An old Civil War-era cannon welcomes golfers to the clubhouse at Locust Hill Golf Course. though course management may not use it for shotgun tournament starts or to launch slow-play warnings at laggard golfers, it sets a historic tone for bucolic rounds of golf through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The chief hazards here are the lakes, ponds, and streams adding up to 35 acres in total. Water enters play on 11 of the 18 holes, but even if players can keep their golf balls high and dry, they still need to successfully navigate numerous sand bunkers and hard-to-read greens if they're to play well.
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.
A 20-year veteran of the Professional Golfers Association, instructor Bud Lintelman imparts his knowledge, skills, and fairway philosophies to beginners and future champions. With a carefully programmed agenda and an eagle eye on individual performance evaluation, the MPACT Golf program aims to get novices on the 18-hole road to low-impact athletic enlightenment. Because golf swings are as varied as snowflakes and Aretha Franklin performances, the program takes an individualized approach to helping students. Using video analysis to meticulously dissect drives—with freeze-frame technology revealing where knees and wrists lead a swing astray and slow-motion to show where follow-throughs go askew—Bud Lintelman uses his expertise to shed fledgling duffers of detrimental habits. Students can choose to focus on whichever skills elude them most, whether that means tightening up the short game, overhauling swing mechanics, or learning how to talk to an emotionally unavailable caddy.
As the son of a couple famed for their course designs, P.B. Dye works hard to honor his heritage. To create PB Dye Golf Club, he spent 120 days on the grounds, working the bulldozer himself and instilling the fairways with the sweat and tears that has filled Dye water hazards for generations. Likewise, the course itself honors the attributes of the land on which it stands. Sharing its 6,724 yards from the back tees, the 18-hole course also acts as an Audobon International Cooperative sanctuary, serving as a safe haven for the D.C. area's abundant wildlife.
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