Looking for Golf Heaven
If you could play anywhere, where would it be? Here are the courses that six interesting Washingtonians say are their favorites.
Lots of Washington celebrities play golf, sometimes on courses we can only dream about. They also enjoy local courses that anyone can play. Here are their favorites, both near and far, plus some of their best golf moments.
Lost Weight and Strokes
Who he is: head instructor in L’Academie de Cuisine’s culinary-arts program
Golf lesson: “I lost 50 pounds and have been exercising. Now that I’m in shape, I’m striking the ball much better. Even though I’m very busy, I sneak out between lunch and dinner and practice at Hains Point.”
Favorite local public course: Raspberry Falls in Leesburg. “I like the design, which uses the natural terrain rather than inventing gimmicky features. Being French, I can say this: It’s like the natural beauty of a woman, as opposed to one who has had four plastic surgeries. It’s a challenging yet playable course for every level of golfer.”
Favorite round of all time: Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Valley, New Jersey. “I shot 72, a really good score for that course. It’s not that long but challenging. You’re rewarded by good shots and pay for bad ones. On number ten, a par 3, I hit the flag and the ball landed three or four inches from the hole. I tapped in for a birdie.”
Robert L. Ehrlich
A Family Affair
Who he is: former governor of Maryland; partner at Womble Carlyle
Golf lesson: “I started playing on public courses as a teenager. We used to wake up early and try to beat the greenskeeper so we wouldn’t have to pay. Golf is great for kids. I started my boys at age two on the driving range. My wife, Kendel, or I take our eight-year-old to a mini par-3 course, Severna Park on Richie Highway. In our house I’m Tiger and she’s Phil. Other than that we have no marital issues.”
Favorite local public course: Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, Maryland. “It’s the neatest public course and is ranked as one of the best courses in the country.”
Favorite round of all time: Playing a pro-am with Bruce Fleischer at Hayfields Country Club in Hunt Valley, Maryland. “We met at one such event and became good friends. His is a great story. He knocked around for 30 years on tour, becomes a member of the Senior PGA Championship, and goes wild.”
Golf With a President
Who he is: CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America
Golf advice: “I once saw a golfer push his caddy into the creek after a bad shot. My advice: Take it easy. Golf is to be enjoyed, not make you nuts.”
Favorite local public course: P.B. Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville, Maryland. “They test you without requiring you to be a super pro.”
Favorite round of all time: Twelve years ago, a day of golf with President Clinton and Vernon Jordan at Andrews Air Force Base. “I began the round with a par and then holed out on a par-4 for an eagle. The Secret Service screamed—I thought missiles were coming in. I followed it up by sinking a 30-foot putt for a birdie. I love Clinton, but I don’t think he was terribly pleased. He’s very competitive. I wrote him a note after. His response: ‘Dan, any time you can make an eagle and follow it with a 30-foot putt, do it and the hell with the President. I get a lot of kicks out of being able to hit again after four years of trying. Maybe the score will follow in time (sort of like my day job).’ ”
Who she is: reporter for the 9 News Now at 9 on Channel 9
Golf advice: “I am a lesson addict. A one-day Dave Pelz short-game school at Waverly Woods Golf Club on the outskirts of Baltimore really helped me. I focused on putting, chipping, and my lob wedges. They have a little board to practice putting that I use at home. Between the school and the board, I dropped four strokes.”
Favorite local public course: Queenstown Harbor in Queenstown, Maryland. “Each of the nines has a different feel—one is in the deep woods, one along the water, and one is a more open combo. You feel as though you are playing different courses.”
Favorite round of all time: Mystic Dunes Golf Club in Orlando. “I was recently there with my father, who has Alzheimer’s but can still hit the ball 200 yards. I shot 79 and had a hole in one. The best part was that my father got to see it.”
Still Terrible After All These Years
Who he is: Washington Post columnist and TV sports personality
What drives his game: “As a golfer I’m a complete clown. Considering how long I’ve played, I’m terrible, but I love it anyway. I keep playing because there is always a possibility that the next time I swing the club I’ll hit something good. Plus, I’ve gotten to play with some famous people. I played with Darius Rucker and Dean Felber of Hootie & the Blowfish and country-western singer Vince Gill.”
Favorite local public course: Whiskey Creek in Ijamsville, Maryland. “The course’s ninth and 18th holes are downhill, and it’s great to get the ball up into the wind and see how far it will carry. Everyone feels like Superman on these two holes.”
Favorite round of all time: Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York. “I birdied a par-5. I thought about quitting right then, and I should have because I finished with a 98.”
Man on a Mission
Who he is: sports anchor at Channel 7 and a commentator with ABC Sports
What drives his game: “I’m on a quest to play the top 100 courses in the world. I’ve played 31 out of the top 100, including Augusta National, Pebble Beach, Ballybunion, Baltusrol, Winged Foot, and Pinehurst No. 2.”
Favorite local public courses: Stonewall in Gainesville, Virginia: “It’s a beautiful course, challenging but not too difficult.” And the Links at Lighthouse Sound in Bishopville, Maryland: “It’s one of the most challenging layouts in the area, but the views are phenomenal.”
Favorite round of all time: Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. “I birdied hole number one, and it set the stage for the entire day. I shot a 79. The most pleasant thing was my caddy. He knew the course inside and out and helped me tremendously.”
Seven Favorite Local Courses
Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, Md.; 410-939-8887; bullerockgolf.com.
Links at Lighthouse Sound, Bishopville (four miles from Ocean City), Md.; 888-554-4557; lighthousesound.com.
P.B. Dye Golf Club, Ijamsville, Md.; 301-607-4653; pbdyegolf.com.
Queenstown Harbor, Queenstown, Md.; 800-827-5257; mdgolf.com.
Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club, Leesburg; 703-779-2555; raspberryfalls.com.
Stonewall Golf Club, Gainesville; 703-753-5101; stonewallgolfclub.com.
Whiskey Creek Golf Club, Ijamsville, Md.; 301-694-2900; whiskeycreekgolf.com.