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.
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:
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.
Liberty Road Golf Center's multifaceted facilities help golfers fine-tune swings with every club in their bag. Piercing drives, pinpoint approaches, and remote-controlled flop shots take flight from the Center's 20-stall driving range before touching down in a field peppered with yardage-marked flags and realistic faux bunkers to simulate on-course targets. A stint at the short-game practice area preps clubbers for a round at the nine-hole, par 3 course, where players launch tee shots onto slick, artificial greens and punish egotistical drivers by making them sit out for the round. While practice areas sharpen swings, master club tinkerer Mark J. Diley re-grips, re-shafts, and repairs clubs, and the center offers rental drivers and 6-irons for those without their own set. The Center also encompasses outdoor batting cages, where mechanical hurlers sling softballs and baseballs at eight different speed settings.