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
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 * Scorecard
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 * Scorecard
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.