Arundel Golf Park gives players space to hone their swings all year long with an covered and heated driving range. Former PGA Class A member Norm Vacovsky draws on 34 years of coaching experience to help players get over learning plateaus during lessons held at the center.
A frequent qualifying course for the U.S. Amateur, Piney Branch Golf Club's 18-hole course has a reputation as one of Maryland's best designs. The course arcs fairways over rolling hills and through clusters of trees, all leading to challenging greens. But while its 6,781-yard length from the tips may bring scratch golfers to their knees, the course offers five tee options to make the test passable for players of all abilities. Before teeing off, players can warm up with unlimited range balls at the driving range, practice their touch on the short game range, or bury underperforming drivers in a practice bunker. Those who aren't concerned with their handicap can simply enjoy the grounds' beautiful gardens and impeccable landscaping, best enjoyed from the massive windows of the hilltop clubhouse.
Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 72 course
* Length of 6,781 yards from the tips
* Course rating of 73.9 from the tips
* Slope rating of 130 from the tips
* Five tee options
After spending his formative years helping his father to operate multiple golf facilities, John Invernizzi decided to dedicate his adult life to spreading the gospel of the game. The PGA pro opened Hereford Golf Center in 1995 with the aim of creating a pressure-free space for golfers of all stripes to hone their swings, learn to appreciate the game, and debate about which club would be the most useful to ward off feral caddies. In the ensuing 17 years, clubbers have been hitting practice balls at the center’s 36-stall driving range, replete with eight target greens that range from 50 to 260 yards.
The adjacent Lost Falls Miniature Golf Course takes friendly competitors careening past two ponds, a large stream, and a mysterious cave as they steer golf balls toward pintsize flagsticks. True to his mission of making golf fun and accessible for everyone, John and the staff at Hereford Golf Center provide clubs free of charge, sparing clubless players from hastily purchasing one or digging in their backyard for a conveniently shaped mastodon bone.
“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:
18-hole, par-70 course Length of 6,158 yards Course rating of 125 Slope rating of 70.1 See the scorecard See hole details Five tee options, including one for The First Tee program
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.
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.