Lakeview Resort – Lakeview Course

6,760 yards, 137 slope from the Blues

Course:  In Morgantown, West Virginia, Lakeview is a resort with two courses; the Mountainview and Lakeview.  Both courses were designed by James Harrison, who has designed several courses east of the Mississippi, including the White course at Penn State and Sleepy Hollow CC, the Lakeview course boasts some history, with Snead and Jack Nicklaus setting course records.  The website also indicates it was voted one of the top 100 public courses, but I’m not sure what list it is or was on.

At any rate, the Lakeview course is characteristic of West Virginia terrain: hilly and wooded.  The course features impressive elevated tee shots, holes that climb straight uphill or sweep downwards, with spectacular views of the Cheat River and surrounding mountains on many of the holes.  Better yet, the fairways play fast, so there is plenty of roll, using sideboards and mounds to negotiate the fairways and greens.  As for the greens, they are fast and some of the them slope severely.  I’m sure they all run towards one of the bigger mountain peaks, but I couldn’t figure out which one it was.  Many of the holes are also tree lined, which really punishes shots off to the sides.  It’s a challenging classic parkland course in a scenic mountain setting with dramatic elevation changes.

As part of my quest to play 50 states, West Virginia is one that has alluded me even though it’s fairly close to where I live.  I finally decided I needed to play it this year and initially planned on making it a one-day trip, as there is a small strip of West Virginia just under central PA.  But I found myself near Pittsburgh and with some free time on my hands, was able to get to Lakeview for a round and getting one step closer to playing in all 50 states.

A view of the lake from the clubhouse

Unfortunately for me, it had rained the entire day and night prior, so while the course drained well, there was absolutely no roll, which made many of the uphill holes a lot longer and in general, lengthened the already long 6,700 yard layout.  The greens still were running fast, which made me wonder how fast they were in drier conditions.  But I was hitting the ball well and as this round was more in the beginning of the season, was glad I was able to get out and enjoy the scenery of the West Virginia mountainside.

The First is a 317 yard par 4 (from the Blues).  The tee shot is over water to a dog leg left, which starts to run downhill a little after the turn to a green that curls to the left side of the fairway and is protected by bunkers and trees on either side.  A shorter par 4 that should be a short iron into the green, which requires precision to navigate the trees, bunkers and slope of the green.

These markers can be found on each hole

The First

Approach shot territory

The Second is a 367 yard par 4.  The course starts climbing right away with this fairway, with most tee shots landing in the blind.  The hole turns to the right, levels out and reaches the green, which is protected by bunkers and rough.  thus far, the trees are looming, but provide enough room not to really be a distraction unless you really miss it.  Expect a longer second shot and this hole plays longer than its stated yardage.

The Second

The Third is a 392 yard par 4.  The trees tighten up here, as the hole is a corridor that turns a little left to an elevated green.  The fairway also slopes from right to left and up, then down, then up.  It’s the fifth handicapped hole on the course and I tend to agree, as both tee and approach shots need to have some meat on them and really need to go.  Anything else, especially into the trees, and things unravel quickly.

The Third

The Fourth is a 194 yard par 3.  The tee shot is uphill to an elevated green.  The green is on the larger side, but is tricky regardless.  Bunkers are on both sides of the green below it.  Despite the size of the green,it’s a tough green to reach and hold.  I found it to be the toughest par 3 on the course.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it because I was too busy figuring out how to play it.

The Fifth is a 492 yard par 5. After spending the last few holes climbing, this par 5 goes back down, with the hills and lake in the background, more prominent than the photos below show.  Trees line both sides of the fairway, which essentially runs straight downhill after dog legging left near the tee shot landing area.  Bunkers are on either side of the green, just to make sure your approach shot hits the meat of the green.  The hole plays a little shorter because of the downhill, but the dog leg only rewards those who are able to get their the shot to turn with the fairway.  Otherwise, your shot will go through to the trees.  

The Fifth

Moving down the fairway

The green from the left side

The Sixth is a 429 yard par 4.  The routing gets a little weird here, as this hole parallels the Third and you have to leapfrog the tee area of the Third altogether to get to it.  It’s like the Third in that it’s a tight tree lined hole, but this hole dog legs right and a larger bunker rests on the left side of the green. The fairway runs from right to left, which is interesting because you need to hit the left center or left side of the fairway to get a clean look at the green and with the slope of the fairway, too much over on that side will move in to the trees.  It’s the third highest handicapped hole.

The Sixth

Approach shot territory

The Seventh is a 564 yard par 5.  One of the more scenic tee shots straight downhill to a terraced fairway that is of course tree-lined.  The green is protected by two bunkers that pinch the front of the green.  It’s the number one handicapped hole, mainly because it’s long, you have to keep it straight and it’s very likely your lies will not be ideal on the fairway.  Enjoy the view and take it down.

The Seventh

Moving down the fairway

The trees on the right side.  Really dense so if your ball goes in, it’s basically staying in

The Eighth is a 189 yard par 3.  The houses get pretty close here, it’s a little uncomfortable.  The green is elevated and bunkers are on either side.  The green is fairly undulating as well.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo, I’m not sure what’s going on with me forgetting to photo the par 3’s.  It’s a good course to pick up a stroke or two.

The Ninth is a 319 yard par 4.  A nice shorter par 4 where the fairway dips down from the tee area and then the green rises up, with a larger bunker protecting it on the front and leaving the green partially blind.  Tee placement between the trees and beyond the turn is vital, then an aerial approach with not a lot of roll out is necessary to score well here.  I really enjoyed the shape of the hole.

The Ninth

Approach shot territory

The front nine essentially scales a hillside then takes you back down before leveling off.  The downhill par 5’s provide some of the best scenery and challenge while the Third and Sixth par 4’s have serious challenge to them.  If I’m ranking them, I’m going 7, 9, 5, 2, 6, 1, 3, 8, 4.

The back nine starts with the 396 yard par 4 Tenth.  Houses hug the right side on the other side of the trees while the tee is elevated from the fairway.  The green is large and spilled around the bunkers that are on both sides.  There is some movement on the green as well to add a little more interest to the hole, which gives you a view of the freeway in the background.

The Tenth

The Eleventh is a 346 yard par 4.  Going the opposite way as the Tenth, the trees frame this dog leg left to a green I found fairly interesting with some nice run offs and undulations.  That bunker to the right off the tee comes into play more than it looks, which I can vouch for through personal experience.

The Eleventh

Approach shot territory

The Twelfth is a 199 yard par 3.  Bunkers grow here into super bunkers and press the side of the pitched green, while there is little stopping balls from rolling into the bunker from the green.  The bunkers also require a lot more precision on this fairly open par 3 than it appears.  But you could always land short and not deal with the bunkers altogether.

The Twelfth

The Thirteenth is a 399 yard par 4.  You end up crossing the freeway and when you pop up on the other side….wide open!!!  The trees part and you have what looks like one of the widest fairways on the course.  Bunkers spot the right side while a lone bunker on the left narrows the tee landing area.  The approach shot is to one of my favorite greens on the course, mainly because the drop off on the left side is so nicely hidden.  But bunkers also make their presence felt around the green as well.

The Thirteenth

Moving down the fairway, just before the fairway bunker on the left

The Fourteenth is a 560 yard par 5.  And the trees are back with a vengeance, lining the narrow fairway from an elevated tee.  The fairway is straightaway to the green, which is protected by a bunker on the front that really makes it worth going a little longer on your approach shot.  It’s a beast of a hole, asking you to hit it long and straight.

The Fourteenth

Moving down the fairway

The Fifteenth is a 427 yard par 4.  Coming back the other way for the long slog home, the trees loom even closer on the tee shot before giving a little on approach shot territory to an elevated green with probably the biggest bunkers below the green on either side.  The approach reminded me of the Twelfth, with bunkers making a fairly large green look small from the fairway, increasing the perception and pressure of a much smaller landing area.  The possibility of the ball running off the green into the bunker will also make for some testy longer putts.

The Fifteenth

Approach shot territory

The Sixteenth is a 171 yard par 3.  This uphill par 3 has a tricky green and smartly placed bunkers just before a ridge.  There are so many bad places your ball can end up, it’s a great par 3 and probably my favorite of the course.

The Sixteenth

The Seventeenth is a 379 yard par 4.  Back in the same area as the Thirteenth, the trees yet again part to a wide open fairway that really doesn’t have all that much containing the the shot.  The approach shot is likewise fairly generous, but two longer bunkers on each side of the green are there to make sure you don’t skimp on the approach.  Still, it’s an easier hole, probably to give you a break before the Eighteenth.

The Seventeenth

Approach shot territory

The Eighteenth is a 620 yard par 5.  Uphill.  With trees crowding you.  It’s the number 2 handicapped hole and with the wet conditions I faced, was happy with a 200 yard approach shot.  The fairway dog legs slightly left, then really begins to climb uphill to a large green that offers refuge from the series of shots that came before.  It’s a demanding hole, but keep it straight and there really aren’t any hazards to worry about.

The Eighteenth

Moving up the fairway

A look at the green, with the clubhouse in the background

The back nine has a little more diversity in terrain and gives you some different looks than the front nine.  The par 3 Sixteenth is a nice fun hole, the Eighteenth and Fourteenth are beasts while the par 4’s are different and vary in fun, except for the Tenth, which is a little too bland for me.  I’d rank them 16, 15, 13, 11, 18, 14, 12, 17, 10.

In general, Lakeview has a lot of hilly and wooded terrain that is used to provide a challenging layout.  It’s a stout test of golf and its combination of parkland and mountain characteristics works pretty well.  The setting and views are nice for the most part, with views of Cheat Lake from the higher points of the course topping the list.  It would be interesting to see how the course played when it was dried out, as I imagine some of the fairways provide lots of roll out and some of the greens get very tricky with those drop offs into bunkers.  I enjoyed playing here and while it was my first time playing in West Virginia, will give this course another crack if I’m in the area.

Gripes:  Houses on some of the holes are a distraction.  I don’t think there is a driving range or any other kind of practice area.  At least I didn’t see one.  With such a challenging layout, there should be something so these guys can sharpen their teeth.

Bar/Grill:  Perched over the Eighteenth, it’s a casual place with some good beer selections and solid food.  Nice outdoor deck area too.

Clubhouse/Pro shop:  Good enough.

Practice area:  I don’t think they have one.

Nearby:  Yikes, no idea.  Cheat Lake?

houses on some of the holes