Window Shopping: Washington D.C

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 28, 2012, 11:59 am

Congressional Country Club, host of the AT&T National, is in an area west of Washington, D.C. rich with million-dollar homes and ritzy golf courses. Just a chip shot from Congressional are Avenel, Bethesda, Burning Tree, Chevy Chase, Columbia, and Kenwood. Just one problem: Unless you have connections, you can’t play any of these ultra-private clubs.

The good news is that there is an abundance of public options in the Washington area ranging from immaculate daily-fee courses to less-expensive, generally-older municipal facilities.

The public course closest to Congressional is Montgomery County muni Falls Road, which was spruced up in 2009, and can give your ego a boost. The par 70 measures 6,162 yards from the tips. For a more formidable challenge, Northwest (7,376 yards) in Silver Spring, is the toughest of Montgomery County’s nine government courses. It has wide fairways, huge greens, and plenty of 1960s-era parkland touches.

Hampshire Greens, also in Silver Spring, the newest and best-maintained county course, has interesting design features by Lisa Maki, but plays through a bustling housing development and rates reach $70 on the weekend. If looking for a more peace and lower greens fees, try rugged Little Bennett in Clarksburg, which has stunning mountain views, or quaint country course Poolesville, located 15 miles up River Road from Congressional, but feels hours away.

The best muni in the Washington area can be found 35 minutes south, off I-95 in Lorton, Va. Laurel Hill Golf Club, designed by Bill Love and built on land formerly occupied by a correctional institution, will host the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links and has been ranked the No. 7 municipal course in the nation by Links Magazine and No. 13 by Golfweek.

If arriving in Washington via BWI airport, strong courses with easy access from I-95 are Waverly Woods (Marriottsville), and Cross Creek (Beltsville). More out of the way, but definitely worth the trip is muscular, privately-owned Blue Mash (Laytonsville), virtually unchallenged as the best public course in Montgomery County.

The top publics near Dulles airport in Virginia are Fred Couples-designed masterpiece Westfields (Clifton), Gary Player-designed Raspberry Falls (Leesburg), under-the-radar gem Goose Creek Golf Club (Leesburg), 1757 (Dulles) and planned-community throwback Reston National.

The lone course easily accessed from Reagan National airport is one you might fly over on your way in or out. East Potomac Park offers minimally-maintained grounds but maximum fun. The greens fees are among the cheapest in the area despite its prime location on a man-made island in the Potomac River. This course is all about the views -- the river, Fort McNair, the D.C. Waterfront, and the Washington Monument – and the uniquely-democratic D.C. experience.

For those with enough time to venture outside the Beltway, there are stellar public courses in all directions. To the east are Lake Presidential Golf Club, an upscale revelation in Upper Marlboro, and Renditions Golf Club, a magnificently-manicured tribute course with holes replicating the island green at TPC Sawgrass, the church pew bunkers at Oakmont, and Amen’s Corner at Augusta. To the southeast is stunning Swan Point in Issue, Md., which has a scenic mix of wetlands and hardwood, providing a coastal-Carolina feel.

To the rapidly growing south, and for those willing to test the fickle fortunes of crowded I-95, there are a trio of standouts -- Deane Beman-designed Cannon Ridge Golf Club in Fredericksburg, a Rick Jacobson classic at Augustine Golf Club in Stafford, and beautifully-sculpted Old Hickory in Woodbridge.To the west, off I-66 in Virginia are reinvigorated Bull Run Golf Club in Haymarket, which plays in the shadow of the Blue Ridge mountains, Pleasant Valley (Chantilly) and its equally-challenging sister course South Riding Golf Club, both with intricate, challenging green complexes, and Stonewall (Gainesville), the public counterpart on Lake Manassas to private stalwart Robert Trent Jones.

For mountain majesty in Maryland, head up I-270 to Frederick County for its wealth of scenic daily-fee courses. Musket Ridge is the prettiest and most strategic of them all, while Whiskey Creek has the most varied and rugged design. Maryland National is the most interesting and isolated of them all. Or for the area's most supreme test open to the public, take on P.B. Dye Golf Club. 

Getty Images

Army vets get sneak peek at Callaway's new wedges

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 5:23 pm

ATLANTA – Callaway Golf unveiled a new set of wedges to consumers on Friday, but U.S. Army veterans Kyle Butcher and Billy Paul were treated to an early peak on Wednesday at the Tour Championship.

Butcher and Paul were chosen to participate in a club fitting at East Lake that included three of Callaway’s new Mack Daddy 4 Tactical Wedges. The new wedges feature the company’s tactical package with a PVD finish, tour issued shafts and Groove-in-Groove technology. It was the company’s 13th “warrior fitting” this year.

Billy Paul (L) and Kyle Butcher checking out Callaway’s new Mack Daddy 4 Tactical Wedges.

Billy Paul (L) and Kyle Butcher (M) checking out Callaway's new Mack Daddy 4 wedges

The limited edition wedges became available at retail on Friday ($179.99) and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Birdies for the Brave. The company also made a $50,000 donation to Birdies for the Brave’s Special Operations Warriors Foundation.

Part of the company’s push to honor American military members also includes 15 percent discounts on purchases by all veterans.

Getty Images


By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 21, 2018, 4:29 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2018) – GolfNow today announced its expansion into France – its first entree into continental Europe – via agreements with two of the country’s leading multi-course management companies. The arrangement provides golfers residing throughout GolfNow’s footprint – including the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Australia – with the ability to book tee times on GolfNow at nearly 50 golf courses throughout France.

Coinciding with the growing anticipation of the 2018 Ryder Cup being contested next week at Le Golf National golf course outside of Paris, GolfNow’s agreements with Open Golf Club and UGOLF will showcase a collection of courses throughout France, which is considered to be one of the best countries in Europe to play golf due to its extensive variety of courses and year-round playing conditions. Tee times will be promoted across multiple GolfNow distribution platforms, depending on golfers’ geographic locations: GolfNow (U.S., U.K. and Ireland), Teeofftimes by GolfNow (U.K. and Ireland) and Qantas Golf Club by GolfNow (Australia).

“We’ve been planning this day for some time and are excited about our expansion into France through great partnerships with Open Golf Club and UGOLF,” said Brian Smith, general manager, GolfNow & Emerging Businesses International. “We anticipate that U.S. golfers will be motivated to play in France because of what they see whilst watching the Ryder Cup. Golfers worldwide can easily book tee times via GolfNow for a future trip, and because the U.K. and Ireland remain the number-one source of all golf tourism in France, GolfNow and now can be part of any golfer’s travel planning.”

“Open Golf Club is very happy to welcome GolfNow into France,” said Laurent Boissonnas, CEO, Open Golf Club. “As a leading high-end golf operator, we offer a portfolio of top quality courses, including three in the top-50 on the European continent. In addition to its famous ‘art de vivre,’ France offers a unique variety of golf courses and we are proud to give GolfNow customers the opportunity to discover them.”

“UGOLF is proud to join the GolfNow marketplace and, thus, offering special access to its French golf courses to international golfers,” said Pierre-André Uhlen, Director General, UGOLF. “Customer satisfaction is a UGOLF priority and we strive to offer our golfers the best services and technology at the forefront of innovation.”

Among the more than 600 golf courses throughout France, among the top-rated Open Golf Club courses that are making tee times available via GolfNow and TeeOffTimes are:

  • Golf des Yvelines – just 35 miles west of Paris, in the heart of the Île-de-France region and nearby Ryder Cup host Le National Golf, these two courses are nestled in a natural environment, bordering the forest of Rambouillet.
  • Le Touquet Golf Resort – An award-winning 45-hole golf destination, with its La Mer (The Sea) course among continental Europe’s Top 35 and ranked first in France.
  • Golf d’Hardelot – Home to Les Pins (The Pines), this 36-hole club is a top French golf destination located inside a lush forest and one of the most beautiful golfing sites in Europe.

Among the top courses available on GolfNow and featured within the UGOLF portfolio are:

  • Golf de Courson – host of the French Open qualifiers for 12 years, this property offers two distinct, 18-hole designs of varying difficulty that were crafted by architect Robert von Hagge.
  • Golf du Château de Cely – located less than 50 miles south of Paris on the edge of the Fountainebleau Forest, this recently renovated gem has been transformed.
  • Château de Rochefort – Designed by famous British architect Fred Hawtree, this par 71 is surrounded by the natural beauty of a French forest in Yvelines.

Reviews about golf courses located throughout France, including many that now can be booked via GolfNow, can be found at Golf Advisor, which currently features more than 700,000 golf course reviews of more than 15,000 golf courses around the world.

About GolfNow

GolfNow is an innovative technology company specializing in golf-related products and services that is creating frictionless ways for golfers and golf courses to better connect. GolfNow operates the largest online tee-time marketplace in the world, offering more than 3.5 million registered golfers a variety of ways to stay connected to their favorite courses and the ability to easily book tee times online and via mobile devices any time of day. With offices in Orlando, Fla., and Belfast, Northern Ireland, GolfNow also provides technology, support and marketing services to nearly 8,000 golf courses in 24 countries around the world. GolfNow is included in the suite of digital businesses owned by NBC Sports and managed by Golf Channel, which is available to more than 500 million viewers worldwide. For more information, go to GolfNow Business.

About Open Golf Club

Open Golf Club is the first high-end French golf management company. Founded in 1987, it provides management services to 55 internationally renowned golf courses in Europe, including the full management of 15 courses in France and Belgium, and a network of partners of 40 clubs in six countries, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Open Golf Club partnered with the French Golf Federation in hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup 2018 at Le Golf National.


UGOLF is the leader in French golf course management, currently operating 50 golf courses in France and employing 700 people. Nearly 20,000 subscribers and 27,000 licensees trust UGOLF every year for golf enjoyment. UGOLF Academy trains 3,500 new golfers each year. Through its subsidiary, LeClub Golf, UGOLF operates a network of more than 140 golf courses in France, more than 300 golf courses in Europe and approximately 700 courses around the world. UGOLF is a subsidiary of Duval Group, a family-owned company operating in real estate, tourism and golf management.


-NBC Sports Group-

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 21, 2018, 4:20 pm

Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.

Getty Images

Fisher becomes first in Euro Tour history to shoot 59

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 21, 2018, 11:29 am

There’s never been a sub-60 score on the European Tour, and Oliver Fisher almost went two strokes better Friday at the Portugal Masters.

Fisher’s 40-footer on the final green burned the edge, but he tapped in the short par putt to record the first 59 in tour history.   

“It feels great,” he said after getting sprayed with champagne. “It was in the back of my mind all day.”

It didn’t look like it.

The 287th-ranked player in the world, Fisher made 10 birdies, an eagle and seven pars during his magical round.

All of the other major pro tours have produced a 59 – nine times on the PGA Tour; once on the LPGA – but this was the first time that a player on the European Tour broke the sub-60 barrier. (There have been 19 rounds of 60.) Earlier this year, at the Scottish Open, Brandon Stone narrowly missed an 8-footer on the final green during the final round. This tournament has produced a few chances, as well, with both Scott Jamieson and Nicolas Colsaerts coming up just short over the past few years.

Fisher went out in 28 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, then made three birdies in a row to start the back nine. He tacked on another birdie on 15 to give himself a shot at history, then played the closing stretch in 1 under. On 16, he needed a 20-footer for par after leaving his tee shot well short of the flag. He two-putted for birdie on 17 and then coolly made par on the last, after his birdie try from 40 feet just missed on the left edge.

Two years ago, he arrived in Portugal needed a good result just to keep his card. He shot a final-round 64. 

On Friday, he made tour history.

“I kept that in the back of my mind, thinking things could be worse,” he said. 

To this point, Fisher had a forgettable season. Ranked 72nd in the Race to Dubai, he didn’t have a top-10 in a stroke-play event since late February. His last four results: MC-T71-MC-MC. He opened the Portugal Masters with a 71 and was in danger of missing the cut.

Now, improbably, he’s in position to score his second European Tour title, after capturing the 2011 Czech Open.

“I tried to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s not often that we get a chance to shoot a really low one.”