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.
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.
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.
Augustine Golf Club's award-winning course was sculpted to reflect its natural beauty with its distinctive par 4s sculpted by course architect, Rick Jacobson. Although the greens at Augustine declined for a few years, recent renovations have restored the course to its former glory, once again luring golfers to its babbling streams and forest. Farther north, rivals Augustine's sister course, Raspberry Falls. Course architect Gary Player remarked that the Falls, once an 18th-century plantation, “was made for a golf course.” Inspired by this ideal setting, he dreamed up the links-style course at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, whose meandering brooks, stone walls, and stacked-sod bunkers evoke Scotland, while its vista of the Catoctin Mountains remind players they’re in Virginia.
These golf havens have more than picturesque views in common—they are two of six award-winning courses united by Raspberry Golf Management’s portfolio, which stretches from Virginia to Pennsylvania and skips over to Arizona. Gary Player’s design team for Raspberry Falls included Tim Freeland, who went on to design two of the firm’s other courses: Royal Manchester Golf Links, whose bentgrass fairways sidle up to the Susquehanna River, and Old Hickory Golf Club, a parkland-style course crisscrossed by Beaver Creek. The management company's other gems include The Legacy Golf Resort, where cowboys used to ride their rocking horses around a 7,500-acre ranch, and Bull Run Golf Club, which sprawls across more than 450 acres of meadows and woodlands at the foot of the Bull Run Mountains.