“We tell players on the scorecard that if they have a handicap of 18 or more, they should play from the whites (third from the back tees). You need a single digit handicap to play from the tips.”
A good example of the challenges for those playing from the tips is the 3rd, a par 4 (390 yards from the back tees) that can require a drive of 260 yards with a carry over wild plants and a stream to get into the fairway. Once you're on the fairway, you face a sharp dogleg left.
The 4th hole (537 yards from the back tees) has recently undergone some major improvements.
“When they opened the course nine years ago, it was a par 5, but a lot of people complained about the difficult, and they made it a par 3. Now it's back to being a par 5 which put us back as a par 72 course, instead of a par 70.”
It's now a big downhill hole with an elevation change from tee to green of about 187 feet. Traveling downward shortens the distance a bit, but players have to aim at a narrow fairway with a tee shot of 180 to 200 yards.
“Longer hitters can reach in two, you can get into trouble off the tee because of the brush to the right and the left. The green is long and narrow, and your ball won't stop rolling. If you run off, it can be tough to chip up. But if you play this hole smart, you can make birdie.”
Other exciting holes include No. 8 (a 424 yard par 4) where players face a fairway that slopes to the left. “Stay on the right side, and watch out for the elevated green.”
No. 12, a 362 yard par 4, is a toughie that requires an exact tee shot. “You need to hit the ball exactly 190 yards from the back, the fairway is narrow with a stream on both sides and it's a dogleg left to the green where the front, sides and back have water. If you're right, left or long, you're in the water.”
The 15th, a par 5 measuring 490 yards from the back, requires a drive across water off the tee. You also cross water in traveling from the first to the second fairways on this hole.
Then get ready for the par-4 16th recently named the toughest hole in the Washington, D.C., area by Lexus Channel 8 TV News and Capital Golf Weekly.
“143 holes were submitted and the 16th was chosen first, our hole No. 4 also took 7th place.”
The 16th (404 yards from the back tees) requires a tee shot to a not-too-generous fairway. “Getting from the fairway to the green is challenging, because your second shot goes over a big ravine that makes you feel as if you're hitting off a cliff." "If you hit into the ravine, you have to go down there to hit your ball.”
The approach shot is also aimed at a big green that has a lot of undulation. “If you don't three-putt, you really feel good about yourself”.
The finishing hole, a 352 yard par 4, “a real mellow dogleg right.” Hit your tee shot 215 yards over a bunker or just to the left of it. The second shot is uphill and plays a bit long.
Click on the images to download full size version
Jerry Slack, Mid 1990s