We didn’t know what to expect. The reviews ranged from “this course was carved out of an industrial dump and that’s what it is…a course to avoid” to “the best 9-hole course I have ever played”. The Always Time for 9 team is continually up for a challenge, so we packed our bags and headed for Virginia to rate this course for ourselves. Is Lambert’s Point Golf Course an Ace or a Double Bogey?
We weaved our way past a football stadium; other athletic fields and buildings; and arrived at Lambert’s Point Golf Course which is located on the campus of Old Dominion University. I’ve read good reports about the two-tiered driving range but we passed today, and moved on to Hole #1. This hole brought to mind an old song by the disco group Silver Connection. Fly, Robin, Fly…Up, up to the sky (this was a great dance song and those eight words comprised the entire lyrics for this six minute song). As your ball explodes off the club face, you are thinking, “Fly, golf ball, fly…Up, up to the sky”. The opening par 5 is 404 yards from the white tee box and this bunker-laden hole is all uphill ending in the sky. Your second shot better find the green or you will have hills and bunkers to navigate.
Now I am doomed. I am singing Fly, Robin, Fly…Up, up to the sky as I approach the second hole, a 170 yard par 3. How in the world did this song hit #1 on the US charts in 1975? Oh, those crazy disco years! I was able to shake those memories of Ed’s basement dance floor; get back to business; and mark a three on the scorecard. Hole #3 is a 495 yard par 5 with a severe dogleg left and a thing of beauty. Even though we were briefed about this hole at the pro shop, we stood at the tee box pondering what club to pull from our bags. As we viewed the fairway, none of us could decide just how far it was to the blind dogleg – one of the disadvantages of playing a course for the first time. If we ever play this course again, we would pick driver and hit away to the top of the hill. If for some reason you forget this is a dogleg left and continue to hit it straight, you will end up putting on the 6th green. When we finally reached the plateau, we understood. The 2nd (or in some case the 3rd) shot now needs to clear the trees, shrubs and water that bisects the fairway. Somehow we all managed to get our shot airborne and safely in the bunker-dotted fairway. The next challenge on this number two handicap hole is the multi-tiered green. If this is #2, I can’t wait to see the #1 handicap ninth hole!
We are able to catch our breath at Hole #4, which is a par 3 of 186 yards. The green is wide and the only real obstacle is a small pot bunker fronting the green (which is just where my ball found a resting place). Hole #5 is an excellent risk/reward par 4 of 281 yard with a dogleg to the right. The green is not visible from the teeing area so your options are: 1) aim your tee shot down the fairway at the 150 yard marker or 2) wildly hit over the mounding to the right without knowing what the heck is over there. One of us took the safe route down the fairway. It turned out not so safe as Ed’s tee shot ended O.B to the left. Dave and I decided on the risk shot. Dave found the fairway; I found the unoccupied (thank goodness) 6th tee box. It wasn’t a bad place to be as I got down in two and two-putted for par. A fun hole with the tanker Fakarava resting in the water behind the green.
Some of you may have already putted on the 6th green by mistake or like me, played a shot from the tee box, but now we are ready to finally play the sixth hole as it was designed. This 299 yard par 4 has trouble all the way down the left side. The long line of trees will probably keep your hook from reaching the water – bring out your best fade! Your second shot will require clearing the same area (plus a bunker) that you just carried back at #3.
Hole #7 (photo at top of page) is a 167 yard par 3 with a large hill to the right. Today the flag was tucked in the back right on the green. We thought the perfect shot would be to hit it up on the hill and let it feed down to the pin. The only problem is you have to hit it the correct distance – record 4’s for all of us. The easiest hole on the course is the par 3 eighth. That being said, I found the water that is left of the green – record 4’s again for us. Hole #9 is the number one handicap which requires a precise tee shot. Too far right finds the driving range and #1 fairway; too far left finds a row of trees. P.S. I still think #3 was a more difficult hole!
Ace: This should answer the question that was raised above. We thoroughly enjoyed Lambert’s Point Golf Course. We liked the variety of risk/reward holes that made us stop and think about how to play each shot. As high-handicap senior golfers the white tees were a test for us. I believe the black tees would challenge the better golfer on this par 34 layout.
Now that golf is complete, where will our journey take us? The Norfolk/Virginia Beach area has a myriad of things to do including: Nauticus (a maritime science museum including the Battleship Wisconsin); Norfolk Harbor Sailing Cruises; O’Conner & Smartmouth Brewing Companies; Cape Henry Lighthouse; Virginia Beach Boardwalk; Topgolf Virginia Beach; and of course, beaches.
We decided to explore Cape Henry Lighthouse on the Fort Story Military Base. Be prepared for a car examination upon entering the base. Please, no drugs or firearms allowed! Since we were staying at the Beach Quarters by Diamond Resorts right on the boardwalk in VA Beach, that is where we spent most of our time. The 3-mile long boardwalk gave us plenty of things to do such as: walk/bike on the path; eat; drink; spend time on the beach; eat; drink; cool off in the ocean; eat; drink; and smoke a few cigars. One of our favorite spots was Rudee’s On The Inlet Restaurant & Cabana Bar. I would strongly suggest one of the hotels that line the boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean. There is so much to do within walking distance. Another triple treat for us old Jersey Shore boys – eat, drink, beach! (and golf)!
For your listening pleasure, let’s travel back to 1975 and the Silver Connection.
4301 Powhatan Ave., Norfolk, VA 23508; 757-489-1677; www.golfvb.com