Crew cuts outnumber cornrows in this military town on Chesapeake Bay, but it’s still a great place for golfers to let their hair down. Virginia Beach is a destination where you might actually want to hit the sand: it has one of the world’s longest pleasure beaches-more than 35 miles long-while the 3-mile boardwalk stitches together the lively collection of hotels, taverns and seafood shacks that give the town the feel of your old family-vacation film reels.
Bay Creek Golf Club
Jack Nicklaus course: 7,417 yards, par 72
Arnold Palmer Course: 7204, par 72;
Greens fee: $95
The latest addition to Virginia Beach golf is the Nicklaus course at Bay Creek, which curls along the pristine dunes. Most memorable are the par 3s, the 158-yard fourth and No. 12, a 238-yarder. The back nine is decked out like a prom queen, with thousands of azaleas and indigenous trees lining the lush fairways. The same holds true of the club’s older Palmer Course, which is notable for a brutal stretch from Nos. 11 through 13. Pray that your scorecard emerges relatively unscathed from this Amen Corner.
TPC at Virginia Beach
7,432 yards, par 72;
Greens fee: $128
The rap against TPC courses is they’re too similar and too expensive. But this one does what all TPC tracks should do but don’t: Give amateurs a taste of what it’s like to play where the big boys do, without beating them with a big stick.
The Signature at West Neck
7,010 yards, par 72;
Greens fee: $80
This Arnold Palmer design on a converted wetlands boasts 13 lakes that can torpedo your scorecard in a hurry. All of the greens are so sternly defended that you’d be forgiven for thinking they were designed not by Palmer, but by the folks at the Pentagon.
7,017 yards, par 72;
Greens fee: $69
Rolling Hills and doglegs make this 6-year-old Freddie Couples/Gene Bates design a shotmaker’s pleasure. Trying to overpower this layout is a fool’s errand thanks to water hazards that are in play on 13 holes, though you frequently won’t even see them until it’s too late.
6,766 yards, par 72;
Greens fee: $75
The fairways of this Rees Jones layout are pinched tighter than the face of an aging Hollywood actress. The whisker-wide landing are as require you to be painstakingly precise off the tee or—how’s this for a lost art!—to gear down and hit an iron off the tee.
Where to eat
- [LIST “Mahi Mah’s Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar offers a rosemary-infused oyster stew served over French bread and fine pan-seared crab cakes. 757-437-8030;, mahimahs.com“] [LIST “The seafood, steaks, and pasta at Rockafellers are as memorable as the views. 757-422-5654; rockafellers.com“] [LIST “One Fish Two Fish sells itself short on the name-the menu features dozens of delicacies. 757-496-4350; onefish-twofish.com“] Where to Stay
[LIST “The Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront has an infinity rooftop pool and rooms with five-jet showers. Prices from $190. 757-213-3000, hiltonvb.com.”] [LIST “You’ll find discount mom-and-pop accommodations through the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. 800-VA-BEACH, vbfun.com“] [LIST “Primm Valley Casino Resort’s Spring Golf package gets you one night’s accomodation and one round for $145 single occupancy ($125 double occupancy) through May 6. Rates increase to between $150 and $185 for weekend stays. To book a package call 800-FUN-STOP.”]
What to do
- [LIST “The Oceana Naval Air Station features jet observation parks where you can watch F-14 Tomcat and the F/A 18 Hornet fighter jets take off and land. 757-433-313; www.navy.mil.”]
When to go