Golf with friends is the best kind of bonding. There's nothing like being out in the open air, hearing the wind blow through the beautiful old trees lining the fairways, and refusing to grant your compadres a mulligan. The satisfaction of a well-played hole is amplified by the amusement you get from your partner's three-shot spectacle in the woodsy rough. Today's Groupon gets you and a friend 18 holes with cart at River Oaks Golf Course for $40 (up to a $88 value, depending on the day you go). Your Groupon is good for any time Monday through Friday and after noon on weekends.
Fairway virtuosos can putt around in a rental cart for three rounds of golf on three of Prince William County's maintained golf gardens. Forest Greens Golf Club fills its ranks with an 18-hole, 72 par course marked by lush greenery, alleys of pine trees, and fewer blind spots than a Sherman tank missing its side mirrors. Built more than 50 years ago by a cadre of farmers, Prince William Golf Course greets sultans of the swing with 6,367 yards of pastoral playgrounds, boasting a traditional course amongst a countrified bucolic setting. Meanwhile, the General's Ridge Golf Course enfolds golfers in a warm oak-forest embrace and 6,651 yards of championship layout, as well as softly undulating hills patrolled by deer, fox, and confused hawks hatching nest-fulls of Titleists.
Former Masters champion Fred Couples has competed on golf courses around the globe. So he had plenty of inspiration to draw from in designing Westfields Golf Club, which incorporates Northern Virginia's unique topography into its 18 holes. Amid the rolling hills, natural wetlands, and towering beech and oak trees that pepper the course, a lake looms to the left of the signature third hole as players take their tee shots. Other features make the course unmistakably Virginian—on hole 13, for instance, a Civil War burial site comes into play on the right side. After taking in all the course has to offer, players can relax and untangle their coiled hips by visiting the clubhouse's indoor and outdoor dining areas.
Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 71 course
* Total length of 6,897 yards from the back tees
* Course rating of 73.3 from the back tees
* Course slope of 139 from the back tees
* Five sets of tees per hole
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
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.
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.