The Itinerant Golfer

The Itinerant Golfer's Take on Kinloch Golf Club


Kinloch Golf Club

Architect: Lester George & Vinny Giles
Year: 2001

100 Kinloch Drive, Manakin Sabot, Virginia 23103
(804) 784-8000

driving range available
walking only - caddies available
on-site accommodations


Just outside of Richmond, Virginia is a little known golf club called Kinloch. Though the club only opened in 2001 it has had acclaim lavished upon it since the day it opened its gates. Along with a few other key players, Kinloch was the brainchild of Marvin “Vinny” Giles who is widely considered the second best amateur golfer to ever play the game . . . second only to Mr. Robert Tyre Jones Jr.

The membership is small, so it was great fortune for me to get to know a couple of members who very generously invited me, along with my brother, out for a round of golf. We arrived early and changed shoes in the locker room housed inside the gorgeous tudor style clubhouse. After changing we found our way over to the great practice facility. The driving range and short game areas were just spectacular. Despite the incredibly dry summer Virginia is having the grass everywhere was perfect. I can honestly say that I have putted on greens that were not as well kept as the fairways at Kinloch.

Kinloch is a collection of great golf holes several of which feature split fairways where you have to decide if you want to play it safe or go for broke. The course has several large lakes making it incredibly scenic and the best part of all . . . no houses. In my experience that is a rarity for a modern course.

The fairways at Kinloch are wide and very generous. However, whatever the course gives you on the fairways, it takes back on the greens. The day that we played the greens were running just over 13 on the Stimpmeter so to say they were slick would be the understatement of the year. Missing a two foot downhill putt easily resulted in a 10-12 footer coming back, if you were lucky. They like to keep the grass around the greens shaved real tight as well. An approach shot that lands just off the green or a putt that errantly finds its way to the edge of the putting surface can end up rolling 20-30 yards downhill to a collection area, or worse, the water . . . just ask my brother.

Another interesting thing about Kinloch is that they have a 19th hole. An actual 19th hole, not just the clubhouse. It is a par 3 over water and when a tournament is played there the 19th hole is used as a tie breaker hole. There are tees ranging from 120 – 220 yards available for the hole.

I happily ended the day with pars on the 18th and 19th and then headed to the clubhouse for a Cuban and a single malt. Having a laugh on the porch overlooking the lake as the sun went down was a great way to end an incredible day of golf. A big thanks to my hosts who made the day as spectacular as could be imagined. An added treat is that one of our hosts happens to hold the club record of 63, so not only did I get to play a great course but had the pleasure of watching an amazing player work his way around this tough course!