Interspersed with rolling hills, meandering woods, and rippling water obstacles, each of these featured courses provides a challenging round for golfers of any skill level. Designed by renowned course architect and Jack Nicklaus-protégé David Heatwole, 1757's par 70 layout rewards crafty shots made on deceptively subtle greens and around towering brick barriers camouflaged to match the surrounding foliage. 1757's practice facility drills drivers with more than 100 hitting stations of grass and synthetic SportTurf tees, as well as a full short-game training area complete with facsimile fairways, bunkers, and greens. The Virginia Oaks course, considered one of Virginia's most difficult, was designed in 1995 by putting-placement legend P.B. Dye, challenging players with a narrow 18 holes rounded out by artfully placed obstacles. Home to a Nike Golf Learning Center, Reston National provides an accessible environment for players to learn and perfect their strokes away from the incessant creaking of rickety mini-golf windmills.
The imposing tree lines on either side of the par 5 first hole at Cross Creek Golf Club frame the ideal shot right off the teebox, like two sides of a leafy goalpost. The crossbar, then, is the medium-size pond just past the tees?the first of 12 encounters with water players will have over the duration of the round. As with so many situations found throughout the course, the shot demands steely nerves, much like asking for chocolate syrup on a hotdog. Even so, the opening gambit can bode well for the rest of the round?there are only two par 5s on the course, making a solid opening drive a player's best shot at securing a solid score.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Total length of 6,061 yards from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard
Komodo dragons, quicksand, and headhunter’s darts are just some of the dangers that lurk in the jungle depths of the Perils of the Lost Jungle miniature golf course at Woody’s Golf Range, whose innovative attractions caught the eye of The Washington Post and earned it a place in Newsweek Magazine’s recommended mini-golf courses in 2005. Harder hitting clubs hone their swings at the driving range. Golfers can spend their time there digging up divots in Patriot-Bermuda-grass hitting stations or sending balls whistling over AstroTurf mats. The range’s heated, lighted, and covered stalls let players practice year-round. Along with separate practice areas for pitching and chipping, a sand trap invites golfers to practice the best way to get out of a bad lie—by digging an escape tunnel. Guests can trade in their clubs for bats at four softball cages and five baseball cages, and themed picnic areas enable groups to turn their visit into a day-long extravaganza.
On its perch high atop Prospect Hill, the resplendent manor house stands overlooking the 18 holes of Glenn Dale Golf Club as they unfurl outward among rolling hills and dense foliage. Though the house has been there since 1742, it wasn't until 1956 that the course was carved around the base of the mount. Terrell Brazelton oversaw the building of the course using a design by George Cobb, who later became the resident architect at Augusta National Golf Club and the author of many of its architectural renovations.
Today, golfers find their short games put to the test by dramatically sloped greens, a difficulty encountered by many top players when the course hosted a U.S. Open Qualifier in 1994 and just one player broke par. As players herd their golf balls throughout the course, they tread over land steeped in American history. The fairways and greens reside on a tract that once served as a meeting place for Native Americans.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Total length of 6,282 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70 from the back tees * Course slope of 115 from the back tees
Course designer Tom Clark of Ault, Clark, & Associates earned Pleasant Valley Golf Club a 4.5-star rating from Golf Digest, whose editors applauded the architect’s creativity in the site’s rolling hills and dense hardwood forest. Clark’s 18-hole brainchild allows players to tee up from one of four tee boxes and test their mettle against the par 72 course, taking care to avoid the water in play on six holes and the grassy meadows that lie outside the fairway borders. Players can bookend their round with a warm-up session on the range and a cooldown at the grill, helped along by a club sandwich, a Gatorade, or a glass of ice water dumped on an overused foot wedge.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,915 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 73.5 from the back tees * Course slope of 137 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
While the game of golf is always played outdoors, practicing is often better served indoors, where variables such as weather and turf quality can be controlled. Though Club Golf actually operates in both environments?it also does business at Blue Mash Golf Course?its primary facility is an indoor, golf-dedicated training center that helps players improve their game with an arsenal of hitting bays and swing-analysis devices. Among these are a pair of Trackman launch monitors, which measure a host of swing factors including club-head speed and launch angle, and six V1 Video Analysis Systems, which help players understand the precise mechanics of their swing, from address to backswing.
But it's not all about technology, unlike Ivan Drago's unnatural workout routine in Rocky IV. The club also features a 1,200-square-foot putting green and a short-game practice area with a bunker, as well as fitness equipment to help players transform themselves into long-driving, straight-hitting golfing machines.
Overseeing all of this swinging, measuring, sand-blasting, and dumbbell-curling are a pair of PGA-certified instructors, Ryan Chaney, John Hafera, Brendon Post, and Joy Bonhurst. Each conducts private and group lessons in the facility, and then helps students make the transition outdoors through lessons on course strategy and decision-making.