No golf year in Central Virginia is complete without at least one visit to Swannanoa on Afton Mountain. Even golfers with memberships at Glenmore and Farmington make the trip up the mountain. It’s not a great course, but it’s a great place to be. On certain holes at Swannanoa you can see as far west as the Allegheny’s in West Virginia, south across the Blue Ridge and east to the Southwest Mountains in Albemarle – all at the same time.
Officially called Swannanoa Country Club, it’s hardly a country club. Don’t go to Swannanoa if you are expecting manicured fairways and personal towels in the clubhouse locker room. There isn’t a clubhouse locker room, but they serve up a mean hot dog at their grill.
Swannanoa is not a pretentious golf course. It is very laid back, it’s inexpensive, it’s rarely crowded and it’s just plain fun.
Swannanoa is owned by Pete Lang, PGA Golf Professional. I’m not saying that Pete is old or anything like that, but they tell me that Sam Snead took lessons from Pete when Sam was just a boy. Pete, by now, is somewhat set in his ways. His is the only golf course I’ve ever heard of that doesn’t take credit cards. But he’ll take a personal or company check, no problem.
Swannanoa is not a difficult course. In fact, it’s pretty easy. It’s short – 5,170 from the white tees – and the rough is practically non-existent. It’s mostly wide open, but clearly a mountain course with lots of uphill and side hill lies. There are certain holes – number 6 comes to mind – where no matter where or what you hit, you’ll end up on the right side of the fairway, if not down in Waynesboro. The greens are small, but decent, about what you would expect on a public course. The tee boxes are awful, but with a little searching, you can usually find a flat spot with some grass.
Swannanoa, as I mentioned, is one of the most scenic golf venues anywhere. The course is spectacular come September when the leaves begin to change. The vistas are simply breath taking.
Every golfer in Central Virginia should play Swannanoa at least once a year, just for fun. For tee times, call 540-943-8864, but bring cash and leave your credit cards at home.