My main course for the day was Cypress Creek. And, even after sitting down for lunch and a stop at a convenience store, I found myself at the course nice and early. That is very rare for me! Thankfully, it was a ghost town and the proshop let me head out early.
A foursome played the first couple holes in front of me and then must have dropped off, as I never saw them again. I caught another single on the 16th while he was waiting for the group in front of him and trailed them for the remaining holes. But, it was a very quiet Saturday afternoon to play! I played in 3 hours and 15 minutes and still had time for more golf! My next post will have that story.
I think part of the reason for the quick round at Cypress Creek is because of the course’s location. It is in Smithfield, which apparently is best know for their hams! It is a small town and one of those places you need a reason to go there. It is just far enough from Norfolk and Virginia Beach that most golfers will find another place to play closer to where they live, or are vacationing. I’d guess that much of the play at Cypress Creek is from the members.
I gathered bits and pieces about the designers of Cypress Creek, but I wish I could find more! The front of the scorecard says it is a Curtis Strange signature course, while the back of the scorecard shows that Strange and Tom Clark (from Ault, Clark and Associates) designed the course. Strange is from the Tidewater area and he worked on Virginia Beach National, where I played a few years ago. From these two courses, he seems to have a calming influence on those he works with! Tom Clark normally creates one silly green complex after another, and let’s just say that I’m not a fan of Pete Dye’s work. I found everything about Cypress Creek player friendly, and as you know that is important to me! The green complexes were fun to play around and allowed me to take a run at some 20 footers. For reference I played the medal tees which are 72.2/130/6554.
I’ll get the bad out of way early in this review. Cypress Creek is a community course and besides two holes on the front nine and the closing holes, it isn’t all that interesting to play. Most of the holes are lined by large homes and just mounding separates the course from the homes. The mounding doesn’t do much to keep the homes out of sight though. But, without unlimited finds only so much can be done with flat land.
Additionally, the course doesn’t put any pressure on you off the tee. Hitting the fairway on the 9th, 15th and 17th is important, but you can hack it around on the other holes as the fairways are wide. I’m not complaining, I love that myself! I sliced and hooked my tee shots, but did everything else well and shot one of my best rounds of year. If you like being engaged when hitting tee shots then this isn’t the course for you.
The front nine plays entirely through the community and, except for the 7th and 9th holes, isn’t very memorable. The 7th is shortest par 3 on the course, playing only 124 yards. The green sits over the tongue of a small lake, so any mis-hit shot will have your heart racing! Thankfully it is probably just a short iron for most. You don’t really want to miss long either as you’ll face a downhill shot towards the water!
The 9th is my other favorite hole on the front nine. It is a short, downhill par 4 where position is important off the tee. You don’t want to hit it too far off the tee as you can end up in a bunker. I hit my 200 yard club and had just a sand wedge into the green. The approach plays over more water to a green complex that looks eerily similar to the 7th. Trying to clip a wedge from a downhill lie over water is always fun!
The back nine starts out as nothing special but try to stay patient, as the course gets good on the 14th! The course sits on the edge of Cypress Creek (who knew right?) and the 14th makes a beeline towards it. The 14th is a narrow looking par 5 that plays into the trees. The 15th finishes the run out to the creek while the 16th plays over the marsh.
Surprisingly, the sun popped out as I played the closing holes so I was able to get some great pictures! The 15th is a mid-length par 4 with trouble all around. The fairway is wide but if you miss it, a lost ball is likely in your future. The approach plays to a green that actually sits in the marsh and then the 16th, a 162 yard par 3, offers more of the same. There are some good panoramic photo opportunities on these holes if you have the time. Finally, the 17th starts the return to the clubhouse and is as tough a par 4 as an amateur would want, especially for a fade player! All these holes have some nice marsh views which remind me of the courses near Myrtle Beach.
The conditions at Cypress Creek were nice, no complaints for the $42 green fee. The fairways were beautiful and cut nice and short. I was able to compress the ball and if you are a high spin player, you should be able to zip a few shots if the greens are receptive. The fairways and tees had plenty of grass and very few divots. The greens were extremely soft and still had that look of bentgrass trying to be kept alive in the heat, even into early October! They rolled well and were a medium speed, just slower than they looked. I’d assume they are normally quicker. The one bunker that I was in didn’t have much sand.
Overall, I think Cypress Creek is worth the drive from the Newport News and Norfolk areas. If you vacation to Virginia Beach each year and have played everything else then it would also be worth checking out. If you play the course, you should be treated to above average conditions, playable holes, and some nice views. If I’m ranking the nearby public courses that I’ve played, I’d give the edge to Nansemond River, but I like Cypress Creek more than Riverfront.
#1 (351 yard par 4):
#2 (381 yard par 4):
#3 (428 yard par 4):
#4 (571 yard par 5):
#5 (168 yard par 3):
#6 (515 yard par 5):
#7 (124 yard par 3):
#8 (394 yard par 4):
#9 (315 yard par 4):
#10 (352 yard par 4):
#11 (385 yard par 4):
#12 (429 yard par 4):
#13 (163 yard par 3):
#14 (508 yard par 5):
#15 (370 yard par 4):
#16 (162 yard par 3):
#17 (442 yard par 4):
#18 (496 yard par 5):