The Golf Guide
Mid Atlantic Region

Winter 2009

Featured Article on pages 42-43

Lee’s Hill Golf Club- Full Circle
Nick Ciattei

Sometimes to get where we you are meant to be in life you have to take quite a journey. It’s those individuals who take that risk on what is called the "road less traveled" that come out more full filled in life no matter what their final achievements might be. This is the story of the growth of a young man as well as the growth of a golf course itself. Jamie Loughan is the General Manager at Lee’s Hill Golf Club in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He also owns the golf course along with his Brother-in-Law Joe Amberger. Loughan moved to the Fredericksburg area in 1981 and cut his teeth in the golf business starting as a cart boy in 1986 at the former Shannon Greens Golf Club. Jamie credits Larry Slagle, the longtime PGA Pro there, with helping him learn the ropes of the golf industry. Shortly thereafter, Jamie got the Assistant Pro gigs and was going to Mary Washington at the same time earning a degree in Business Administration. Borrowing a line from Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, "They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot". Shannon Greens fell victim to the urban growth of the region in the mid 90's with plans to replace the course with a major shopping hub. The course remained open thru June of 1995 with two new holes being built because an Outback Steakhouse had eaten up the former eighth hole. During this time Loughan got his first exposure to managing the course during the transition. Those last days at Shannon Greens saw him working as well at The Gauntlet at Curtis Park, the P.B. Dye design that opened in April of that year. By 1997, Jamie had taken on the General Manager responsibilities at The Gauntlet and brought the course great recognition during his tenure there which ended in 2002. Now working for the Meadowbrook Golf Management Team, Loughan began a five year stint at Montclair Country Club.

Lee’s Hill Golf Club in the meantime opened in the Fall of 1993, and is considered a granddaddy of the upscale golf explosion in Northern Virginia. It had a wonderful location just off I-95 and was a beautiful and modern challenge of golf set amongst an old civil war campground. General Robert E. Lee’s Army bivouacked for the winter following the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. The course has always maintained a some what military theme in it’s presentation using creative names and images for tee markers and other aesthetics. The front nine at Lee’s Hill is always remembered for the oddity of back to back par 5's on holes two and three. At 579 yards from the Cannon tee’s, the second is wisely played in three shots avoiding wetlands along the way. The third is reachable in two shots especially for those who can play a slight draw off the tee and keep it down the left side. Players laud the short par 3 fifth for it’s multiple tee locations and long narrow green which allow it to play totally different day to day. The back nine opens and closes with par 5's that both play alongside a large lake. Ten is visually intimidating from tee to green with water down the entire left side. The closer plays over 600 yards from the tips with water down the left and five fairway bunkers adding to the challenge. These are just several of a solid arsenal of holes that Bill Love designed that garnered awards and kept Lee’s Hill in the fore front of Northern Virginia golf.

Several management and ownership changes over the years placed the facility in a transitional phase, and the layout suffered what economic experts like to call growth pains. This all leads us to the marriage of Loughan and Lee’s Hill in December of 2007. Over the first year at the helm of daily operations, Loughan likes to use the term "night and day" as far as the way the course has rebounded condition wise. "We were able to achieve in the first 10 months what we thought would take up to two years to recover", Loughan adds. The nothing but positive responses from members and daily fee golfers from last year are testament to the improvements that have been made. Jamie feels that it’s also not just about the golf course. He credits the team he has assembled at Lee’s Hill as the main reason for his successful transition into ownership. Membership has rebounded and overall play was up nearly 15%. The philosophies learned from his years on honing his golf management skills through various management companies and positions have now come full circle for Loughan. And don’t expect this young man to be content with just some improvements. "We want to continue to enhance and improve through the coming years to make this facility one of the best around". Those are some thoughtful words from the king of the hill.