This time of year tends to get a bit quiet for my blog! Normally we’ve had a decent snow by now, but not this year! I’m not ready to make the call for an early spring yet, but the weather this month has been more like April than February! I’ve played four times so far this month, including two times this weekend. It was 70* both Saturday and Sunday!
I’ve mentioned that one of my friend’s has a place in the WV Panhandle and I’ll join him to golf periodically. We enjoy the courses at the property where he lives, but this year are trying to branch out and play some nearby places in Pennsylvania. We played one of his resort courses on Saturday and then ventured a bit north on Sunday.
It took us an hour and 15 minutes to get to Piney Apple, our choice for the day. We had a 10:30am tee time on this unusually warm day in the Mid-Atlantic! It was quiet when we teed off, but got busy as the afternoon went along. No surprise there really! We finally caught up to a group on the 17th hole and played in about 3.5 hours.
I didn’t have Piney Apple pegged as a destination course, but I thought it had some potential. My friend sent me the link to the course a few months back and we both enjoyed saying the course’s name, so that’s worth something too! After playing it, I think the course has two things going for it! First, Piney Apple is in a scenic area and second, it offers an affordable round of golf. Both of those things are important to me as a golfer!
The course is located in an apple orchard, at the base of what I think are still the Blue Ridge Mountains! If you follow my blog, I’d say Piney Apple has a similar setting to Greene Hills which is close to Charlottesville. To get to the course, we came from I-81 and the last bit of the drive was through Michaux State Forest. There is a water fall, plenty of pine trees, and the mountains along the way which combined for a scenic ride.
As you get into the round you’ll find that the area offers no shortage of views. Much of the course plays up and down the side of a hill so, at times, you’ll be able to look out across the holes and see the orchards and mountains in the background. The 16th hole actually plays through an orchard while a couple holes on the front nine border another orchard. I bet it looks awesome when there are some leaves on the trees! Don’t judge the scenery or the course by my pictures today though, as you’ll have to imagine quite a few things (including flags on the sticks)!
Piney Apple is a par 71, or par 70, depending on which tees you are playing. The quirky 14th hole can be a par 3 or a par 4, but more on that in a moment. The course is on the short side, playing 5635 yards from the back tees. From there, the rating is 66.6 and the slope is 111. Even though it an easier course according to the numbers, you’ll need more precision than power in order to play well here. The distance on the par 4’s vary and when you factor in the elevation change, the approaches aren’t gimme birdies with the smaller greens! Most of the holes are parallel and separated by trees. As long as you avoid some hidden hazards you should be able to find your ball and hack it around.
I enjoyed the course through the first 11 holes, even with a goofy stretch of holes across a major road on the front. Be careful crossing that road in a cart! The course started to get weird after the 11th though. The 12th is a downhill, dogleg left par 5 where you’ll need to layup off the tee or hook one around the tree line to the narrow fairway. Driver isn’t the play unless you are extremely accurate. It is a good birdie chance because it is so short, but I like to swing the driver on par 5’s. Unfortunately, the 13th through the 15th is about as bad a routing as you’ll find anywhere. The 13th and 15th tee boxes are separated by just the cart path with the 14th green off to the left. It is a high traffic area and we almost got hit while putting on the 13th green. The 14th is a short par 4 with a hidden pond in the fairway and to get to the back tees, you almost drive into play from the 1st hole. To do over again, I’d just play it as a par 3, like it is from the forward tees. The course just seems to have run out of space for holes in this section of the property!
Piney Apple is a country course, and there’s nothing wrong with that in an area with plenty of higher priced courses! As you may imagine, the course doesn’t appear to have a huge operating budget and the conditions reflect that. But, it was $24 to ride which is just fine by me to enjoy a few hours outside! I’m not a course snob and will give almost any course a play at least once. Except for a few fairways and tees which were torn up, I’d say the course was in good winter shape. The greens were full and rolled well. They were on the slow side but consistent with what I’d expect in the winter when they probably haven’t been mowed in a while!
If it wasn’t for that stretch of holes on the back I’d have enjoyed Piney Apple much more. I always like something unique about a course and the orchards add that here. I know I’ve golfed through vineyards before, but I think this is the first time I’ve golfed through apple orchards!
#1 (412 yard par 4):
#2 (259 yard par 4):
#3 (175 yard par 3):
#4 (361 yard par 4):
#5 (132 yard par 3):
#6 (351 yard par 4):
#7 (190 yard par 3): Sorry I forgot to a picture!
#8 (500 yard par 5):
#9 (356 yard par 4):
#10 (331 yard par 4):
#11 (392 yard par 4):
#12 (436 yard par 5):
#13 (104 yard par 3):
#14 (264 yard par 4):
#15 (367 yard par 5):
#16 (307 yard par 4):
#17 (328 yard par 4):
#18 (370 yard par 4):