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                                             GolfStyles Magazine


The Woods was featured in GolfStyles Magazine (pp 22-23).  Click here or on the image above to view.



The Woods featured in Golf Guide Magazine.

Read the article by clicking the image below.


The Woods named "One of America's 100 Best Master-Planned Communities" by Where to Retire Magazine.

For the 5th consecutive time The Woods had been recognized by Where to Retire.  Read the story by clicking the image below.



The Woods is featured in Trips and Getaways

"Into The Woods:  Mountain resort offers relaxing golf, spa getaways" is the title of a feature article on The Woods in the Summer 2008 issue of Trips and Getaways magazine.

Read the article here...


Woods Chairman, Ray Johnston Honored as one of the Founding Members of the Eastern Panhandle Homebuilder's Association

At the Annual meeting of the Eastern Panhandle Homebuilder's Association (Nov. 2007) Ray Johnston was recognized as one of the founding members of the EPHBA.   Ray and fellow founder Bill Barney were in attendance as Page Burdette talked about the early, lean days of the association in the 1980's.

Ray Johnston & Bill Barney

Potomac Valley Properties' Cypress Model Wins Best in West Virginia

Sally Johnston, President of Potomac Valley Properties, Inc. received the Best in West Virginia award (Class IV) for The Cypress Model at the State Homebuilder's Meeting in November 2007.


Sally Johnston                                                The Cypress                                          

The Woods Featured in WV Builder Magazine

When the Johnston family calls their company a "Family Company" they are referring to more than just a blood relationship among the corporate officers.  They are referring to attitudes such as
friendship, respect, loyalty and commitment that are fostered throughout their corporation.

Read the rest of the article here...

Golf Digest Rates Mountain View Championship Course "4 stars"

Best Neighborhood feature

Download this Where to Retire Magazine article here in PDF format...

All Hands (and Feet) On Deck
Originating in 1976 as a vacation home community, The Woods in Hedgesville, WV, has grown to 1,800 acres, including deluxe resort accommodations, a restaurant, year-round recreation, a conference center for groups of up to 100, 36 holes of golf and nearly 1,000 vacation, retirement and primary homes-most with great views of fairways, ponds and mountains.

Read this Resort and Recreation Magazine article here...

The Woods: A Ray of Light
My first introduction to The Woods was a whopper. If my memory serves me correctly, I was in charge of arranging a spring golf trip for about 12 couples back in the early 1990’s. With most of the group coming out of the Baltimore area, I distinctly remember the outstanding Maryland style crab cakes they served at the restaurant there. We had a dilly of a time and the golf was terrific.

Read this The Golf Guide article here...

Rolling along W.Va.'s byway of heritage

Top Bargain Spot: The Woods, Hedgesville, West Virginia

Read this Sales and Marketing Magazine article here...

Ray Johnston's 2004 Shepherd University Commencement Address
When President Dunlop invited me to join you some weeks ago, he requested that I keep my remarks brief. In doing so, he reminded me of a dinner I organized many years ago for which I asked Vice President Hubert Humphrey to be the principal speaker. Humphrey said he would speak if we gave him sufficient time to prepare.

Read the rest of the speech here...


America's 100 Best Master-Planned Communities

For the 3rd year in a row, The Woods has been named one of America's 100 Best Master-Planned Communities by Where to Retire Magazine.

Following is the text of their article about The Woods:

The Woods - Hedgesville, West Virginia.

"In the northern Shenandoah Valley adjacent to a wildlife preserve, The Woods provides an escape to the country, yet is only 90 miles from the Baltimore-Washington beltways. A mountain resort and residential community in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, it boasts a bounty of indoor and outdoor recreation, including trails throughout the area and lake fishing. Its new second golf course is mid-length, inviting for all ages with shorter play.

For Jan Butler, it was difficult finding a place to retire that pleased both her and her husband, Gary. She wanted golf, he wanted mountains. "We got both here," she says, noting they searched several states. "The Woods has everything. It's established. All the amenities were here. The people are so friendly." From the DC area, they first bought a weekend place and then built a retirement home."

The article goes on to list pricing, homes built and contact information about The Woods.

Photo Caption: L-R: Brande Larrimore (Exec. Dir. Jefferson Co. CVB), Sam Huff, Ray Johnston, Chris Stone (for Sue Stone) and Bob O'Connor. (Exec. Dir. Berkeley Co. CVB).

Ray Johnston Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in Tourism

Honored at the April 2002 regional tourism conference, Ray Johnston, Chairman and founder of The Woods received one of the first ever Lifetime Achievement Awards for the promotion of Tourism in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. Specifically noted were Ray's efforts to upgrade Route 9, inspiration for the Washington Heritage Trail, years of service as President of the Eastern Gateway Travel Council and later as President of the Martinsburg/Berkeley County CVB. Other honorees included former Washington Redskin, Sam Huff and Sue Stone (in memoriam) for their work in Jefferson County.

The Woods in Hedgesville, WV, is already home to one of the best champion- ship courses in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Mountain View.

Woods Resort Builds Mid-Length Course to Serve Membership

For years, we've been extolling the virtues of The Woods in Hedgesville, WV, as one of the best examples of fun and fair golf to be found anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic.

Now Ray Johnston, developer of The Woods, is making the resort's golf offerings even better by converting the current nine-hole Stony Lick course into an 18-hole mid-length layout that should be a treat for players who don't want to tackle the 18-hole championship Mountain View course.

Construction should be finished this fall. The course can grow in through the fall and spring, then open as a more mature layout in spring or summer 2002.

The idea of a mid-length course seems so obvious one would wonder why more courses throughout the country don't do it. The concept is great for beginners, youngsters, seniors, women and men - anyone who is intimidated by a championship layout, fears their playing partners will become aggravated because they're not good enough to keep up, or worries that they'll hold up group after group that comes up behind them.

For a while, Johnston considered expanding Stony Lick to give the resort a pair of championship courses. But he collected a file box full of information on mid-length or executive courses from across the country and a major part of his rationale is based on data from the membership statistics of The Woods GC.

  • 63% of men have handicaps of 31 or higher or no handicap at all.
  • 93% of women have handicaps of 31 or higher or no handicap at all.
  • The average age for members in 1999 was 58.
  • In 2010, the average age is projected to be 65.

An executive-length course will take considerably less water to irrigate, a key factor for both environmental concerns and maintenance costs. And players should find it an easier layout to walk, which should appeal to seniors. Johnston estimates that Stony Lick will be a walk of about three miles, while a championship course is about a five-mile walk.

"The 18-hole Mountain View course is more than enough to accommodate our low handicappers," he said. "But we need something for the vast majority of our members who pay dues but it's not fun for them."

While some of the better players at The Woods have scoffed at the idea, Johnston believes the new course will work to their benefit. If slower, more inexperienced players switch to the mid-length option, that should speed up play on Mountain View.

By the same token, Johnston believes the mid-length course will be far from a pushover. The course will feature four par 4s and five par 3s on each side. And even though the holes may be short, many of the greens are extremely small. "It will still take talent to get on the green and make par," he noted.

The course will feature three sets of tees, and Johnston worked to make each nine holes virtually equal in distance for the new layout. The front nine will play to distances of 1,550, 1,745 and 1,840 yards, depending on which set of tees is used. On the back, the lengths are 1,550, 1,785 and 1,860 yards.

Even from the back tees, the longest hole on the course is a 300-yard par 4. The par 3s range from 110-170 yards.

"I went through eight different design ideas before I settled on this one," Johnston said. "This one really offers the most balance between the front and back."

Players shouldn't let the short length of the par 4s deceive them. Take the new No. 9, for example. From the back tees, the hole plays to just 230 yards. But it's a dogleg right, and Johnston cleverly left a tree in the fairway. So a player trying to reach the green has to expertly shape the shot from left to right, around the tree. The green can best be referred to as a postage stamp. Miss short and there's a pond. Miss too far left and the ball can bounce down the hill into the pond. Miss right and there are more problems with trees. Johnston is betting that most players will choose to lay up and then come into the green with a wedge.

Another fascinating design is No. 11, a par 3 that measures 140 yards from the back tees. Again, the green is small. Johnston used dirt to form a horseshoe-shaped mound around the green. Shots that just miss the green might hit the inside of the mound and roll toward the hole. But if they hit the outside edge of the mound, they could bound away, setting up a tricky pitch shot.

A report by the National Golf Foundation says middle-length courses are popular, playable and profitable.


Woods Golf Course
The #1 hole on the new Stony Lick mid-length will remain the same par 3 that drops 80 feet from tee to green.

"We still call them 'executive golf courses,' a misnomer," the report says. "But the middle-length layout, by any name, is clearly established as an important element of the American golf scene."
The report notes that Richard Phelps, former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, said the courses "can be fine tests of golf, demanding shotmaking skills instead of sheer length and strength. Far from the private domain of weaker, less-accomplished golfers, when well-conceived and well-designed, intermediates provide ample challenge for any golfer."

Johnston is convinced the course is the perfect match for the popular Mountain View course at The Woods. Based on his success with other ventures, it's probably a safe bet he's right.

For more information about The Woods, call 1-800-248-2222. Or visit

"Voted Best Golf Course in the Tri-State Area"
(Reader's Choice awards 2002—Martinsburg Journal).

2/01/2001- The Woods was named one of the "top 10 best golf course Web sites" by Crittenden GolfInc. magazine. Take a tour of our newly updated golf pages.

Read what Craig Stoltz of the Washington Post says about his family adventure at The Woods.