Golf balls whistle through the air as they take flight over the driving range at Waters Landing Golf Park, an 18-acre practice facility where golfers of all stripes flock to groom their game. But while the range’s mix of grass and artificial tees—as well as its 15 covered and heated hitting stalls—offer ample space for solitary practice or black-market driver exchanges, the heart and soul of Waters Landing Golf Park is its golf instruction curriculum.
Helmed by PGA Director of Instruction John Hafera, lessons and clinics take a modern and holistic approach to golf improvement. Using Titleist Performance Institute’s techniques for measuring golf fitness and the latest technological teaching aids—including K-Vest 3-D motion-capture analysis and V1 video-swing analysis—John and his staff assess golfers’ skill sets using the "six factors of golf": swing technique, equipment, mental game, physical assessment, course management, and special knowledge. By making strides in each of these six golf facets, golfers can scratch bogeys off of their scorecards and overcome their fear of being swallowed whole by a sand trap.
At PB Dye Golf Club, golfers wallop, pitch, and putt through more than 7,000 yards of lush, forested greenery on a challenging course that was ranked as one of the best in the state in Golf Digest magazine. Push a dimpled projectile across some of Maryland's only Penn G-2 bent grass greens, which lie at the end of rolling fairways and are defended by bunkers as closely as a mother bear protects her vinyl collection. A flowing waterfall and pair of ponds flank the course's 9th and 18th holes and add aquatic scenery while threatening to capsize novice club-swingers' confidence. With five different tee distances on each hole, the course yields a par-72 rating for men, par-73 rating for women, and par-18 rating for habitual liars.
The white pillars and wrap-around porch of the Worthington Manor Golf Club's colonial-style clubhouse greet guests as they arrive to the club, which serves as an elegant gatekeeper to the luxurious grounds. Stealing a peek at the course is worth a visit in itself, as bent-grass tees, fairways, and greens unfurl amid a rolling patchwork of wetlands and woods. But the course offers more than cosmetic appeal, as evidenced by its perennial role as a host to events such as the U.S. Open Qualifier, U.S. Amateur Qualifier, and the U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier. The par-72 circuit measures a fierce 7,034 yards from the tips, but offers four tee options to cater to golfers across the handicap spectrum.
The Club's practice facilities include a natural grass driving range that nestles in the shadows of an old barn-like structure, which helps golfers reminisce about the days when clubs had fun names, like "mashie niblick." The club also hosts private and group instruction to help players improve in all facets of the game, from chipping and putting to not pronouncing the E at the end of "fore."
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 7,034 yards from the tips * Course rating of 74.4 from the tips * Slope rating of 144 from the tips * Four tee options
Montgomery Village Golf Club's Edmund Ault–designed course sprawls across 6,726 yards of emerald corridors cleaved through the arboreal heart of Montgomery County. Fresh off recent refurbishments that include new tee boxes and switching to a bermuda hybrid grass, management continues to improve on a course that has hosted multiple PGA-sanctioned events and royal grass-grazing parties for traveling goat monarchs. Fairways tunnel through unforgiving tree lines as golfers swing their way toward each green, where fast surfaces form breaking putts. Alongside the pristine par 71, the club's grass-tee driving range, putting green, and full-service pro shop help streamline clubbers' birdie-hunting skills, and the Willow Tree Inn's restaurant and grill keeps players from dining on freshly torn divots with an all-day menu of entrees and drinks.
Course at a Glance: * Designed by Edmund Ault * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,726 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 72.6 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 126 from the farthest tees
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.
Designed by respected course creator and star architect Arthur Hills, the gorgeous course gives swingers playable, sweeping greens shrouded by lush scenery. Waverly Woods was carved out of farmland, with wide, friendly fairways. Golfers will appreciate the back nine, which includes a distinctive par four and shifts in elevation.