We've all got our favorite holes -- the place to reverse a bad round, or spark the rally to help post a best-ever score. But what's at the other end of the spectrum? Which public course hole is the DC area's surest rally-stopper? That's what Capital Golf Weekly, NewsChannel 8's local golf program, wanted to know. So we asked our viewers to tell us.
They nominated more than a hundred holes. We gathered a foursome of pros and talented amateurs to take on the top ten vote getters. We played each hole twice, and the total scores in relation to par ranked their difficulty.
The clear winner surprised everybody, except the regulars at Glenn Dale Golf Club in Prince George's County. They told us Glenn Dale's par-4, 441-yard No. 3 had been producing big numbers on scorecards since George Cobb designed the layout nearly a half-century ago.
We played No. 3 from the very tips, and that meant a climb up Prospect Hill, the highest point on the course. But even from this elevation, you can't see all the problems that lie ahead.
The hole is a fairly wide-open dogleg left that features a pond guarding the broad but shallow green. The drive is key: Keep it in the fairway. Rough and trees lurk right and left. If your tee shot is long and down the left side of the fairway, you have an easier approach over the pond. Favor the right side of the short grass, and you'll need more club into the sloped green. If you're a shorter hitter or miss the fairway, don't even think of going for the green: Either lay up and hit your third shot over the pond, or risk writing an eight on your scorecard. It's a killer from the blue tees, but it's no picnic from the whites or reds, which put a couple of big greenside bunkers in play.
Our foursome played Glenn Dale's No. 3 at 10 over par. Ugly as it was, we agreed the hole was a stern but fair test. I believe that's true of the whole course. It's challenging enough to have been chosen a U.S. Open qualifier in 1994. And yes, the designer is the same George Cobb who served as resident designer at Augusta National (and, of local note, as designer of the University of Maryland's well-regarded College Park course).
The runner up? The diabolical No. 16 at General's Ridge in Manassas Park. You might call it borderline unfair. After watching the carnage there, LPGA pro Paige Veliz-Gilbert said the best way to play 16 is stand on the tee, write a 6 on your score card, and walk directly to the tee of 17.
To cast your vote in the 2005 Toughest 10 competition, go to www.news8.net, click on "Toyota Capital Golf Weekly" and report on the public or daily fee course hole you love to hate.
Let the double bogies begin.
Lucas is morning anchor for NewsChannel 8 as well as host of Capital Golf Weekly.