Ten scenic golf courses around Washington D.C.

By Travel ArticlesNovember 26, 2012, 7:51 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ask 10 local players the most scenic golf courses in the Washington, D.C. area, and you're likely to get 10 different answers.

In a diverse city, the public golf options are appropriately varied. There are majestic mountain courses and others set on the banks of rivers or the Chesapeake Bay. There are traditional, tree-lined classics and windswept courses on cleared farmland. Want to play a course that is uniquely D.C., with landmarks and monuments at which to fire? These are all available within an hour of the Beltway.

Here are 10 to consider, with an emphasis on selecting courses from a variety of locales, natural settings and price ranges ...

Little Bennett Golf Course

Overshadowed by nearby P.B. Dye Golf Club, Little Bennett Golf Course in Clarksburg, Md., delivers comparable views at nearly half the price.

The 18-year-old muni has flaws but remains an under-the-radar gem because of its idyllic mountain setting. The par-4 finishing holes to both nines play over the same ravine, toward the ideally situated clubhouse. The downhill third plays straight at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Another reason to visit Little Bennett: its lengthy, all-grass driving range.

East Potomac Golf Course

No Washington-area course has a clientele as diverse as this relaxed, inexpensive, minimally maintained National Park Service municipal course.

Set on a man-made island in the Potomac River, East Potomac Golf Course's allure is its unique location.

Cool views of the river, Washington Monument, D.C. Waterfront, Fort McNair and Reagan National are the redeeming features and why private developers have long attempted to acquire East Potomac and bring it to its enormous potential.

Renditions Golf Club

Though built on an unremarkable piece of land, Renditions Golf Club delivers great scenery by brilliantly replicating classic holes in golf's past -- Amen Corner at Augusta National, the church-pew bunkers at Oakmont, the island green at TPC Sawgrass and three fascinating holes from courses in the British Open rota.

Few public courses can match the stellar conditions at Renditions or the memorable clubhouse.

Virginia National Golf Club

Virginia National Golf Club is so far off the beaten path in Bluemont, Va., you'll swear you took a wrong turn.

Once there, it's easy to see why this course, along the Shenandoah River, makes the list. Conditions are often disappointing, but the views are unparalleled. At the signature 14th, take in the river below, the Shenandoah Valley beyond and the Allegheny Mountains in the distance.

This is panoramic perfection; a singular view unmatched by no other course in Northern Virginia.

Bull Run Country Club

Too many nearby homes is not a problem at Bull Run Country Club, which sits isolated from development on the foothills of the Bull Run Mountains.

The Rick Jacobson-designed course suffered in recent years but has been restored to its past glory by Raspberry Golf Management. Both nines have great risk-reward finishers.

Musket Ridge Golf Club

Any of the stellar daily fee courses in Frederick County could have made this list. But Musket Ridge Golf Club stands out because it sits atop a mountain ridge, with more long-distance views of the Catoctin Mountains.

Designer Joe Lee called Musket the best piece of property he ever worked on.

Lake Presidential Golf Club

Prince George's County, to the east of the District, is full of worn-out, pedestrian public courses. The exception is dramatic, immaculate, upscale Lake Presidential Golf Club.

The sparse, bunker-less green at No. 11 feels like you're at Augusta. The rest of the back nine is full of elevation change and thrilling, tree-lined beauty. Both nines finish with intimidating tee shots over water -- a nice pair of signature holes by which to remember Lake Presidential.

Queenstown Harbor

The best 36-hole public facility in the area sits at the confluence of the Chester River and Chesapeake Bay, seamlessly incorporating ponds, wetlands, hardwood stands and jaw-dropping water views.

The greens fee is hefty for Queenstown Harbor, a course located 15 minutes beyond the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. But the scenery is unmatched.

Queenstown Harbor's River Course is the star attraction. The shorter Lakes Course, with more of a parkland feel, remains a strong complement.

Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club

Upscale gem Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club transforms sleepy Front Royal into a legitimate golf destination.

Seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains stretch out on the horizon on the first hole lets you know immediately that you're in for a spectacular ride on a big-boy course.

Swan Point Yacht & Country Club

Swan Point Yacht & Country Club, an out-of-the-way course in an area where there's little competition, is worth the trip down Route 301 into Charles County.

An intriguing mix of marshland and woodland on the banks of the Potomac River makes for a great mix of uniquely beautiful holes. On the tee on the signature 12th hole -- one of the most photographed in the state -- cattails 8-12-feet high obscure the view of the green.

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."