Pipestem Resort State Park:

Golfing Above the Clouds in West Virginia.

Posted by Alistair Orr


The next stop in our State Park golf course series is a visit to Pipestem Resort State Park where we enjoy a Geoffrey Cornish* designed course in the mountains of southern West Virginia. Located just east of the I77 between Beckley and the Virginia boarder Pipestem is a great place to get lost for a couple of days, enjoy 27 holes and take advantage of the multitude of amenities and accommodation options and the this mountain state park has to offer.


Cornish routes this mountain top course along the edges of a deep gorge serving up some spectacular views of the valley floor below and the distant mountaintops. As is typical of a Cornish layout, Pipestem is a course that is playable for high and low handicap alike. Characterized by narrow tree lined fairways and small greens that will present the skilled player with plenty of challenge and shot making opportunities from the back tees while the novice and intermediate will be treated to an enjoyable fair layout from the appropriate tee blocks. Although you will find a fair amount of elevation change throughout the round it may be suggested the course needs to be walked to fully enjoy the scenic experience.


*Geoffrey Cornish may not be the most recognized name in Canadian golf course architecture but he has more than 200 designs or remodeling to his credit which makes him one of the most prolific Canadians in the industry. In addition to his on-course work Cornish penned an impressive collection of books on golf course architecture, several of which are recognized as ground breaking research works. He is also responsible for designing her sister West Virginia State Park system courses at Canaan State Park and the original 9 at Twin Falls State Park (Bob Cupp fashioned the back 9). He is in fine company as the State Park courses at Stonewall and Cacapon were designed by Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones Sr.

Course Stats:

Par 72
Blue Tees
72.2 / 124
White Tees
69.4 / 120
Gold Tees
67.5 / 116
Red Tees
72.9 / 128


Access: Public


Pipestem, WV -20 minutes east of the I77 at the south end of the state.


Editor's shotmakers Picks
Hole 17
Hole 18
Par 3
Par 4


Feature Holes Descriptions:

The homeward stretch of holes from the 14th tee to the clubhouse presents some great shot making opportunities that will test your nerve while at the same time the scenery will stimulate your senses. However, special attention must be paid to the closing two holes.


The 17th tee hangs on the edge of the gorge offering views of mountaintops as far as the eye can see. But don’t let the scenery distract you for it will take all your powers of concentration to focus on the task at hand of striking your approach shot through the prevailing wind, over the edges of a ravine, to the putting surface on the far side.  At 185 yards from the back tees, par is a formidable task while the hole plays considerably shorter from the front tees offering birdie as an achievable goal. The dogleg left 18th may be the sternest test on the course. This roller coaster hole begins with a drive that must carry a large swale finding a plateau some 150-170 yard shy of the green. From the plateau the fairway slopes gently downwards for 50 or so yards before climbing steeply the rest of the way to the elevated false fronted green complex.  A centre right drive is preferred as a left side approach may be blocked out by three large sentinel trees that are rooted on the edge of the rough half way up the climb to the green. An extra club or two will be needed on the approach but care must be taken to keep the ball below the hole on this steeply back-to-front sloping green.


Pipestem State Park Golf Resort

3405 Pipestem Drive
Pipestem, WV, 25979
(304) 466-1800

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