I had the pleasure of closing out my 2016 golf year here at Schoolhouse Nine! One of my friends has played here a bunch of times and has a high opinion of the course. We had talked about golfing here multiple times, but just never made it work. I’ve actually driven by the course probably a dozen times, but never stopped to play. Well, I am happy to say that I’ve finally played here! It was a cool and gloomy winter day so please don’t judge the course by my pictures!
Schoolhouse Nine is in Sperryville, which is a small town with probably less than 500 residents. The town is out in the country, up against the Blue Ridge Mountains and in a very scenic area! The course is actually the only course in Rappahannock county, although Caverns Country Club isn’t too far away but that is in Page county. If you do find yourself in Rappahannock County make sure to resist the temptation to speed on the back roads! I follow a car blog and one of the writers ended up in a local jail for speeding, so be careful!
As the name indicates, Schoolhouse Nine is a nine hole course. Apparently the course was built on just 20 acres, so there wasn’t much space for it! It is an executive course and plays to a par of 27, with all holes being par 3’s. I wouldn’t have minded seeing a couple par 4’s, but the space just isn’t there. For what little land there is, the designer made good use of it.
When trying to describe Schoolhouse, the words “fun” and “relaxed” come to mind! The course is associated with The Headmaster’s Pub, where we ate after our round. It’s the craziest thing as you pay your green fee at the bar! The course is first come first serve so you just pay and go on out when you want. We were never hurried when we were out there and in fact, had the course to ourselves! We saw a couple groups going out after we finished up. One of them was a couple and the other looked like a family who brought their dogs along. That’s allowed according to the scorecard! The course seems to encourage you to come out to play, no matter your level of ability or knowledge of the game. This would be a no pressure place to learn the game!
In addition to the funness (skip that word those of you who love grammar) of the course, the design is interesting to play! It’s also one you can play without any fear of a bad shot. I believe the designer, Mike McCartin, did some work with Coore and Crenshaw, who are big names in the design business. There is some chatter in the golf industry that McCartin is one of the up and coming golf designers! I’ll be curious to see what other work he does in future years.
As mentioned, the course is strictly par 3’s. All in all, their distances vary quite a bit and I hit 6 irons to wedges off the tees. If you are into the minimalist bag concept, with just a few clubs, you could probably get away with a putter, pitching wedge, and two mid irons. There is a nice variety of green sizes and the slopes in the greens will keep you busy! The greens have tiers, valleys, little depressions, and subtle slopes. The 1st, 2nd, and 7th greens all were nasty! Make sure not to knock it over the greens or you’ll probably have to risk getting a good bounce in the rough for your chip.
The course was in good shape. The greens were full and rolled well; it was just damp the day we played so they were slow. The tees were a bit long, but it’s the offseason and it was only $15 for nine holes. I think read somewhere that outside of the greens, the maintenance will be minimal. Obviously, in the winter the courses around here look odd with the dormant bermuda and my pictures probably disrespect the course! I’m hoping to get back out here once everything is green and can update them then.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a stop at Schoolhouse and look forward to getting back here when there are leaves on the trees! This would be a great course to learn the game or enjoy with that family member who plays a couple times a year. If your group is looking to settle some bets after a morning at Cavern’s Country Club or Shenvalee Golf Resort, this could be just the spot to do that!
#1 (153 yard par 3):
#2 (131 yard par 3):
#3 (165 yard par 3):
#4 (132 yard par 3):
#5 (115 yard par 3):
#6 (87 yard par 3):
#7 (85 yard par 3):
#8 (167 yard par 3):
#9 (171 yard par 3):