Kinloch Golf Club Opens in Mid-

With the back nine of the new Kinloch Golf Club in Richmond, Virginia having opened on October 28, the members are eagerly awaiting the front nine’s opening in April 2001.

“The reaction is phenomenal,” said Vinny Giles, one of America’s great amateur golfers over the last 35 years who co-designed Kinloch with architect Lester George. “The standard comment from local people is, ‘We never thought anything like this could exist in Richmond. Nothing else around here has the finished look this golf course has, with bentgrass fairways and bluegrass to the treeline. We have never had a bentgrass fairway in this area.”

Many visitors touring the course felt that “the back nine is spectacular, but the front nine may be even better,” Giles said. “The lake on the back nine gives prettier views. But the front nine is tree-lined all the way around and the 6th, 7th and 8th are probably the best three holes in a row on the course. I don’t see a weak hole out there.”

Director of Golf Phil Owenby said nearly half the limited 300 memberships have been filled at the private invitation-only golf club, which will include peripheral houses. ”People have walked the front nine, which won’t open until next spring, and signed on as members without even seeing the back nine,” said Owenby. “The word ‘spectacular’ is being used a lot. It is a spectacular layout that fits the terrain so well. Because the older specimen trees were left, many are saying the course looks like it has been here forever. Lester did a great job, leaving the wetlands, creaks and cliffs, and there are wonderful features and vistas.”

“The front nine,” said George, “is not as intimate to the water’s edge as the back nine.” But the front nine has similar dramatic terrain features. “From a design perspective, the nines are different-looking but complement each other. One has very, very dramatic features, like the palisade that runs through the 6th, 7th and 9th holes, and the wetlands that adjoin the 6th.

”Now that the front is done, everybody is stunned. Someone called the series of holes from the third through the ninth as ‘mystical and surreal.’ They all have different personalities and traits,” said George, “and I love them all.”

”Obviously, the proof is in playing it,” Giles commented. “I will keep Cascades at the top of my list of Virginia courses because of its history and my love for it. I think Kinloch, in a couple of years, will be in the top five, and perhaps in five years I will rated it Number 2, trying to be objective.”

Taking credit for only for 20 percent of the design, Giles said: “Lester has done a phenomenal job. The grassing pattern is really impressive and the variety is excellent.”

Kinloch Golf Club includes a short-game practice area and teaching center. The 3,200-square-foot teaching center features three indoor hitting bays, video equipment and a video room. For more information on membership, call 804/784-6737.