The Capitol region has a number of excellent daily fee options spread out in an hour radius in any direction. Starting to the north, patrons in town to see the AT&T National can play pre-eminent golf architect Tom Doaks most easterly course, Beechtree Golf Club, in Aberdeen, Maryland, which is moderately priced and has a solid set of difficult par-4s.
Fourteen and fifteen, two long and interesting par-4s, are the backbone of the homeward nine, Doak said. Beechtree also has my favorite Eden Hole that Ive ever built, he finished. For those of you have not yet been to Scotland, an Eden hole is a version of the par-3 11th at St. Andrews, where three bunkers guard the front of the green, while a long beach bunker (or at St. Andrews, the sandy banks of the River Eden), awaits any shots that air-mail the putting surface.
Pete Dyes Bulle Rock Golf Club, home to the McDonalds LPGA Championship, is a mere twelve miles away from Beechtree. Named for the first thoroughbred race horse ever brought to America, Dye built a series of stunningly beautiful, yet cunning, strategic holes over a rocky site, containing significant elevation changes. Some of his best bunker work goes unappreciated here because players are too frightened by the water hazards on the opposite side of the green. Then they end up in the bunker on the other side and have to play a sand shot back toward the hazard they tried to avoid in the first place!
Other good options in Maryland include Blue Mash, an Arthur Hills design with the toughest opening four holes in all Maryland and some of his best green contours, and Whiskey Creek, a funky Ernie Els design with a stone wall hazard blocking your drive on the home hole.
In Virginia, those who are willing to drive to Williamsburg will see the best golf in the state. The two boldest and interesting designs are Mike Strantzs twins which sit a mere six miles from each other 'Royal New Kent, and Stonehouse. Strantz and his design team used to play a fun-filled Ryder Cup style team match against the grounds crew of Irelands world-renowned Royal County Down at Royal New Kent. Both courses are now run by Traditions Golf.
For other options, Pete Dye recently restored sections of his own River Course at Kingsmill Resort. D.C. locals also like Raspberry Falls Golf Club in Leesburg, Va. and Westfields G.C. in Clifton, VA, a Fred Couples signature design for low-impact rounds on weekends that dont cost an arm and a leg.
Since launching his first golf writing website in 2004, Jay Flemma's comparative analysis of golf designs and knowledge of golf course architecture and golf travel have garnered wide industry respect. In researching his book on America's great public golf courses (and whether they're worth the money), Jay, an associate editor of Cybergolf, has played over 260 nationally ranked public golf courses in 39 different states. Jay has played about 1,649,000 yards of golf - or roughly 938 miles. His pieces on travel and architecture appear in Golf Observer, Cybergolf and other print magazines. When not researching golf courses for design, value and excitement, Jay is an entertainment, copyright, Internet and trademark lawyer and an Entertainment and Internet Law professor in Manhattan.
Photo: Whiskey Creek ' 18th hole. Courtesy of whiskeycreekgolf.com
DC golfers get best of both Virginia and Maryland
'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team
“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.
Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.
Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.
A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.
"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."
Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."
He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.
Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.
“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.
"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.
In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).
“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."
The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.
Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.
Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.
Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.
“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”
The problem was an expired visa.
Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.
No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.
Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.
His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.
One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.
His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.
“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”
He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.
“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”
'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.
Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.
“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”
Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.
The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.
“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”
Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.
“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”
Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.
“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”