Smith Mountain Lake Golf: An Insider’s Guide (2024)

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Residents and visitors have four choices for golf at Smith Mountain Lake, each presenting a unique blend of challenge, character and scenery. No matter your skill level, SML offers something for everyone, with two public and two private courses.

In this post, 30-year lake resident and avid golfer Chris Gibson shares his personal insights into our region’s options for golf. For each course, he offers highlights on history, design and features and details on the most memorable holes. Also included are recommendations for food and beverages to enjoy following your round and what you can expect to pay for 18 holes during the summer season.

Mariners Landing Country Club

Aerial of a golf hole at Mariners Landing with Smith Mountain and the lake in the background.
Photo by Bryce Scott, Rapid Imagery

Boasting more than 1,000 scenic acres on the Bedford side of the lake, Mariners Landing offers an enjoyable golf experience in a park-like setting. Designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr., this public course has undergone significant improvements in recent years, enhancing its beauty and playability. With select holes offering dramatic lake and mountain views, Mariners Landing promises an enjoyable round for all golfers.

In-Season 18-Hole Pricing
Includes green and cart fee
Monday-Thursday: $38
Friday-Sunday: $48

Memorable Holes

HOLE 5: A scenic par 3 with beautiful lake and mountain vistas that showcase the natural beauty of the region

HOLE 11: A challenging par 4 with an undulating fairway and a green that demands precision and skill

HOLE 13: A long par 4 that rewards a bold drive down the right side of the fairway, which leaves an easier approach over the water with your second shot

THE 19TH HOLE: After your round, treat yourself to wood-fired pizza at Bruno’s Clubhouse Bistro, where the Three Little Pigs pizza pairs perfectly with a Bruno’s Lake Lager from Parkway Brewing.

Golfer putt out on a green at Copper Cove Golf Club at Smith Mountain Lake, VA.
Photo by Andie Gibson

Copper Cove Golf Club

Designed in 1989 by Russell Breeden, Copper Cove Golf Club (formerly The Westlake Golf & Country Club) presents a challenging yet rewarding course in a serene, tree-lined environment. The greens at Copper Cove demand precision, which makes for an interesting round for players of all skill levels. The course, located near Westlake Corner, offers limited views of the lake, significant elevation changes and holes that require plenty of strategy.

In-Season 18-Hole Pricing
Includes green and cart fee
Monday-Thursday: Before 1 p.m. $48; 1-4 p.m. $43; after 4 p.m. $38
Friday-Sunday: Before 1 p.m. $58; 1-4 p.m. $53, after 4 p.m. $48

Memorable Holes

HOLE 13: A challenging par 4 with a gentle left-to-right dogleg that
plays uphill to one of the more benign greens on the course

HOLE 16: A long par 3 with a downhill tee shot and water guarding
the left side, testing your nerve and skill

HOLE 18: A strong finishing hole that is a dogleg left with water guarding the green on the right, requiring strategic play till the very end

THE 19TH HOLE: Unwind in the clubhouse after your round with a bite from the short-order grill. I recommend the fish and chips or cheeseburger along with a frosty beverage of your choice.

The Water’s Edge Country Club

Gorgeous lake and water view at The Water's Edge Country Club at SML, Virginia.
Photo by Kathleen Riordan

One of 16 private courses owned and operated by Raleigh, North Carolina-based McConnell Golf, The Water’s Edge Country Club on the south side of Smith Mountain Lake offers an exclusive experience surrounded by natural beauty. With scenic views of Smith Mountain Lake and meticulously manicured fairways and greens, this course is a must for players who enjoy both challenge and charm. You’ll need to find a member to play with you, but I assure you the effort will be worth it.

In-Season 18-Hole Pricing
Includes green fee, cart fee and range balls
Weekdays: $90; Weekends: $110 (must play with a member)

Memorable Holes

HOLES 6-7: These are the most memorable back-to-back holes on the lake. No. 6 is a solid straightaway par 4 with a scenic lake view directly in front of you. No. 7 is a difficult par 3 played over the water to a challenging island green.

HOLE 11: A picturesque par 3 playing over a finger of the lake to an undulating green, testing your accuracy and touch

HOLE 18: A demanding finishing hole, this long par 4 with strategic bunkering includes an uphill approach to a well-designed green

THE 19TH HOLE: After your round, enjoy an order of dry-rubbed chicken wings and a local craft beer on the patio or in the relaxing bar.

The Waterfront Country Club

Aerial view of holes 9 and 15 at The Waterfront Country Club at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia
Photo by Bryce Scott, Rapid Imagery

The oldest course at Smith Mountain Lake, The Waterfront Country Club is my home course and also my favorite to play. Designed by George Dillon, this championship layout offers a true test of skill amidst its tight, tree-lined fairways and challenging greens. The course is located about 7 minutes south of Westlake Corner and, while private, unaccompanied guests may play if the PGA Professional from their home course makes the tee time.

In-Season 18-Hole Pricing
Includes green fee, cart fee and range balls
Unaccompanied guest: $125
Guest playing with a member: $77

Memorable Holes

HOLE 11: A straightaway par 4 with a creek guarding the left side and a chimney (remnants of a pre-Civil War home) near the green that adds character to the natural surroundings

HOLE 16: Another straightaway par 4 with a challenging green, thanks to its significant slope, offering a true test of putting skill

HOLE 17: The signature hole (pictured on pages 30-31) is the highlight of any round at The Waterfront with its dramatic elevation change and impressive view

THE 19TH HOLE: Indulge in a post-round basket of chicken wings or tuna poke nachos (my wife’s favorite) with a frosty beverage on the patio overlooking No. 18 green.

Chris Gibson

Golf Editor

A native of Pittsylvania County, Chris Gibson played golf at Gretna High School and Radford University. He’s an accomplished amateur golfer in the Roanoke Valley and 13-time club champion at The Waterfront Country Club.

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