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When the Cypress Creek Golfers' Club opened in Smithfield, VA, in the late 1990s, it promised to be one of the top daily-fee courses in the Hampton Roads area. More than a decade later, the layout has achieved that goal and more. Today, the Curtis Strange-Tom Clark masterpiece easily ranks as one of the best golf venues in the entire Commonwealth.
Strange and Clark are two very familiar names to folks who live and play in Southeastern VA. Strange, of course, is a is a Tidewater native and two-time U.S. Open champion. And Clark is part of the successful Ault, Clark & Assoc., golf cour se architectural firm. The two have worked on several projects in recent years, including the fabulous Brickshire layout just west of Williamsburg.
At Cypress Creek, the duo was able to perserve and in some places accentuate the property's seemingly unlimited natural beauty. Everything a course designer could want was already in place -- forested woodlands, gently rolling hills, lush green meadows, natural lakes and direct river frontage. All Strange and Clark had to do was follow the lay of the land.
Cypress Creek presents a wonderful mix of both open and closed holes. Wherever possible, mature trees were left along the course, many of which define a particular hole's character. A good example is at No. 3, the top handicap hole. The par 4 measures a staggering 450 yards and doglegs sharply right, where players will find a stately tree on the inside corner where the hole makes its bend. It can play havoc with those who try to cut the corner. However, there's plenty of room on the left to get around it -- at the expense of adding 30-40 yards to the approach shot.
The devilish 277-yard No. 9 is one of Cypress Creek's signature holes. A classic short par 4, the tee shot is basically a lay up since a pond sits at the bottom of the hill. A strand of trees was left to the left, forcing players to hit their drive far enough right so as not to be blocked out on the approach. It is played over the water diagonally to a shallow, bulkheaded green set in its own natural amphitheater.
From the white tees, the 318-yard No. 10 looks innocent enough. But for this dogleg left, Strange and Clark left a large tree that players must avoid to have a clear shot at the green. The 12th and 14th holes follow the same theme, using a tree in the fairway to give players something else to think about before teeing off.
Cypress Creek features oversized greens which allow for a variety of pin placements. And where the hole is cut is crucial when you factor in the undulations and breaks. Just about every green has a ridge running through it and approach shots that find the "wrong" shelf often leave tricky uphill or downhill curving putts.
Strange and Clark also did a masterful job of mixing in sand, water and natural wetlands into the overall design. This is especially true at No. 15, a awe-inspiring 350-yard par 4. The course's namesake borders the left side of the fairway and a pond sits on the right. The approach is played over marsh to a half-hidden, peninsula-type green.
Cypress Creek is the centerpiece of an upscale residential development but houses rarely if ever come into play. In addition to its great layout, the facility features an expansive practice area and a charming clubhouse complete with full pro shop and grill.
Like just about every course within a 60-mile radius of Smithfield, Cypress Creek participates in the Tee Time Golf Pass -- the Mid-Atlantic's #1 player passbook that allows members to save $10-$50 every time they play. Cypress CreekIn the adjoining City of Suffolk, golfers can save big at Nansemond River, Riverfront, Sleepy Hole and Suffolk Golf Course. The pass also includes every public and daily-fee course in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Hampton and Newport News, many of which offer free promotional plays to Tee Time members. Local favorites include Hell's Point, Heron Ridge, Virginia Beach National, Honey Bee, Red Wing, Stumpy Lake, Kempsville Greens, Battlefield, Cahoon Plantation, Bide-A-Wee, Ocean View, Kiln Creek, The Hamptons, Deer Run and many more.
In fact, throughout Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia, Tee Time Golf Pass members will find hundreds of courses ranging from local favorites to regional and destination hotspots like Ocean City, Atlantic City, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Pinehurst and Myrtle Beach.
For more information, visit www.TeeTimeGolfPass.com/mid-atlantic.