FAIRFAX STATION, Va. — We’ve had a rainy spring, so it’s understandable if you’ve had trouble getting fully into your golf groove now that warmer weather is here. But every new season offers the chance to actually patch up the holes in your (short) game and take the next step toward that lower number. That’s what places like Burke Lake are here for.
With a newly refinished, two-tier driving range, a new practice bunker, and an 18-hole par 3 course, Burke Lake Golf Center gives plenty of opportunity to improve. It’s right there in the name — “golf center.” It’s more than just the course, and the focus has been shifted toward those other facilities.
Before the renovation, roughly 60 percent of the business came from the course itself, but that’s shifted to almost 70 percent coming from the range, according to general manager Lewis Musolf. That emphasis on practice facilities was part of the county’s plan, and it’s paid off. During the summer, the range is open until 11 p.m. each night, offering a rare later-evening option after work.
The course itself offers a fair amount of variety, for a Par 3 offering. Ranging from just over 100 yards to over 200, uphill and down, its biggest challenge is its narrowness, with a couple of spare bunkers and a single water hazard tossed in.
“The big draw here is that, being a Par 3, it’s a short course,” said Musolf. “It’s not intimidating to beginners.”
Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean it’s easy, per se. Several holes play 200+ yards from the blue tees, and you really can’t afford to mishit too many of your irons off the tee and expect to scramble your way to pars.
“Not too many people come out here and shoot even par,” Musolf said.
Obviously, we weren’t the exceptions to the rule.
There are no motorized carts, and therefore no cart service, so be prepared to walk up and down the hills (they took Jake out — we may be on Playing Through hiatus for a while). So enjoy this one … and go practice!
I love Par 3 courses because they’re a great way to work on your irons and short game. At Burke Lake, you can use most of the clubs in your bag. The course has a lot of hills, so if you have a swollen knee — like I did, you may want to wait until you are fully healed before playing. That being said, this is an ideal course for the recreational golfer, because you realize what is costing you strokes. With me, I need a lot of work pitching and chipping — specifically I’m awful under 100 yards from the pin. Here’s a tip: if you like to play in the water and you splash your tee shot on No. 11, like me, use the drop zone. I didn’t and it cost me. It’s also a good opportunity to practice a decent pitch to the green. If you need to work on your short and intermediate game or a beginner, Burke Lake is a course you should check out.
Dates and Rates
Open year-round except Christmas Day
Weekday, 18 holes before/after 1 p.m.: $22/$19
Weekday, 9 holes before/after 1 p.m.: $16/$14
Weekend, 18 holes before 1 p.m./1-5 p.m./after 5 p.m.: $27/$24/$22
Weekend, 9 holes before 1 p.m./1-5 p.m./after 5 p.m.: $20/$18/$16
Junior rates: $14.30 for 18 holes, $10.40 for 9 holes
Offseason rates (mid-December to mid-March): $22 for 18 holes, $16 for 9 holes
Range passes: 20 tokens, $77; 40 tokens, $140
Newly renovated restaurant serves food, as well as beer and wine. Elevated dining room overlooks both the course and the range.
Pace of Play
We finished our round in right about 3 hours flat, with nobody in front of us
Casual, collar preferred but not required
Located at 6915 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, Virginia. From the Beltway, take Interstate 95 south to the VA 289 E exit and continue to Fairfax County Parkway. Turn left onto State Route 643, then right onto VA 123 and the course will be on your right.