Spectacular views at River’s Bend will bring you back

By Steve Rocca, Contributor

River's BendRiver's Bend Golf Course provides a scenic backdrop for million-dollar homes that make this course second to none in the middle of the Commonwealth. Designed by renowned architect Steve Smyers, this course uses the natural beauty of the area, right on the historic James River, to create a great experience for those who love not only golf, but the outdoors in general.

CHESTER, Va. - The entrance to the River's Bend golf community just south of Richmond, Va., welcomes visitors with expansive houses that shot up in the heyday of Capital One, which has two complexes nearby.

But the houses on the drive in to the course pale in comparison to the mansions that you'll find right on the course. These are more than just nice houses, these are spectacles to behold. To fully understand the presence of the houses, you need look no further than the finishing stretch of 16-17-18. Two local doctors, a married couple, just finished construction on a beauty that overlooks the final three holes.

The final price tag for the breathtaking view and a house on the course came to more than $3.5 million.

Now that's a house!

And River's Bend Golf Course fits in to the scenery quite nicely. It provides a scenic backdrop for the million-dollar homes that make this course second to none in the middle of the Commonwealth. Designed by renowned architect Steve Smyers, this course uses the natural beauty of the area to create a great experience for those who love not only golf, but the outdoors in general.

This course has water holes at every turn because it is situated on the historic James River. It features terrain that varies from scenic bluffs to wide vistas, and at any given time you might see any number of boats working their way up the river. In just a three-hole stretch on a recent visit, you could see an old-fashioned paddlewheel steamboat struggling against the current, a speedboat flying past at record speed and a jet ski bouncing in between 360-degree doughnuts.

Where else can you have a view that brings back memories of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer and five minutes later see something that would work in a James Bond flick? The ability to mix the old scenic nature of the land with state-of-the art housing and amenities are what help make this place special.

This truly is one of the premier golf courses in the state, and the greens billed as "the best greens in Richmond" don't disappoint. But the views overlooking the river and the spectacular houses make this course most enjoyable. This community was created right on the James for those who want to take full advantage of the good life. With all of the natural beauty, and the nature trail that leads to the river, this is the perfect neighborhood for relaxation.

The spectacular view from the Varina Enon Bridge on I-295 pulls golfers in who are heading South to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head. When they pull out, inevitably they still are talking about hole No. 18, a 438-yard par-4 that overlooks the entire property. To get to the 18th, you first must hike up 60 steep steps to get to the tee box.

Upon arrival, you'll want to take a moment to enjoy the scenery, and catch your breath. Every direction you turn is a postcard picture waiting to be snapped. To the right is the white and maroon mansion, the aforementioned $3.5 million digs. To the left is the scenic James River, playground for water lovers. Directly in front is a 150-foot drop and a 200-yard carry over a marsh.

It's a great view that makes for a perfect finishing hole. You'll leave with a good taste in your mouth, the kind that will have you coming back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths.

At just $65 in the high season, it's one of central Virginia's top daily fee courses and might just be the best value in the area.

Grub

If you are interested in something other than the American fare you find at Cracker Barrel or McDonald's, which are both close, then check out something with a little more ethnic flare. Two places you pass on the way into the golf community both fit the bill. Chen's Chinese restaurant (13104 Kingston Ave., 804-530-8868) specializes in seafood, and the jumbo shrimp, crabmeat and scallops with veggies is a good way to fill up before or after the round. Right next door is Jalapenos (131130 Kinngston Ave., 804-530-2787) Mexican sit-down restaurant complete with nachos, tacos, fajitas, chimichangas, burritos and quesadillas. Pick your favorite or mix and match, and don't forget to try the flan. The Mexican custard with caramel sauce is excellent here.

Stay and play

Because this is a golf community, there are few hotels in the area, and many people either stay closer to I-95 or in Richmond. There is an AmeriSuites next to Jalapenos that is nice. But the best way might be to check out the houses in the neighborhood. The city's only waterfront community offers elegant homes and all the secluded pleasures of an exclusive community. Homes here are priced from $180,000 on the front end of the community and get near $1 million as you get closer to the water. There also are tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, a riverfront pier, a swimming and racquet club as well as nature trails leading up to the James River.

Richmond National Battlefield Park is just up the road about seven miles. It's a great afternoon excursion after a morning round. Between 1861 and 1865, Union armies repeatedly tried to capture Richmond, then the capital of the Confederacy, to end the Civil War. The park commemorates 11 different sites associated with those campaigns, including the battlefields at Gaines' Mill, Malvern Hill, and Cold Harbor. Established in 1936, this park protects 763 acres of historic ground.

Getting there

The community is located 2.5 miles from I-95 (Exit 61A) on Route 10 East and is just 20 minutes from downtown Richmond.

From I-95 North or South: Exit 61-A (Route 10 East to Hopewell). Follow Route 10 Approximately 2.5 miles until reaching River's Bend Blvd. Turn Left and follow road signs to course.

From I-295 North or South: Exit 15-B (Route 10 West to Chester). Follow Route 10 approximately 1 mile to River's Bend Blvd. Turn right and follow road signs to course.

Men's back 6671 71.9 132
Men's middle 6102 69.3 126
Men's front 5527 66.7 121
Ladies 4932 67.8 117

Fast fact:

River's Bend is Richmond's only riverfront golf community. Men's back 6671 71.9 132

Steve RoccaSteve Rocca, Contributor

Steve Rocca has 16 years of journalism experience, including stints at the Virginian-Pilot, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Palm Beach Post and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.


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