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: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Total length of 6,282 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70 from the back tees * Course slope of 115 from the back tees
The imposing tree lines on either side of the par 5 first hole at Cross Creek Golf Club frame the ideal shot right off the teebox, like two sides of a leafy goalpost. The crossbar, then, is the medium-size pond just past the tees?the first of 12 encounters with water players will have over the duration of the round. As with so many situations found throughout the course, the shot demands steely nerves, much like asking for chocolate syrup on a hotdog. Even so, the opening gambit can bode well for the rest of the round?there are only two par 5s on the course, making a solid opening drive a player's best shot at securing a solid score.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Total length of 6,061 yards from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard
Golf requires power, precision, and soft touch, and Laurel Golf Center helps players hone all three at one location. Covered hitting stalls facilitate year-round practice at the driving range, where golfers can take aim at six target greens or try to nestle their golf ball inside a passing cloud. Short game practice areas let golfers hone chips, pitches, and shots with awkward lies from a practice bunker. To perfect their feel around the greens, guests can roll through the 18-hole miniature golf course.
Pasadena Golf Center lets visitors create the satisfying thwack of a club hitting a golf ball in one of two locations. They can make out the sound on the 18-hole mini-golf course—where ears will also pick up the sound of trickling waterfalls and the gurgling of landscaped streams and ponds—or at the driving range. Golfers can manipulate a variety of clubs there since targets are set up at different lengths, and 20 of the range’s 34 hitting stations are covered to provide shade during warm months and heat during cold ones. In addition, a full setup of lights let them swing away into the evening or when Apollo's chariot of fire is in the shop. To assist in swing mechanics and proper alignment, the center organizes lessons led by Golf Academy of America–certified instructor, Brett Francisco.
Pasadena Golf Center is also equipped with a nine-station batting cage that challenges visitors with baseball pitches of varying speeds as well as slow- and fast-pitch softball. A 1,600-square-foot patio nearby can facilitate birthday parties or other special events.
A golf course is where players go to test their skills, but Arundel Golf Park is where those skills are formed. At Arundel's outdoor facility, instructors teach private and group classes and hold supervised practice sessions, in which they periodically check in with students as they drive ball after ball at a driving range protected from the wind and distracting cries of caddies. During "fitting days," golfers bring in their current clubs to have one of Arundel's pros determine their ideal length, loft, and other specs.
While golf remains the focus at Arundel Golf Park, the facilities have a couple of other ways visitors can work on their swings. An 18-hole mini-golf course shrinks the game down to a fun challenge of angles and finesse, and batting cages let players set aside the elegant, nuanced game of golf to simply enjoy bashing round things with blunt objects.
?A lot of players look at the card and think because it?s short that they?re going to play their all-time best round of golf and end up spending a lot of time in the woods,? says head professional Joan Lovelace of the course at Fairway Hills Golf Club. The Ron Pritchard?designed course ?which stays neatly within the bounds of 6,158 yards?doesn?t just get its bite from the woodlands about which Lovelace warns. Water comes into play on 12 of the 18 holes, and the second fairway?s wicked dogleg right and stream-guarded bentgrass green costars with collarless shirts in many golfers? nightmares. The links wind down with a hope-inspiring 18th hole, where golfers with the right mix of skill and luck can make a birdie.
Adjacent to the course?s bermuda-grass fairways, the club?s practice facilities invite players to demolish buckets of balls at a turf range, cleat across a chipping area, or practice whipping a putter out of its holster and twirling it around their thumb. Lessons with the club?s PGA professionals are also available to help hone games.
Course at a Glance: