The Golden Horse­shoe Golf Course

Rees Jones’ Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Re­design in Wil­liams­burg, VA

Golf Vacations - - News - by Tim Cotro­neo

It’s not hard to imag­ine Thomas Jef­fer­son’s for­ma­tive years oc­cur­ring just a block from the first tee box at the freshly re­designed Golden Horse­shoe Golf Club in Wil­liams­burg, VA. This pa­tri­otic flash­back is trig­gered once you catch the rev­o­lu­tion­ary cos­tumes, mus­kets, and Fife and Drum team stand­ing less than a chip shot away. You’re im­me­di­ately swept up in the re­al­iza­tion that Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg is a sto­ried set­ting for golf.

It’s not hard to imag­ine Thomas Jef­fer­son’s for­ma­tive years oc­cur­ring just a block from the first tee box at the freshly re­designed Golden Horse­shoe Golf Club in Wil­liams­burg, VA. This pa­tri­otic flash­back is trig­gered once you catch the rev­o­lu­tion­ary cos­tumes, mus­kets, and Fife and Drum team stand­ing less than a chip shot away. You’re im­me­di­ately swept up in the re­al­iza­tion that Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg is a sto­ried set­ting for golf.

Wil­liams­burg is a land­scape drip­ping in her­itage and his­tory. In fact, sev­eral 1700s-pe­riod last will and tes­ta­ments re­vealed goff clubs and sticks handed down through the gen­er­a­tions. This ap­pre­ci­a­tion for legacy re­in­forces why the Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg Foun­da­tion chose Rees Jones, the fa­mous son of Robert Trent Jones, for the re­design of their renowned 53-year-old golf course. The first day re-open­ing of one of Vir­ginia’s most dec­o­rated cour­ses show­cased per­fect fair­ways that hadn’t seen a shot in a year, light­ning­fast putting greens in­spected by Jones at dawn, and metic­u­lous play-it-for­ward tee boxes that are wor­thy of a visit from Queen El­iz­a­beth.

A Colo­nial Shot­gun Start

To kick­off the Golden Horse­shoe’s new be­gin­ning, Jones and Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg’s CEO Mitchell Reis teed off in uni­son from the 402-yard Par 4 first tee. As Rees and Reis pow­ered their drives, an 18th cen­tury mus­ket blasted over­head. The Golden Horse­shoe was back in true shot­gun start style.

Any­one play­ing the new Golden Horse­shoe Gold Course on day-one be­lieved that Rees Jones could look up to the blue sky and know that his Dad was smil­ing. That’s be­cause it is eas­ily ev­i­dent the son’s re­design had done his Dad proud.

The course con­di­tions were what you might ex­pect from the over­achiev­ing de­scen­dant of a well known fa­ther. Jones had his work cut out for him con­sid­er­ing that the Golden Horse­shoe was a course his Dad de­clared one of his finest de­signs af­ter its open­ing in 1963.

Fa­ther and Son, One of a Kind

Rees the younger first left his DNA on the Gold Course in 1998 with his ini­tial re­design. In 2014, the Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg Foun­da­tion de­cided to in­vest big time in the area’s 300-acres of his­tor­i­cal recre­ation, hos­pi­tal­ity up­grades, and cham­pi­onship golf. When it came to golf, the foun­da­tion felt its long­time re­la­tion­ship with the Jones fam­ily was a bond that needed to be sus­tained, and they were thrilled to dis­cover Rees Jones felt the same.

The hum­ble Rees is quick to ac­knowl­edge that his Dad’s Golden Horse­shoe cre­ation was com­pleted be­fore bull­doz­ers and com­puter tech­nol­ogy were the norm. When asked to com­ment on how his Dad’s de­sign max­i­mized the Golden Horse­shoe’s breath­tak­ing Au­dobon Sanc­tu­ary en­vi­ron­ment, Rees said, “The tai­lor cut a good suit.” The Golden Horse­shoe’s Fab Four of Par 3’s are con­sid­ered the course’s sig­na­ture achieve­ment. With each fea­tur­ing wa­ter, this quar­tet of tees shots are con­sid­ered as scenic, chal­leng­ing, and highly re­garded as any Par 3 col­lec­tion in golf.

A fu­tur­is­tic el­e­ment to Rees Jones’ new de­sign is the play it for­ward tee boxes that ac­com­mo­date the di­ver­sity of golfers drawn to Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg. The back tees en­sure that the Golden Horse­shoe is the kind of test you’d imag­ine for a course that has hosted col­le­giate am­a­teur cham­pi­onships, as well as ex­hi­bi­tions fea­tur­ing the likes of Jack Nick­laus. To­day’s Golden Horse­shoe in­cludes five tees from

each of its 18 holes. The idea is to of­fer a wel­come ex­pe­ri­ence for the scratch golfer to the player on hol­i­day.

Golf for Gen­er­a­tions

Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg is more than a golf des­ti­na­tion. The his­tor­i­cal site has ex­ploded as a fam­ily va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion. One rea­son Rees Jones is so com­mit­ted to the Golden Horse­shoe is his own fam­ily’s af­fec­tion for the area. “My Mom loved this place. Now my wife loves Wil­liams­burg. When you con­sider the golf, the his­tor­i­cal at­trac­tions, and Busch Gar­dens right next door, this place is hard to beat,” Jones said.

Wil­liams­burg is the only place on earth where Fife and Drum sol­diers merge with cham­pi­onship golf. The Golden Horse­shoe is also the only place where you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence the most fa­mous fa­ther and son de­sign in tan­dem, merg­ing over 50 years of artis­tic touches into one awe­some golf course.

On a pic­turesque set­ting where a shot­gun start means hear­ing colo­nial mus­kets echo­ing over­head, it’s fair to say, “At the Golden Horse­shoe Golf Club in Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg, the tai­lor and his son cut a pretty good suit.”

Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg’s CEO Mitchell Reis and Rees Jones

Gold Course #17 Tee Off

Fife and Drum

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