Want a unique, virtually free, profoundly humbling golf experience? Try the back nine at Rock Creek Golf Club. Rock Creek is one of two remaining public golf courses in the city, not as well known as East Potomac Park perhaps, but unforgettable once you've scrambled up the precipitous slopes in the shadow of towering trees, dodged deer and leaped deep ravines in a single bound. And that's in the fairway.
The front nine is so wide open it's boring. The backside seems to have been designed by a mountain goat. Not a flat lie in the place, but one spectacular vista after another, not to mention almost comically devious golfing challenges. On weekdays, they give it away for $9; $12.25 on weekends. Hint: There's often a freelance gentleman selling bags of a dozen balls for about $5. It's a good deal, and you're going to need the balls. Call 202-882-7332 for information.
--Jim Heltman, Washington
For a while, it looked like the radio in my car was going to kill me. Hitting the preset buttons every 20 seconds in a fruitless attempt to escape the latest overplayed hit on D.C.'s "modern rock" stations was, sooner or later, going to cause me to slam into a bridge abutment. Then I discovered WRNR (103.1 FM), WPFW (89.3 FM) and the "Capitol Radio" show on WJFK (106.7 FM), and it's no coincidence that my insurance premiums have gone down.
WRNR is something of a living fossil--a free-form station of the kind that has been hunted to near-extinction across the United States. Founded by refugees from WHFS (99.1 FM), the leading modern-rock offender, RNR plays, well, whatever it wants: Reggae follows Roxy Music follows the roots rock of Los Lobos. You really can't know what to expect next, which is why I keep listening. RNR also plays those artists that critics love but radio stations, maddeningly enough, never play--Richard Thompson and the Velvet Underground, for instance. Sadly, though, this Annapolis-based station is almost impossible to hear south of the Beltway (my apartment, happily, sits high enough on a hill to pull in its faint signal) but it's kept me company on many a drive to Philly and points north. It's also invaluable to tune in during those long, traffic-strangled crawls out to the beach. (It is Internet-accessible--RNR's at www.wrnr.com, but be warned that its server isn't the strongest, and it can wind up sounding more like AM.)
WPFW, fortunately, comes in just fine anywhere around the District. It's about one-third leftist talk--a fine antidote to the usual blather on TV--and two-thirds jazz, blues (check out "The Bama Hour" early Saturday afternoons), salsa (from 9 to 10 on weeknights) and more. Nothing makes a lazy Saturday afternoon like cruising through your neighborhood real slow with Barry White crooning away.
When Saturday night comes, though, flip over to WJFK, a station better known for putting G. Gordon Liddy's demented rantings on the air. Perhaps in an effort to atone for that, the station airs "Capitol Radio," a 10 p.m.-to-1 a.m. tour of the punk underworld. The hosts sound unprofessional as hell, play music unheard of on other stations (just try finding the Pietasters or Sleater-Kinney elsewhere) and ramble on with random stories between songs and abusive responses to phone calls from drunks. All good fun.
--Rob Pegoraro, Arlington
CAPTION: The place to swing: The back nine at Rock Creek Golf Club.
CAPTION: WRNR deejay Damian Einstein.