Editors' pick

General's Ridge Golf Course

Golf Course

Editorial Review

There's a tranquility to General's Ridge Golf Course that you don't find at many public courses in the area; the natural hum of the Prince William County woods seems to buffer the course from the outside world. And it's not nearby road or air traffic that pierces the tranquility - you're hearing the outbursts from golfers who have been outfoxed by the course's capricious putting surfaces.

The greens at General's Ridge look like they belong in a major tournament and play like they belong on a mini-golf course. There are so many tricky reads and undulations that the only way to make them more challenging would be to add a yawning clown's mouth or spinning windmill. Misread a five-footer and you might be taking your second putt from 10 feet or more. But you have to get to the green first, and the varied, sweeping course makes that a challenge for even low-handicap golfers. The imaginative layout occasionally borders on the majestic.

It's not water or sand traps that play the primary culprit here but the staggered, pedestal tee boxes, ascending and descending fairways and blind approach shots that will force even experienced players to question their club and shot selections. Do you play it short and hope gravity helps you with a favorable downhill roll, or do you go pin-hunting and hope for a soft landing on the green? Those who opt for the latter strategy will want to keep an eye on their ball. Shots that look like they've landed in easy putting range can roll into chip shots from the rough.

-- Alex Baldinger (June 15, 2012)