Greendale Golf Course
by Carl Sell

In the 1960s, plans were being put forth to develop property south of Rose Hill into townhouses or possibly apartments. That didn’t sit well with the adjacent community and the new supervisor, Joseph Alexander, who was in his first term as a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The plan was to cluster the new development away from Dogue Creek, meaning that the folks who had just moved in along Haystack Road would have at least townhouses next to their backyards.

The idea went bankrupt and the property was put up for sale. Supervisor Alexander, working with a young County employee in what was then the Public Works Department named J. Hamilton Lambert (known as Jay), put together a proposal. On November 16, 1970, the Fairfax County Park Authority purchased the 148 acres from the Courtor Corporation via William M. Baskin, receiver, for $672,841.77.

The idea was to build a golf course for the eastern section of the County to complement those at Burke Lake and Twin Lakes in the west.  Today, the Park Authority owns and manages eight golf courses, including Jefferson, Laurel Hill, Oak Marr, Pinecrest and Twin Lakes (the Oaks Course and the Lakes Course) in addition to Greendale, and Burke Lake.

Alexander would serve eight terms on the Board and Lambert would become the County Executive. They would combine to support hundreds of projects throughout the County, many in Lee District. In 1971, Alexander appointed Carl Sell to the Park Authority Board with instructions to get the golf course and other Lee District projects moving.  Another $1.5 million was needed for the construction of the course and the clubhouse. It, like the funds for acquisition, would come from general obligation bonds sold after approval by the voters.  

In March 1975, work began on the 18-hole, par 68 course. Plans for the course were developed by the Park Authority staff, headed by Don Lederer, Director of Planning, based on an initial design prepared by Leon Howard of Austin, Texas. Interestingly, the storm water runoff from Rose Hill and other surrounding communities was captured in ponds and used to irrigate the golf course. The playing course encompassed 5,818 yards with rolling terrain rising to 240 feet above sea level.

Moore Golf, Inc., of Culpeper was awarded the bid for the golf course while Edward L. Gross of Manassas was selected to build the clubhouse, parking lot and maintenance area. Total cost of the project was $1,444,165. The course was dedicated on August 19, 1976 and play began. Greendale was an immediate hit, with golfers lining up at the gate before dawn during the week, and a reservation system was put in place for weekends.

Twelve years later, the clubhouse was renovated. The irrigation system, currently 40 years old, is being replaced (2015) at a cost of almost $1 million. This drainage work was approved to address the water ponding issue on the course. Both projects were funded by funds approved as part of the 2012 Park bond referendum. Yearly operation and maintenance of the course is paid for by user fees.

Greendale remains a popular destination for golfers, and, except for a few errant golf balls, a good neighbor for Rose Hill. The community now ends at the Greendale property line, rather than a continuation of the previously planned (and built) access points for potential new homes at Greendale Road and Split Rock Road. 

Please let me know if you have any information to contribute to the history of Rose Hill. Carl Sell

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