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Best in State

The best golf courses in Maryland

You don't have to travel far to get to the very best golf in Maryland. Eleven of the top 12 courses are located in the 35-mile corridor between Baltimore and Washington D.C., including No. 1 Congressional Blue. The Blue has long been the state's top-ranked course but its lead has increased following a major redesign by Andrew Green in 2020 (it won the Golf Digest Best Transformation award in 2021).

The four courses not located in the corridor are worth the ride for their distinctive designs. Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace east of Baltimore is one of Pete Dye's best non-resort affiliated public courses with a lovely core design. Four Streams, in the countryside northeast of Bethesda, is a stout player's course from Steve Smyers and Nick Price with sweeping cape and bay bunkers. The Links at Perry Cabin is a late-career Dye design that roams through a community near the banks of the state's eastern bay, and the U.S. Naval Academy course in Annapolis makes a debut after a 2019 renovation by Andrew Green.

Below you'll find our 2023-'24 ranking of the Best Golf Courses in Maryland.

We urge you to click through to each individual course page for bonus photography, drone footage and reviews from our course panelists. Plus, you can now leave your own ratings on the courses you’ve played … to make your case why your favorite should be ranked higher. 

(Parentheses indicate the course's previous ranking.)

1. (1) Congressional Country Club: Blue
4.5
78 Panelists
Congressional's Blue Course had been an icon of traditional American parkland golf since the 1964 U.S. Open. Prior to that event, Robert Trent Jones combined nine remodeled Devereux Emmet holes with nine new ones of his own to create the modern Blue, and those holes were remodeled and reshaped several times by son Rees Jones for the 1997 and 2011 Opens. All the while, the trees around them matured, creating dense, shadowy corridors of wood. Drainage issues and declining course conditions motivated the membership to considier a major overhaul in 2020, and that's what they received when architect Andrew Green reimagined the course as somethiing that Emmet might have originally designed, denuding the property of its forests and creating broad, rollicking fairways that tumble through meadows of long fescue punctuated by fearsome bunkers and bold, segmented greens. Parkland golf Congressional is no more, and the remodel, which included a new, drop-shot par-3 10th hole, earned the course our Best Transformation award for 2021 and a jump of 18 spots in the 100 Greatest ranking.
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2. (2) Baltimore Country Club: East
Private
2. (2) Baltimore Country Club: East
Lutherville Timonium, MD
The East Course at Baltimore Country Club, also known as the Five Farms Course, was one of many outstanding A.W. Tillinghast designs nationally ranked for decades by Golf Digest. Still, even jewels need polishing now and then. The club brought in Keith Foster, perhaps the most modest of modern-day course architect. He chooses to work solely on restorations, no more than two at one time, and declines to self-promote. He won’t even nominate any of his courses for any of Golf Digest’s course awards, preferring to let others handle that. At Baltimore C.C., Foster removed trees (which nearly everyone is doing these days), rebuilt greens to make them manageable with today’s green speeds, re-established Tillinghast’s bunkering, regrassed everything and brought back sparkle to the East Course. Par 3s rank among the best Tillinghast buiilt, as does the stretch run from the par-5 14th to the strong par-3 17th.
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3. (3) Caves Valley Golf Club
Private
3. (3) Caves Valley Golf Club
Owings Mills, MD
To compare the present Caves Valley against that which was originally built in the early 1990s is to recognize how much Tom Fazio has felt obligated to adjust his courses to today’s club and ball technology. Back in 1991, the opening hole was a dogleg-left with a trap at the turn. Today it has four bunkers framing the landing area. The par-5 third had just two “buffer bunkers” along a lake to the right to stop high-handicap slices from landing in the drink. Those buffers are still there, but so too are three enormous bunkers down the left, stretching over 300 yards from the back tee. And so it is all the way around Caves Valley. There are now target bunkers mainly in play for big hitters and frontal bunkers at several greens to force pin-seekers to throw it in the air. Caves Valley is a players’ club, and one remains a player only by being constantly challenged during a round.
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4. (4) Burning Tree Club
Private
4. (4) Burning Tree Club
Bethesda, MD
4.2
50 Panelists
Burning Tree is one of golf’s most exclusive jaunts. The club remains all-male—the story goes that a foursome of golfers fed up with slow play by a female group at Chevy Chase founded their own men’s-only club, and it’s remained that way. It’s an enclave of politicians past and present—with a former member list that includes presidents such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush. There are no tables in the grill room—just long benches where you sit next to other members and their guests, regardless of political affiliation. The golf course is unique, too, boasting a C.H. Alison routing that includes some fun variety, despite all but one hole doglegging left to right. Alison produced variety in the form of bunker and green complexes, which have been renovated in recent years by Gil Hanse.
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7. (5) Chevy Chase Club
Private
7. (5) Chevy Chase Club
Chevy Chase, MD
4.1
23 Panelists
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8. (8) Columbia Country Club
Private
8. (8) Columbia Country Club
Chevy Chase, MD
4.3
39 Panelists
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9. (7) Bulle Rock Golf Course
Public
9. (7) Bulle Rock Golf Course
Havre de Grace, MD
4.2
61 Panelists
This great course is built on the old Blenheim Farm, which had been the home of many thoroughbred race horses. Indeed, Bulle Rock is named for a direct descendant of the very first thoroughbred stud brought to America. Pete Dye's bold design spreads over 275 acres, with no homesites or amenities other than golf. Besides being named America's Best New Upscale Public Course of 1998, Bulle Rock hosted the LPGA Championship from 2005 through 2009.
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10. (9) Four Streams
Private
10. (9) Four Streams
Beallsville, MD
4
38 Panelists
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11. (NR) Bethesda Country Club
Private
11. (NR) Bethesda Country Club
Bethesda, MD
3.3
18 Panelists
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13. (NR) U.S. Naval Academy Golf Club
3.7
32 Panelists
Located across Seven River from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, the U.S. Naval Academy course received a significant boost in variety and complexity following a 2019 renovation from Andrew Green. The course has a rich heritage, designed by William Flynn in the 1920s, but the holes had become worn down and simplified, with lackluster bunkers and small, tilted greens. Green rebunkered the course as Flynn might have, adding over 20 of them in enlarged, more shapely forms. He also removed unnecessary trees and expanded fairways and greens to capture more playing angles and hole locations. A major improvement.
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14. (NR) Links At Perry Cabin
Public
14. (NR) Links At Perry Cabin
Saint Michaels, MD
3.7
43 Panelists

From Golf Digest Architecture Emeritus Ron Whitten:


In 2015, when Pete Dye started work on Links at Perry Cabin, he had no idea that soon after his approval of the contours of its last green, he’d be forced into involuntary retirement by the cruelest aspect of the aging process, the dissipation of one’s memory. His fans should know that the 93-year-old Hall of Famer remains creative to the end.

Though he has routed 18s in northern Florida and Indiana that others are now building, this is his final full design, from start to finish. It opened last year and is accessible to guests of The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., about an hour outside Annapolis.Assisted by his younger son, P.B., Pete transformed a low-profile 1971 collaboration with brother Roy, replacing it with a far more dynamic creation.

Though it’s not meant to be the “best of Dye,” there’s no mistaking its inspirations. The diagonal fourth green—with its right half racing downhill and to the right—brings to mind Pete’s 13th at Crooked Stick.

The par-5 14th, its elevated fairway curving around a long strip bunker against a lagoon, resembles the fifth at Whistling Straits.The island-green, par-3 17th is a mirror image of Pete’s 17th at TPC Sawgrass, but with a larger green and a comforting ring of rough around the collar.

Two holes are particularly engaging curtain calls. The par-3 seventh features a Biarritz green, and though it was added at the request of owner Richard Cohen, it’s fitting that a Dye course finally contains a replica of the most iconic C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor convention, given how much Dye admires their architecture.

And the 487-yard 18th, a C-shape par 4 around an enormous lake, looks much like the Waterloo 13th at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, a Robert Trent Jones design. When Pete started his career, he said he’d do the opposite of whatever Trent Jones was doing, just to set himself apart. Can it be that Pete Dye’s final golf hole is a tribute to Old Man Jones?

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15. (NR) Whiskey Creek Golf Club
Public
15. (NR) Whiskey Creek Golf Club
Ijamsville, MD
3.8
40 Panelists
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