Playing Through: Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club

Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club offers a top end public golf experience in Leesburg, Virginia. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
As Playing Through returns for 2017, we take you to Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, a top end public golf experience in Leesburg, Virginia. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #1: Par 4, 385 from black tees, 3568 from gold tees, 316 from blue tees, 273 from white tees, 241 from raspberry (red) tees The opening hole is a short, somewhat narrow, uphill, left-to-right par 4 with traps lining the near right-hand side. Your natural fade or slice won’t hurt you as you get loose, so long as you give your ball enough room to move. A greenside bunker protects the pin and requires a nice touch on your approach. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #2: Par 4, 428/397/375/336/300 A line of reeds force all but the longest hitters to play a smart, short tee shot, leaving an uphill approach to a tight green. Beware the bunker on the left. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Signature Hole Hole #3: Par 4, 479/445/428/411/378 The view from the tee box at the very top of the course will probably be the most lasting memory you’ll have at Raspberry Falls, with the dramatic drop-off to the fairway and surrounding farmland below. That also makes this hole play a bit shorter than its daunting yardage (I hit driver/hybrid to the green). (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #4: Par 5, 549/529/498/467/416 Bunkers line each side of a very wide fairway, which narrows significantly as it approaches the green. This par 5 is very reachable in two shots if you accurately cut the dogleg right, but you’ll bring trouble into play if you do. Stay out of the thick rough and you’ll give yourself a chance to score. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #5: Par 3, 204/182/138/119/83 This straightforward par 3 plays slightly uphill and has a deeper green than you may expect off the tee, which can alter the yardage somewhat significantly. Be sure to check the pins to ensure you pull the right club. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #6: Par 4, 333/316/293/270/210 A short, dogleg par 4, those who know how can play an aggressive fade around the trees. This green may even be driveable for long hitters, depending on your tee box. The green is small, but offers a chance at birdie with a decent drive and an accurate chip. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #7: Par 3, 192/176/160/150/131 Another par 3 that plays slightly uphill, but offers a large green for such a short shot. There are catch areas short and left, just be sure to avoid the ghastly bunkers off to the right. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #8: Par 4, 443/407/365/331/260 Another sloping, dogleg right par 4, this time the bunkers line the left side. The fairway narrows into the turn as it moves uphill, where the cart path splits the fairway. A pair of large greenside bunkers on the left force you to execute a high, true approach from that side of the fairway. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #9: Par 5, 529/498/479/420/390 This shorter par 5 moves slightly uphill, which can take just enough muscle off your drive to make your second shot daunting. It’ll dare you to “Tin Cup” a fairway wood and go for the green in two — just don’t miss short and right into the creek. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club offers a top end public golf experience in Leesburg, Virginia. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #10: Par 4, 462/426/384/332/288 With sand all along the right and a lake on the left, the back nine opener is more of a psychological menace than an actual one. Keep your drive safely in the grass and you’ll give yourself a good look at the green. But if there’s a tight, front pin, par is still a great score here. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #11: Par 5, 590/570/542/445/405 A long, uphill par 5, beware the giant rock in the middle of the fairway, which apparently has magnetic properties that attracts golf balls. Your approach will play longer than it looks, and it’s worth pulling the extra club to avoid the greenside bunkers on the short side of the putting surface. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #12: Par 4, 432/413/396/352/289 After a funky little drive through the neighborhood to reach the tee box, you’ll be greeted by this somewhat tight par 4 that slopes slowly downhill. Beware the bunker trouble to the right off the tee, which is the only hazard. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #13: Par 3, 184/171/158/133/108 This short par 3 offers a very wide green, offering a number of different potential pin placements. Hit the putting surface and you’ll have a great shot at birdie, just make sure that you do, as trouble lies everywhere else. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #14: Par 4, 431/412/390/334/292 This short, left-to-right par 4 has bunkers all the way down along the right-hand side, so be sure to play any shaped drive far enough out to the left to avoid trouble and set up a better angle on your approach. Whatever you do, make sure you clear the pot bunker in front of the green. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #15: Par 3, 220/200/184/158/132 Another par 3, another deceptively deep green. Bunkers on both sides force an accurate shot to stay out of trouble, but be sure to play for the correct distance if you want to give yourself a makeable putt.
Hole #16: Par 4, 411/384/354/319/265 You’ll need two good shots to avoid making a mess of this skill shot par 4, with bunkers both long left and short right off the tee. A well-placed fade around trouble sets up perfectly to a short wedge. From there, good luck staying out of any of the six (6) greenside bunkers. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #17: Par 4, 369/342/301/275/248 There’s plenty of trouble on this short par 4, on which you should pull an iron or wood off the tee. If the pin is in the back left, it brings deadly, cavernous bunkers into play. If you try to cut the corner, you could bring trees into play on your approach. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #18: Par 5, 550/539/535/451/418 A tricky finisher that is especially tough to play the first time around. Your elevated tee shot over water (from the blues and blacks) carries into this open, ambling par 5, which requires three shots to reach the green. A layup clears the trees on the left, setting up a chip back over the creek to a long but narrow putting surface. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
The final scorecard. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
The final scorecard. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club offers a top end public golf experience in Leesburg, Virginia. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club offers a top end public golf experience in Leesburg, Virginia. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
The final scorecard. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)

LEESBURG, Va. — For most of us, Raspberry Falls is the type of course we’d play as a special occasion. Nestled just east of the Potomac River right by the Whites Ferry crossing, it’s on the fringe of our Playing Through radius, but worth the drive for an experience unlike most you’ll find in our area.

Raspberry is also the top end of the price scale for local public courses, running $105 on weekends during prime season. But if that’s more than you’re prepared to spend on a round, you can play it Monday-Thursday now through February for just $55, which is a great chance to get acquainted with the course.

The five tee boxes offer an entirely different set of challenges depending on your length and skill level, ranging from less than 5,600 yards from the white tees to almost 7,200 yards from the tips. Rarely is a draw required, with many holes actually favoring those with a natural fade. Fairways are generally wide, meaning that safe plays will keep you out of trouble and from becoming too frustrated.

“It’s very hard to lose a ball off the tee boxes as long as your start lines are appropriate,” said Willy Lutz, property leader and head golf professional.

Home to two different USGA events, the course’s academy is also home to about a dozen full-time touring professionals on the Asian and European tours. The practice facilities offer bent grass tees, a bunker and a short game practice area.

We made it around 18 holes in about 4:15, but with Raspberry’s size (over 500 acres), price point, and distance from the District, play times can be slower in the afternoons.

“I think that a lot of people come here and just want to enjoy their day, and they can lose track of time a little bit,” Lutz said.

The biggest word of warning: Stay off the beach. The bunkers are designed to drive you mad. Better to avoid them at all cost, if possible.

Jake’s Take

Raspberry Falls is one of my favorite courses in the area. It’s pretty wide open, which helps the casual golfer like myself. The short par 4 on #1 is a good hole to get your confidence going for a good round — unless you slice your tee shot like I did. My favorite hole is #3, even though I took a snowman. The tee box is elevated giving you a great view as you “grip it and rip it.” 18 isn’t easy — you need to hit it over the creek off the tee and avoid the trees on the left. If you’re not hitting your driver well, use an iron. I actually played 18 well for me (bogey).

A general tip: If you’re not good in the sand, good luck — the bunkers are deep. Overall, put this course on your list even if you’re coming in from Maryland. I live in upper Montgomery County. The course is only about two miles over the river after you take Whites Ferry into Virginia. It’s a little on the pricey side, but great for a special occasion.

Dates and Rates

Open year-round except Christmas Day

Prime season rates (April-October)

Monday-Thursday: 9 holes $45, 18 holes $85, twilight $59

Friday-Sunday: 9 holes $57, 18 holes $105, twilight $75


Offseason rates (November/March)

Monday-Thursday: 9 holes $35, 18 holes $65

Friday-Sunday: 9 holes $40, 18 holes $79

Winter rates (December-February)

Monday-Thursday: 9 holes $35, 18 holes $55

Friday-Sunday: 9 holes $40, 18 holes $69


Raspberry has about 110 members, 70-80 percent of which are full-week

Full-week membership: $4,500/year

Weekday only: $3,000/year


Beverage cart available every day during prime season, on weekends otherwise, weather permitting

No fine dining, but full service grill room offers barbecue smoked on site

Can do banquets of up to 125 inside, over 250 outside in barn area

Full liquor bar, beer on cart. No outside drink allowed, per Virginia ABC laws

Pace of Play

Generally 4:45-4:50, though play can slow to over 5:00 at peak times, especially on weekend afternoons

Dress Code

No denim, collared shirts required for men, soft spikes only


Address: 41601 Raspberry Drive, Leesburg, Virginia

From Washington, take the Beltway south/west into Virginia to 267 West until it ends into US-15 N. Make left on Raspberry Drive. From Montgomery County, you can take Whites Ferry road to the ferry; road becomes Raspberry Drive.

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