April 29, 2005
Golden Horseshoe's Gold Course climbs Golf Digest list of "America's 100 Greatest"
The Gold Course at Colonial Williamsburg’s Golden Horseshoe Golf Club has moved up a solid 10 points in ranking on the Golf Digest 2005 list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.” Judged on the various criteria of shot values, resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, conditioning, ambience and walkability, Golf Digest averaged the scores of the categories and totaled the averages to determine the overall rankings. The 2005 list appears in the May issue of the magazine.
“The Golf Digest ranking is a much deserved compliment to everyone involved with the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club,” said Glen Byrnes, director of golf at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, which features the accompanying Green Course. “The efforts by the staff at the Golden Horseshoe have continued to produce an extraordinary golf facility, which is reflected in this honor for the Gold Course.”
Designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened in 1963, the Gold Course frequently has been honored with awards for its combination of panoramic views with intriguing and often difficult shot demands. Jones himself called the Gold Course “a natural arboretum upon which a great golf course has been built.” That thesis was furthered during a 1998 course renovation by Rees Jones, the acclaimed son of the original designer.
An enduring example of traditional golf course architecture – walkable and completely free of surrounding real estate development – the Gold Course plays to 6,817 yards from the back tees, par 71, but its 144 slope rating is justified by pinched, sometimes-sloping landing areas and expansive forced carries to challenging pin placements on generally small greens.
The course was built on the site of the 18th-century John Saunders house and plantation, which originally encompassed 577 acres. The Saunders house is depicted on the Frenchman’s Map of 1781, one of the most important historical documents used in Williamsburg’s restoration. Colonial Williamsburg excavated the remains of the house foundation in 1962.
Ranked among Golf Digest’s “2004 Top 75 Resorts,” “Five Star Courses” and “Best Places To Play,” Colonial Williamsburg’s Golden Horseshoe Golf Club also is a “Gold Medalist” in GOLF Magazine’s bi-annual ranking of golf resorts in the United States. Jones Sr. designed the nine-hole Spotswood Course as well, rounding out the Golden Horseshoe’s three offerings.