2001: Newcomer Kinloch a welcome throwback

Manakin-Sabot, Va.

The golf world in staid Old Dominion has a newcomer on its hands that’s already being talked about – rightly, in this reviewer’s judgment – as the state’s best course. Kinloch Golf Club, 12 miles west of downtown Richmond, is something of a throwback in an area of horse country that’s fast becoming the frontier of road development and residential expansion.

Luckily for golfers able to afford its pricey membership, Kinloch is an ideal refuge. This is a pure golf club. No swimming pool. No tennis courts. A walkable layout with well-trained caddies, and best of all a stunning layout in pristine shape that provides plenty of optional routes of play.

Inspiration – and sweat equity – for the project came from amateur golf champion Marvin “Vinny” Giles. His résumé includes British Amateur and U.S. Amateur titles, participation on four Walker Cup teams and a Walker Cup captaincy. He’s also president of a major sports marketing agency, Pros Inc. Now he has collaborated with course architect Lester George on a golf facility that takes the game to heart.

Kinloch, par 72, plays from 5,360 yards up to 7,112 (75 rating/138 slope). Befitting its simplicity, the names of the holes are one word and in each case suggestive of its design or location (Redan, Glade).

The setting is a rolling, 270-acre wooded site with 70 feet of natural elevation change. A massive lake bisects the property. The only limitation is a tight property line alongside the lake that forces a very long separation between nines. Carts are provided to bridge the gap, but after the 18th hole, golfers have the option of playing a par 3 across water to a green sitting right in front of the clubhouse.

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