Throughout the years since its inception in 1959, Northern Virginia Regional Parks (now NOVA Parks) has done well to understand what the people of the Northern Virginia region enjoy when it comes to outdoor recreation. While the park authority works continuously to meet goals of land conservation and preservation of historic sites, the enjoyment of parkland assets also remains a top priority.
One of the best-loved activities of the region’s population is golf. The park authority has built and maintained three beautiful courses over the years, offering both the opportunity for the avid devotees to play the game as well as perpetuate participation from new enthusiasts. Looking back to the past reveals when these courses were added to the authority’s parkland and also sheds light on a few other fun forms of the game.
The first of the regional parks to have golf was Algonkian. It is now one of Northern Virginia’s most popular. Originally designed by Ed Ault in 1962 the course has a wonderfully interesting story, written about previously as part of the NOVA Parks “Throwback Thursday” series. The next regional park to have golf was Pohick Bay. The course there was built in 1982 and designed by George Cobb (designer of Augusta National’s par three course). Then in 1994, the picturesque golf course at Brambleton Regional Park opened, boasting a beautiful layout designed by Hank Gordon and incorporating a historic stacked stone wall that runs throughout the property.
For those who enjoy the traditional game of golf a full 18 holes of swinging and putting is definitely a great way to spend a day. However, NOVA Parks has also understood that there are a few more variations of the game and through the years the park authority has worked to add facilities that can cater to those who wish to participate in them.
Miniature golf, most commonly known as putt-putt, is an activity catering to and enjoyed by all age groups. Through the years NOVA Parks has built and maintained four different areas for play. Cameron Run and Upton Hill have the most modern courses. Pohick Bay and Fountainhead Regional Parks offer more vintage courses.
Another, slightly more eclectic, form of the game can be found both at Bull Run and Pohick Bay Regional Parks. It is an activity called Disc Golf. Players endeavor to throw discs (that are much like frisbees) into a chainlink basket that is placed at a distance from each hole’s starting point in the least amount of throws, much like traditional golf. Some players use multiple differing discs like a traditional golfer would use differing clubs. Disc Golf became popular in the 1980s and remains popular today.
NOVA Parks is proud to provide traditional golf offerings as well as scaled down and more distinct offerings. These activities are all a part of what makes up Northern Virginia’s recreational identity and the park authority is happy to be in the business of presenting them to the people for the purposes of fun and enjoyment.