With 10 courses and more than 200 holes in the Gettysburg region, it’s hard to pick just five favorites, but we’ve reached out to golf course pros, course superintendents and golfers themselves to help us narrow down a list of holes that – no matter your score – will leave you appreciating your round that much more.
Our list of favorites aren’t necessarily the most challenging holes, the top handicapped holes – it’s sometimes the beauty, the finesse it takes to get that shot just right – the perfectly placed creek, the shady grove of trees that force you to lay up short, or the lob of the wedge that needs to carefully float over a ring of bunkers before landing softly on the green.
The Links At Gettysburg, Hole No. 18
Thought we’d pick the third hole, didn’t you? Yes, the red rock backdrop of No. 3 is a beautiful hole, we like the final hole at “The Links” for this list. As the scorecard goes, this Par 5 hole is the easiest on the course, measuring 482 from the blue tees. But as course officials warn you, this eagle opportunity only comes “if you can avoid the ponds on the left and right, and three bunkers that guard the left side of the green.” Easy enough, right?
We like No. 18 because it gives golfers a good chance to end the round in an impressive fashion, and – with its red rock cliff, beautiful bridge spanning the ponds, and clubhouse overlooking the green – it’s simply a great way to finish any round of golf.
Quail Valley Golf Course, Hole No. 13
Unlucky No. 13, you’re thinking? Maybe. This island green hole isn’t for the timid golfer. Course manager at Quail Valley Golf Course, Scott Keller, suggests the Par 3 hole is more of a psychological challenge than anything. Measuring about 155 yards, the green is an easy reach and much larger than it appears from the tee box. But “bunkers to the left and right will collect shots hit a little off line and there is more room up front than you might think,” the hole description reads. Any shot, it adds, that lands on the green is “a reason for celebration.”
Let’s be honest – if you managed to loft this ball safely on the green, it’s your favorite hole on the course and you feel ready for the pro tour. If not, well …
Caledonia Golf Course, Hole No. 4
Your ball won’t get wet on this Par 3, but you’ll need to be careful on this hole, nicknamed “the bowl hole” or the “sugar bowl” by regulars at Caledonia Golf Course. Surrounded by a knee-high grass mound 360 degrees around, this hole seems easy enough, but the banks of the mound could toss your ball in a dozen different directions if you don’t hit it right … or you land it in one of the two sand bunkers just outside the rim of “the bowl.” A soft chip shot anywhere on the green though will likely ensure a two-putt from there.
It’s not just this unique hole that makes Caledonia Golf Course special. The 18-hole family friendly course is part of the beautiful Michaux State Forest and South Mountain range, making it for a beautiful round throughout the year.
Carroll Valley Golf at Liberty Mountain Resort, Hole No. 12
Carroll Valley Golf Course’s Golf pro, Gavin Green, calls this hole a “risk-reward” – it’s reachable in two shots for a longer hitter but is closely guarded by a creek in the front and a bunker on the right and left. In other words, if you’re brave enough to go for the green in two on this 524-yard Par 5, you’ll be looking at a good eagle or birdie opportunity. If you come up short, you’ll be fishing your ball out of Tom’s Creek.
The tee box is elevated and in the middle of the valley, Gavin adds, so your attention is focused on the green with hills on both sides. Play this hole in autumn and you’re in for a breath-taking experience. Play this course in early spring and you might just run into skiers and snowboarders at Liberty Mountain.
Mountain View Golf Club, Hole No. 11
Just down the road on the other side of Fairfield, Pa., is Mountain View Golf Course, a relatively open course with plenty of room for slicers and hookers. Boasting the smoothest and fastest greens in the region, this course isn’t easy though.
The back nine holes are a bit tighter and the neighboring woods comes into play. If you ask course officials, they’ll probably tell you about Hole No. 11 … a tough, but beautiful 400-yard Par 4 dog-leg left. You’ll need a little precision on your second shot as the tree line narrows in on the fairway, a creek comes into play before reaching the elevated green.
Golf courses abound in the Gettysburg region including The Bridges Golf Course in nearby Abbottstown, Meadowview and Cedar Creek between Gettysburg and Littlestown, and Piney Apple Golf north of Gettysburg in Bendersville, Pa.
And if you have the chance, be sure to take a short drive over to Fayetteville, Pa., and check out the nationally renowned Penn National Golf Course, featuring 36 challenging holes over two distinctly different courses. Play the founders course and you’ll be finishing up with the five hardest holes on the course, according to Penn National, beginning with the Par 5 14th hole.
Check out more about golf in Gettysburg at www.DestinationGettysburg.com.