Golf in and around the nation’s capital is a state affair. Playing at the top courses in the greater Washington, D.C. area will take you to Maryland and Virginia, where the rolling terrain and bucolic setting have given rise to naturally beautiful courses carved out by top golf architects. You’ll find a layout that wraps around Lake Manassas, a super-fun tribute course with holes from Augusta, Winged Foot and Carnoustie, among others. Best yet, you don’t have to venture far to experience championship golf as the city has an excellent course (great for walking) in its golf portfolio, complete with close-up views of the Washington Monument. Play on!
Plus, when you rent a car with Avis you can sneak in a little golf on any of these great courses with $25 off your round if you book through Golf Now – pickup available directly from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
East Potomac GC Blue Course
You can check off a number of D.C. sightseeing to-dos when you tee it up at East Potomac’s Blue Course (aka Hains Point). Their hashtag #HitTowardsTheMonuments gives you a clue into the views on the course, with the Washington Monument clearly visible throughout the round, as well as many others like the Jefferson Memorial and the Naval War College. If you time your visit just right in April, the cherry blossoms explode along the fairways. The Walter Travis design dates back to 1920 and the flat layout maxes out at 6,599 yards, making it a very walkable course. The greens are open so you can keep it low—good for the days when there’s a brisk breeze off the river. It is a busy municipal course so be prepared for some scruffy bits, and maybe some waits, but keep in mind that a great golf experience isn’t just about the course - they also have some vintage shops. Settle at The Potomac Grill after your round for a burger and pitcher of craft beer.
University of Maryland Golf Course
Home of the University of Maryland golf teams, this 1958 George Cobb design is the only championship-caliber course within the Capital Beltway. It’s a beautiful, traditional and mature parkland layout that offers a nice array of yardages with several rated combo tees. Distances range from 5,090 up to 7,015 with three yardages in the 6,000s (6,049, 6,369 and 6,651) so golfers can really customize their experience. Though you won’t find a lot of straightaway holes where you can let loose with the driver; the bunkers and uneven lies add to the challenge. The course also earns kudos for its eco-friendly approach - the Audubon International Certified Wildlife Sanctuary recently planted an acre of milkweed habitat for Monarch butterflies. Its long-term status is unknown as the University of Maryland wants to make a grab for 30 of its 150 rolling acres for athletic fields and football parking. Locals cry foul as this treasure has been a stalwart in the D.C. area for nearly 60 years.
Renditions Golf Course
It’s easy to see why Renditions Golf Course was one of GolfNow’s “most favored” courses of 2018. It features top-tier replica holes from PGA and USGA Championship courses around the world. Just 25 miles east of D.C. in Anne Arundel County, you’ll feel worlds away. There are holes from courses like Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale from across the pond, and a great mix of American classics, including Augusta National’s Amen Corner, Shinnecock Hills, The Country Club, Merion, Medinah, Cherry Hills, Winged Foot, and more. Playing 6,762 yards from the tips, it won’t beat you up but expect to use all the shots in your bag, from bump-and-runs to pinpoint approaches. Even the 19th hole gets into the historic vibe, with its retro golf décor, featuring paintings and photos of famous golf champions. With panoramic views of the course, the outdoor patio is the perfect spot to reflect on your round while sipping on a frosty draft.
Stonewall Golf Club at Lake Manassas
This Tom Jackson design, rated among the top public courses in Virginia, is a beauty. The course, which overlooks Lake Manassas, is challenging from the back set of tees, yet playable for all levels with a friendly forward tee yardage of 4,889 yards. No. 18 requires a layup to the water fronting the green, or a really gutsy second shot over it. The front nine is open and plays along the lake, while the back nine takes you inland to wooded hills. From No. 15 tee, you can get a glimpse of the private Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. Stonewall offers its own private-club experience with its amenities, among them excellent practice facilities, with range balls included in the greens fee and a large clubhouse with a terrace overlooking the lake that is a destination in itself.
Westfields Golf Club
If you’re looking for a secluded spot to sneak in a round on a business trip, Westfields Golf Club is a smart option. Operated by Marriott Golf and affiliated with the Westfield Marriott Washington Dulles Hotel, the course offers well-priced stay-and-play packages, or just enjoy the picturesque Fred Couples design for the day. Couples took advantage of the beautiful hardwood trees and rolling Northern Virginia landscape to carve out a track that winds through wetlands and mature hardwoods (all in full color in the fall). Playing from the 6,496-yard Boom Boom tees (Couples’ TOUR nickname for his driving length and accuracy) is a real test with some carries over natural areas, lakes and a ravine. One of the toughest holes is the 13th, which has a blind tee shot and a Civil War burial site that comes into play on the right as well as some deep bunkers guarding the green. Retreat to the newly renovated clubhouse after your round to enjoy the shady deck complete with a large flat screen TV.