Nestled in the rolling hills of Maryland's countryside, the Wakefield Valley Golf Club showcases three different nine-hole courses. Each course presents a unique set of challenges, with the green course showcasing lengthy par 5s and the white course challenging golfers with hilly terrain and water holes that lure errant shots and experimental scuba-tank golf bags. The gold course, meanwhile, sets up demanding tee shots into narrow fairways, as seen on its signature eighth hole, where water guards the green on all sides.
Golfers can warm up for rounds at the driving range and practice green or employ the swing-honing advice of PGA Professional Scott Magee, who teaches enough students to believe that he will find one who can pull a putter from a stone. Guests can also refuel rumbling stomachs with casual food and drinks at Fenby’s Restaurant.
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 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
With four sets of tees to choose from, each of the 18 holes that comprise Flatbush Golf Course reveal rewarding mental and physical challenges for golfers of every stripe. The course's lush chlorophyll-laden carpet stretches to 6,671 yards from the back tees, and brings into play obstacles such as water hazards on eight holes, elevated greens, and sudden impulses to plant a vegetable garden. The most difficult hole on the course proves to be number 4, a 450-yard par 4 with water on either side of the fairway and a wide, shallow green guarded by a large bunker to the front right. On the back nine, number 16 grants players a clear view of the hazards that lay before them, allowing them ample time to triangulate a route to safety.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Four tee options * Total length of 6,671 yards from the back tees * Rating of 71.6 from the back tees * Slope of 121 from the back tees
Just a few miles from where Abraham Lincoln once delivered the Gettysburg Address, there now lies a par-72 golf course stretching 7,069 yards from the tips. The calm greens on The Links at Gettysburg do little to conjure the chaos of the eponymous Civil War battle that took place nearby. Its fairways twist to accommodate a succession of 14 lakes and streams that golfers must navigate with either precise shots or a swan trained to retrieve balls from the water. The course challenges expert players with a 74.1 rating and 144 slope from the back tees, though four other sets of tees accommodate golfers of all skill levels. After an afternoon on the links, guests can settle in for hearty eats at the on-site Red Rock Grille.
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.