Preston CC - Kingwood, WV
Updated: Apr 22
Unless you live in Kingwood, WV, you're going to have a drive to get to Preston Country Club. However, once you get there, you'll find a course that has a great blend of challenges and scoring opportunities to go along with terrific course conditions.
Let me first say this: Preston CC is a really fun golf course. I've played some courses that look good on paper in Northern WV, but then you arrive and find the clubhouse in disrepair or abandoned, forty-seven kinds of grass on the course and probably bunkers that had been neglected long ago. My expectations were not very high since the website was really old, their Facebook account wasn't set up much better and pretty much the only pictures you'd find online were of a flood many years prior.
What's that old saying? Never judge a book by its website? No wait...
Driving in just after dawn, the entire course was shrouded in cloud cover/fog. Preston CC lay on the banks of the Cheat River framed by typical West Virginia hills. It also lay on a historically significant piece of land - being that it was once owned by George Washington.
Clubhouse/Pro Shop/Practice Facilities
There isn't much to speak of, so don't expect to do more than show up and play. There is a Mexican restaurant in the clubhouse, but didn't stay long enough to try it. Pro Shop had the bare essentials and is in need of a makeover, but its the course you come to play.
The course is essentially flat, but uses mounding and what subtle sloping that naturally exists to create a visually pleasing championship test of over 7000 yards - something of a rarity in the WV hills. The thing that stands out about this course are the hazards. They're fair - in that they're in play and can impact your score, but not so penal that you're contemplating quitting the game altogether at the turn.
The first hole features a large lake to the left of the fairway but you'd have to hook it out there pretty good to reach it. Bunker clusters in front of the green are the next obstacle to overcome, followed by large flat, fairway waste-like bunkers, mature trees lining fairways and protecting corners of the green complexes, high-walled principle nose like traps, to mound clusters preventing run-ups.
My favorite hazard and holes had to be the road holes (7 & 8).
You've got a par 4 (7th) and a par 5 (8th) that give you a pretty wide landing area for each, but well protected greens, the latter being elevated to deflect any peripheral shots. The road is far more in play on the 7th as shown in the first photo on this post. The management was kind enough as to allow me the pleasure of shooting the course to update their website and this hole was undoubtedly my favorite.
The back nine uses the beginnings of the hills to form some elevated greens but only one true elevated tee to let you rip. The last three holes meander through the woods to provide even more variety to your round.
If you're ever in the Morgantown, WV area - or on a golf trip at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland - this would be a course worth the trouble and time to find. You'll be glad you did. There are some name brand courses in both areas, but you'll be hard pressed to find a better value.
Crusader Rating: 4 STARS
Played October 2017
Website: http://www.prestoncountryclub.com/ (probably doesn't work)
Tee Times: 304-329-2100
GPS: 1 Camp Dawson Road, Kingwood, WV 26537