Aldie, Virginia (Private)
With rising gasoline prices and the housing market’s woes, 2008 is a dicey time to launch a high-end residential golf development in the exurbs. But if any new course can handle the fiscal headwinds, Creighton Farms is it. The property is in Aldie, Virginia, about thirty-eight miles from downtown Washington, on terrain laced with wetlands, creeks and ponds. Developers gave Jack Nicklaus several hundred acres of this horse country to transform for golf, and Nicklaus’s crew left much of it in a natural state. The terra-not-so-firma is in play on nearly every hole. Where the ground was high and dry, Jack built bunkers, false fronts and lots of undulations. At Creighton Farms, the golfer has to think before each shot and strike every ball crisply. From the rear tees, the course is rated at 77.0 with a slope of 152. The best thing about Creighton Farms may be its conditioning—it’s doted on by the perfectionists at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.