Imagine the sound of cannon fire and the cry of “Charge!!!” as soldiers on both sides engaged in a heated battle that occurred near the end of our Civil War. The skirmish was brief and the loses were not great yet on June 21, 1864, following two days of fighting around nearby Lynchburg, Virginia, Confederate General Robert Ransom’s cavalry, pursuing Union General David Hunter’s retreating column, engaged in a conflict that would ultimately be known as the Battle of Hanging Rock. Who would have guessed that this wooded area in North Roanoke County, located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia, would later become home to a championship 18-hole golf course? Named after this historic event and the area where the conflict took place, Hanging Rock Golf Club is now known for battles of different sorts… that of the challenges posed and the rewards given by this tight, tree-lined track of nearly 7,000 yards. Situated at the base of Fort Lewis Mountain… sweeping vistas of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains frame the fairways of this local award-winning favorite that has matured to blend naturally with its idyllic and historic mountain surroundings.
“Stand at Ease!!” could be heard nearby… local legend has it that the spring and waterfall located in the steep ravine to left of the Par 5, Number 4 green complex, was a resting point for weary battle participants. Plus, the frontier land that now hosts this daily-fee golf course has a link to the Revolutionary War. The mountain known as Fort Lewis overlooks the course. This 2.5 billion year-old folded mountain is a major influence to ball breaks on all greens. It was named after a fort built by Andrew Lewis, a very famous Revolutionary War hero and Salem resident, who crafted his Richfield Plantation home to the west along the Great Road (now Route 11/460) near the Roanoke River in the valley below the golf course. The cemetery where he rests, East Hill, is clearly visible from the tee box on Hole 11 as both promontories rise above the quaint historic city of Salem, Virginia, home to Hanging Rock Golf Club. With the neighboring city of Roanoke, Virginia and its famous Mill Mountain Star shining bright to the east… it is tough to keep your mind on golf when one is surrounded by the unsurpassed natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The friendly nature of the folks that live and play here on a daily basis are another reason we and “The General” welcome you to experience “The Rock”… where the Blue Ridge, Golf and History come together to form a sense of place found nowhere else but in Salem, Virginia.
Editor’s notes: The Historical monument of Fort Lewis shown to the right is located at East Hill cemetery in Salem and is open to the public. Ask in the Pro-Shop for a detailed map showing directions to these and other local points of interest. Thanks for caring about our common past and considering Hanging Rock for your next round of golf! (Andy Hough, Pres. CorpComm, Ltd. and an avid golfer at Hanging Rock)