A member of the PGA since 2005, Mark Russo helps golfers of every age and skill level unlock professional-grade play during lessons at Night Hawk Golf Center. He boils down the complicated game to a three-pronged teaching philosophy that focuses on establishing fundamentals, trusting the swing to produce consistently positive results, and relying on feel as opposed to technical perfection or the advice of a talking divot. Ultimately, students should be able to get the hang of a swing that’s well suited to their bodies and can be comfortably repeated when facing down a tough shot.
The sun has just broken over the lush trees guarding Falls Road’s sloping hills, and Mike Kenny has already revolutionized his student’s short game. It’s PGA professionals like Mike who dedicate their time and energy to teaching novice golfers how to drive and experienced golfers how to better chew wood like a beaver. They instruct their students at one of Montgomery County Golf’s nine courses, offering classes for beginners, plus specialty clinics for adults and camps for juniors. Each teacher at every course champions his or her individual method of instruction. Mick, for example, uses a step-by-step process to thoroughly improve putting, chipping, pitching, and eliminating wasted strokes.
On its perch high atop Prospect Hill, the resplendent manor house stands overlooking the 18 holes of Glenn Dale Golf Club as they unfurl outward among rolling hills and dense foliage. Though the house has been there since 1742, it wasn't until 1956 that the course was carved around the base of the mount. Terrell Brazelton oversaw the building of the course using a design by George Cobb, who later became the resident architect at Augusta National Golf Club and the author of many of its architectural renovations.
Today, golfers find their short games put to the test by dramatically sloped greens, a difficulty encountered by many top players when the course hosted a U.S. Open Qualifier in 1994 and just one player broke par. As players herd their golf balls throughout the course, they tread over land steeped in American history. The fairways and greens reside on a tract that once served as a meeting place for Native Americans.
Course at a Glance:
Top Flite Super Range golf balls hurtle toward laser-measured targets on Westminster Island Green’s lighted range, where players practice their drives from 50 hitting stations. Guests continue to enrich their golfing skills during lessons with PGA-certified golf instructors, summertime junior clinics (with 7:1 student-teacher ratios), and ladies or couples golf clinics held every other Thursday. Westminster Island Green also accommodates putters with a fully lit 18-hole miniature golf course, with island-themed landscaping and goldfish ponds. Alternatively, baseball buffs can watch their homers fly through an open-air batting park unobstructed by nets. There, pitching machines launch softballs at up to 60 mph and baseballs at up to 70 mph, while batters control the height of each pitch and the speed at which they spit out sunflower seeds.
A weathered starting gate—its rusted doors still hanging from their hinges, a painted 10 still visible over the leftmost stall—seems to sink into the faint remains of an old horse track, a relic of the grounds’ past life as a venue for racing and training thoroughbreds. A portion of the old track cuts across three holes at Glen Riddle Golf Club’s 7,163-yard Man O’ War course, the longer and more difficult of the club’s twin 18-hole layouts. In truth, the legendary thoroughbred from which the course takes its name once lived on the historic Glen Riddle grounds, but the layout is more than just a locus of equestrian trivia: with massive greens, double fairways, and deep pot bunkers swept by the gales from the eastern shore, its mounded terrain pays homage to the old, links-style layouts that populate the shores of Scotland where horses first climbed out of the sea.
Of course, Man O’ War is named for the legendary thoroughbred who sired a legendary racer of his own—the 1937 Triple Crown champion War Admiral, which also serves as the namesake for Glen Riddle’s second course. Though slightly shorter than its grassy patriarch at 6,892 yards, the foal winds its fairways through forests and tidal marshland to form a much less forgiving layout.
Man O’ War Course at a Glance:
War Admiral Course at a Glance:
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