Are time and money keeping you from teeing it up as much as you would like? They shouldn't.
The Washington area features several nine-hole courses to choose from, many of which cost about a dollar a hole. Most of the courses listed below are excellent for beginners or for anyone wanting to concentrate on their short game. Two of the layouts -- Hilltop and Broad Run -- will challenge even the very good player.
All courses listed here are shown on the map 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 composed entirely of par 3s.
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-hole layout. 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; http://www.montgomerycountygolf.com) features an excellent executive nine, with two challenging par 4s, one water carry and a few interesting big greens. Good for all skill levels; fast play, aside from weekend days.
Northwest Park Golf Course (15711 Layhill Rd., Silver Spring, 20906; 301-598-6100, http://www.montgomerycountygolf.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.
Severna Park Golf Center (1257 Ritchie Hwy., Arnold, 21012; 410-647-8618, http://www.severnaparkgolf.com) is a par-3 course that has lights for night play and usually is open until 11 p.m. Fairways are wide, but the greens are small and fast. Easy to walk. Driving range is covered and heated during winter months.
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 par 5s. No range.
Virginia Golf Center & Academy (5801 Clifford Rd., Clifton, 20124; 703-830-2400, http://www.thegolfcourses.net/golfcourses/VA/36425.htm) is a par-3 course 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 Academy (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.