DC Area Golf Courses: The Best of the Beltway
Golf and politics go hand in hand in the Beltway. Sixteen U.S. Presidents have played golf regularly while in the Oval Office, and hundreds of lobbyists, lawyers, senators and representatives tee it up on the region’s elite private clubs – including Congressional Country Club and Burning Tree Country Club, both in Bethesda, Maryland. Congressional’s Blue Course has hosted three U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship. Due to it’s breadth of great courses, DC area golf courses can help you take your mind off politics and allow you to enjoy a great round of golf.
For those who want play the best courses and stay close to town, the University of Maryland Golf Course is the best 18-hole public course inside the Beltway in Maryland or Virginia. Otherwise, DC area golf courses has an affordable public muni facility, the 27-hole East Potomac Golf Course, which dates back to 1920 and is close to Reagan Airport. If you’re chasing down places to play in the nearby suburbs, plan on spending a little extra time on the road; D.C.’s traffic snarls are legendary. Closer to the Beltway are stellar tracks such as the Westfields Golf Club, Lake Presidential Golf Club (pictured above), Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, and Renditions Golf Course. Plus you have perhaps the best of the bunch, the Stonewall Golf Club, which skirts Lake Manassas, replicating the feel of neighboring Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, a private club that has hosted several Presidents Cups. Holes 6-8 give Renditions its three-hole version of Amen Corner — a par-4, par-3, par-5 sequence similar to holes 11-13 at Augusta National Golf Club, site of The Masters.
One of the most impressive golf complexes in the area is a military facility; Andrews Air Force Base features 54 holes of golf within a convenient drive of the district, and is usually open to civilian play.
For those who want to escape the whole scene, the 36-hole Golf Club of Lansdowne in Leesburg, Va., is the only resort course within an hour of downtown. The Lansdowne Golf Resort and Spa, owned by LaSalle Hotels and managed by Destination Hotels, sprawls across 476 acres along the banks of the Potomac River. This four-diamond resort cultivates an atmosphere that’s connected to nature, offering plenty of hiking and biking trails, fishing, tennis, golf and an aquatic center with four pools, a waterslide and a splash fountain. Golfers can play the only Greg Norman design in the Mid-Atlantic, a more resort-friendly Robert Trent Jones Jr. course or the nine-holes of the “Sharkbite.”
West of D.C. are a foursome of high-end public courses: the Whiskey Creek Golf Club, Bull Run Golf Club, Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club and the Maryland National Golf Club. Whiskey Creek is a Nicklaus gem. Blue Shadows in Front Royal, Va., provides “four-star golf at two-star prices,” with a fun Tom Clark design and stay-and-plays at the adjacent Holiday Inn & Suites. Turning east you’ll find the water views of Swan Point Yacht & Country Club and Queenstown Harbor. You may not have the secret service clearing the course for you like the President, but you’ll still have a good time playing at a number of DC area golf courses.