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Elevation, not length, is key on the tricky Lakeview Course at Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa in Morgantown, West Virginia

Stan AwtreyBy Stan Awtrey,
Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa - Lakeview GC - 18th
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The 18th hole on the Lakeview Course requires power and precision. (Stan Awtrey/TravelGolf)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The story circulating about the Lakeview Course at Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa is that no one has ever reached the par-5 closing hole in two shots from the back set of tees. That includes some pretty big names, among them Sam Snead, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

And while Nicklaus and Snead share the competitive course record of 67, not even Slammin' Sammy or the Golden Bear in their prime were able to subdue the 620-yard 18th hole of the Lakeview Course.

The reasons? In addition to being extremely long, the hole has a slight dogleg left, and the final 75 yards run up to the green. That means you won't be able to run it up there -- not even if you're a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Don't think Lakeview gets by because of length. It's really not all that long -- just 6,760 from the back and 6,357 from the middle tees. In fact, there are only two par 4s that exceed 400 yards. Lakeview keeps players at bay with its elevation changes, a first cut of rough that is pure evil, and green complexes that possess few flat spots. (There is, however, no truth to the rumor that the state patrol uses the greens to administer sobriety tests.)

"After the first hole you won't find a lot of flat places on these greens," said Tim Bucklew, the resort's general manager.

The bentgrass greens are in good shape and aren't that difficult to read. Execution is another matter. And any approach shot that finishes above the hole is difficult to stop around the hole. Undulation rules at Lakeview.

Then there are the trees. Every fairway is lined with them. The branches eagerly await any sort of shot that veers off line. Players who spray their drivers around are going to be frustrated most of the day.

The day begins with a straightforward par 4 that plays only 317 from the back tees. It is drivable for the big hitters, if they can thread the ball between bunkers that guard the left and right sides of the green. It is also one of the flatter greens on the course.

The first par 5 is no. 5, a short 492 yarder that plays downhill. The hole doglegs left and will play easier if your drive finds that half of the fairway. The hole finishes with a nice view of Cheat Lake.

"This was my favorite hole on the course," said Alice Scott, of Phoenix. Her opinion may have been swayed by her result. She birdied the hole.

One of the most talked-about holes on the golf course is the seventh, a 564-yard, downhill par 5. It drops 180 feet in elevation from tee to the green. This is a tight driving hole that favors shots on the right side. The fairway pinches in around the 100-yard mark and can leave shots on that side blocked out.

Lakeview's back nine

The second half of the course is different. Construction of Interstate 10 required a bridge to reach holes no. 13 through 17. That sets up four challenging finishing holes. No. 15 is a 427-yard par 4 that demands an accurate tee shot and a smart approach to a green that is bunkers on both sides. No. 16 is a 171-yard par 3 that plays uphill to a sloping green. No. 17 offers a chance to catch your breath; the 379-yard par 4 is more open than most, and the green is larger.

That brings you to the 18th hole, which requires power and precision. It plays 602 from the white tees, so prepare to slug away. Your reward: a green with a ton of slope and break. And if you want to relive the moment, the action is recorded and played back moments later on the club's Legend's Sports Bar.

Lakeview was built by architect James Harrison. The first nine opened in 1950; the second nine opened in 1954. The club has many of the old photos from the construction framed and lined on the walls of the men's locker room. There is a putting green, but no range at Lakeview.

Other options at Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa

The second course at the resort is Mountainview, designed by Bryan Ault and opened in 1985. It plays 6,447 yards and winds through the foothills and forests. Like the Lakeview Course, it comes alive with color when the leaves change colors in the fall.

Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa is popular for its stay-and-play packages. A one-night package is less than $200 and includes two rounds of golf with cart rental, bag storage, one breakfast, one dinner and accommodations. It's even less in the spring and fall. Lakeview is a convenient destination for visitors from Columbus and Cleveland, as well as Pittsburgh.

In addition to the two golf courses, there is a 40,000-square-foot fitness center, an indoor pool, a restaurant and sports bar, and 30,000 square feet of meeting space. The 6,800-square-foot Spa Roma offers an array of massages and skin therapies. There are 52 condos on the property, as well as 187 guest rooms.

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Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa - Lakeview GC - 1stLakeview Golf Resort & Spa - Lakeview GC - 4thLakeview Golf Resort & Spa - Lakeview GC - 7th

Stan Awtrey spent 25 years as a sports writer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is editor of Golf Georgia, the official magazine of the Georgia State Golf Association, and writes a weekly column for PGATOUR.com. His work has appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Funniest sell job ever

    Carl Gaul wrote on: Jun 1, 2013

    Nice article. That is if you are trying to sell a course as something that it isn't. There is a difference between a difficult course and a course that is difficult because the layout is dumb. The Slope and Rating guage the difficulty of the course, not the fact that their "first cut" is rough. I personally think they should place windmills in front of every tee box, possibly build ramps that look like clowns on the green and place three holes on every green that have a PVC tube at the bottom. That way if you don't choose the right hole you can be penalized even more by not being able to retrieve your ball at the end of each hole.