affordable of the two public courses mentioned here. All three courses are accessed off route 29 just south of interstate 66 in Gainesville, Virginia.
The Oaks, as one my playing partners refers to it as, was designed by P.B. Dye and much like his namesake course on the other side of the river, there is an awful lot of danger throughout the entire layout. The front nine starts out with a manageable first hole, which should leave you with a wedge in your hand on your approach, but the challenges pile up quick over the next three holes. The second is dogleg that will take the driver out of your hand for most folks, the third is a reachable par 5 that will tempt you to do go for it but having your ball swallowed up the woods on either side of the thin fairway is an often more likely end result. The fourth hole is really the class of the layout, as it should be since it’s the only hole that truly brings the lake into play. The gradually downhill sloping par 4, will leave you with a tricky decision as to what iron to hit on your approach as the green will be well below your feet and Lake Manassas surronds it on three sides. What’s even more distracting is the fact the view from this fairway is as nice as you’ll see on any hole in the DC area. The next four holes are fairly straight forward and lower scores are doable, especially with a reachable par 4 at number seven.
Take your time at the clubhouse on the turn at Virginia Oaks, because the back nine is going to test your patience right off the bat. The par 5 tenth is a monster of a hole, measuring 621 yards from the championship tees and it always seems to play long. The par 3 eleventh is another patience tester with the hole lying above the tee box and the size of the green always being extremely deceptive. The nest three holes are all par 4’s that all packed in somewhat tight in what appears to a course designer running short on real estate, but nonetheless they require precise shots off the tee as well as on your approach. There are hazards very much in play on several of the holes coming down the stretch, and leaving your driver in the bag on a few of them is recommended. Save your energy for the finishing hole, a reachable par 5 that can produce both a low score or a costly one if you end up long or left in the lake guarding the green. On weekends, the track can slow down a bit but if you bring your patience, with a side of conservative club selection, you’ll most likely have a great day of golf.
Weekend AM rate: $69 incl cart
Weekday rate after 2pm: $39 incl cart