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

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.


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


Gunpowder Golf Club (14300 Old Gunpowder Rd., Laurel 20707; 301-725-4532, ) 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; ) 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; ) 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, ) 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, ) 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, ) 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.


Hilltop Golf Club (7900 Telegraph Rd., Alexandria 22315; 703-719-6504, ) 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, ) 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, ) 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, ), 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, ), 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, ) 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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