The main course that I wanted to play on Saturday was Sly Fox Golf Club. Even if you live in Northern Virginia, you might not be familiar with a course called “Sly Fox” so close to where you live! Well, Sly Fox was formerly known as Jackson’s Chase and it changed ownership last year.
When I walked into the proshop to check in and pay my green fee, I couldn’t help but notice how much love has gone into the course! The clubhouse was staged in a modest and economical way, but at the same time there were multiple signs indicating exactly what the new owner had done and what they planned to do. Let’s put it this way, based on what I saw in the clubhouse alone it looks like the new owner knows what he is doing. The care from the new owner was evident throughout the course as well, especially on the greens! By all accounts the course is in much better shape now than before the change of ownership.
My photos won’t do a good job of portraying the conditions. Sly Fox played firm and had that hint of brown, dry turf so the pictures don’t tell the whole story. The fairways were full and I had acceptable lies in the few fairways that I hit. I enjoyed some nice roll and, sometimes too much as the ball just scooted into the edge of the rough! The tees were average, about what I’d expect at a course that had struggled in recent years. However, the greens were in great shape! They were a good holing speed and rolled nicely, much better than my $27 green fee would indicate. The bunkers are planned for renovations and some look to be seeded over.
The tips (the blues) at Sly Fox are 71.1/129/6513 which is unusual for a course built from the mid 1980’s to mid 2000’s. Normally these courses top out at 7,400 yards and have a slope that will bash your head in! In that regards Sly Fox is a breath of fresh air. Just note, some of the yardages from the scorecard listed below are different, compared to what was listed on the course markers.
The blues are where I played and overall, I found Sly Fox to be pretty playable. It has an open feel to it with most of the holes playing in some cleared out land, with pine trees lining many fairways. In general, there wasn’t much pressure to find the fairway. Heck, I think I hit two fairways and ended up with a great score. That is my kind of course!
The biggest difficulty at Sly Fox is going to be knowing where to hit the ball and avoiding disaster over the closing holes! While there is plenty of room to find offline shots, the fairways are narrower, semi blind, and have plenty of slope in them. Many times I was just guessing at where I should hit my tee shots. The terrain is hilly and most tee shots play over a rise, making it almost impossible to pick the best line the first time around. It was a quiet afternoon, but blind landing areas and lots of golfers could lead to slow play and the need for hard hats.
The front is a bit bland with the surrounding homes, but the back has some holes that will make you think! The closing holes are difficult as they are narrower and have some elevation change. But, I think the par 3’s on the back make the course shine!
In fact, both par 3’s on the back could be considered signature holes. The 11th is my favorite hole at Sly Fox. It is downhill and plays 191 yards to a green surrounded by water! The green complex is generous and gives your ball a chance to hang on the bank, instead of just kicking in the water. Sadly, the sun was a bit harsh for my picture from the tee box. The 16th is another good par 3, dropping at least a club to the green. The scorecard has it at 131 yards, but it was closer to 160 when I played it. The green has a hillside to the right and falls off to the left. It is a green that you will want to hit! If you miss the green then the ball is likely to get a crazy kick.
After playing Sly Fox, I’d call it a decent community course. It has a few too many blind landing areas for my taste but is still fairly playable. I wish it success in the coming years!
#1 (332 yard par 4):
#2 (149 yard par 3):
#3 (552 yard par 5):
#4 (423 yard par 4):
#5 (394 yard par 4):
#6 (398 yard par 4):
#7 (162 yard par 3):
#8 (494 yard par 5):
#9 (344 yard par 4):
#10 (510 yard par 5):
#11 (191 yard par 3):
#12 (379 yard par 4):
#13 (492 yard par 5):
#14 (399 yard par 4):
#15 (322 yard par 4):
#16 (131 yard par 3):
#17 (374 yard par 4):
#18 (467 yard par 4):