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.
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.
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
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.