Nine-Holers: Fitting Half a Round into a Full Life

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Friday, May 5, 2006

Don't have time for 18 holes very often? Neither do we.

Happily, the Washington area offers a number of courses with only nine holes, making them good for beginners, families or those who don't have the time, money or desire for a full round. All are walkable; many are first-come, first-served. Many cost around a buck a hole when played on foot. Better still, two of them -- Hilltop and Broad Run, in list below -- are as well designed as many 18-holers, and will challenge even very good players.

All courses listed here are shown on the map appearing on pages H4 and H5.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

East Potomac Park (972 Ohio Dr. SW 20024; 202-554-7660, http://www.golfdc.com ) offers two nines: an executive course featuring par-4s and par-3s, and a short course made entirely of par-3s.

MARYLAND

Gunpowder Golf Club (14300 Old Gunpowder Rd., Laurel 20707; 301-725-4532, http://www.gunpowdergolf.com ) has a nine-hole chip-and-putt course in addition to its 18. Holes range from 40 to 80 yards and can be negotiated in less than an hour. Under 15 or over 64 play free; others, $5.

Needwood Golf Course (6724 Needwood Rd., Rockville 20855; 301-948-1075; www.mncppc.org/golf ) features an excellent executive nine, with two challenging par-4s, one water carry and a few big, interesting greens. Good for all skill levels; fast play, aside from weekend days.

Northwest Park (15711 Layhill Rd., Silver Spring 20906; 301-598-6100; http://www.northwestparkgolf.com ) has an "inside nine" that mixes par-3s and par-4s.

Sligo Creek Golf Course (9701 Sligo Creek Pkwy., Silver Spring 20901; 301-585-6006, http://www.montgomerycountygolf.com ) is a popular nine-holer located inside the Beltway. Par 34 with hilly terrain. No practice range; putting and chipping greens.

Henson Creek Golf Course (1641 Tucker Rd., Fort Washington 20744; 301-567-4646, http://www.pgparks.com/places/sportsfac/golf.html ) is a bit longer than the typical nine-hole track, and set amid rolling hills. The layout features three par-3s (one of them about 175 yards) and six par-4s. Hitting cages, practice range.

Paint Branch Golf Course (4690 University Blvd., College Park 20740; 301-935-0330, http://www.pgparks.com/places/sportsfac/golf.html ) is a short, flat par-31 course; water comes into play on six holes. Mini golf, 36-station practice range, some stalls heated. Golf simulator, practice greens.

VIRGINIA

Hilltop Golf Club (7900 Telegraph Rd., Alexandria 22315; 703-719-6504, http://www.hilltopgolfclub.com ) is a 2,300-yard, par 31, nearly treeless nine-holer, beautifully designed in the Scottish style on top of a reclaimed landfill. Challenging course with great views. Excellent lighted driving range with 68 stalls (20 covered) and good short-game facilities, including bunker.

Jefferson District Golf Course (7900 Lee Hwy., Falls Church, 22042; 703-573-0444, http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/golf/jefferson ) offers a flat, easy-to-walk nine-holer that includes one par-5 and six par-4s. Two practice greens, mini golf.

Oak Marr Golf Course (3200 Jermantown Rd., Oakton, 22124; 703-255-5390, http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/golf/oakmarr ) puts a pleasant, woodsy par-3 course alongside a 76-tee practice range (some heated and covered) and a large, lighted short-game practice area.

Pinecrest Golf Course (6600 Little River Tpk., Alexandria 22312; 703-941-1061, http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/golf/pinecrest ), a popular inside-the-Beltway par-35, includes a couple of par-5s. No range.

Virginia Golf Center & Academy (5801 Clifton Rd., Clifton 20124; 703-830-2400) is a par-3 that features several water carries and one 200-plus-yard hole. More than 130 practice stations, half covered and heated. Pitching green with bunkers, two putting greens.

Broad Run Golf & Practice Facility (10201 Golf Academy Dr., Bristow 20136; 703-365-2443, http://www.broadrungolf.com ), designed by architect Rick Jacobson of Augustine and Bull Run fame, is a challenging, full-length nine-holer worth seeking out. Facilities include 80 lighted practice tees (some covered and heated, some grass), a two-acre short-game area with bunkers and 10,000-square-foot putting green.

Lake Ridge Golf Course (12350 Cotton Mill Dr., Woodbridge 22192; 703-494-5564, http://www.pwcparks.org/lrpark ) is a good beginner and family par-3 course with wide greens and many bunkers. Facilities include driving cages, putting and chipping greens, mini golf.


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