Airports in Washington D.C. area offer many nearby golf courses

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

Chances are, if you're flying into Washington D.C., our nation's capital, you're either passing through as a normal citizen on your way to somewhere else or you're there to lobby for the pharmaceutical industry.

TPC at Avenel
At TPC at Avenel, watch out for the 12th hole.
TPC at AvenelBull Run Country ClubTPC at Avenel
If you go

In any case, if you have enough of a layover, there are some nice golf options, from either of the two main area airports.

Dulles Airport, in Dulles, Va., has a dedicated access highway connecting to the Capital Beltway and I-66, only 26 miles from downtown D.C. Ronald Reagan National, in Arlington County, Va., is only four miles from downtown. Either way, here are some nearby golf courses to consider.

First class

The Congressional Country Club was founded in the 1920s by Washington D.C.'s political elite, though it has evolved into a more traditional, private club membership. The Blue course has hosted two U.S. Opens, a PGA Championship and was the site of the Kemper Open, which has since moved down the road to the TPC Avenel.

Robert Trent Jones and Tom Fazio and George Fazio have all been involved in design work at the two courses at one time or another. The Blue course is currently ranked 89th in Golf Digest's top 100.

The TPC at Avenel is the fifth club in the TPC network, a private, stadium golf facility, a touch more than 7,000 yards, in the rolling countryside of Potomac, Md. In 1992, the 472-yard 12th hole was ranked as the most difficult hole on the PGA Tour when the Chrysler Cup, now the Booz Allen Classic, was played there.

Business class

Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club is an upscale, daily fee facility in the heart of Virginia's horse country. Rambling streams, stone walls, indigenous rock outcroppings, stacked-sod bunkers make the layout reminiscent of Scottish courses, with even some heather thrown in.

It's a Gary Player design with green fees in the $75 range. It plays at 7,191 yards from the back tees with a slope rating of 134.

Bull Run Country Club is a public course designed by Rick Jacobson, in the foothills of Bull Run Mountain in Haymarket Va., close to Civil War historic sites.

Golf Magazine named it the best new course of 1999 in the area, and one newspaper called it the best public course in the D.C. area. The terrain wanders through acres of undeveloped meadows, ponds and woodlands.

Westfields Golf Club in Clifton, Va. is a Fred Couples work in the rolling hills of northern Virginia, complete with a variety of water hazards, elevation changes, beech and oak trees and no houses.

It sports a 136 slope rating from the "Boom Boom" tees and green fees are from $59-104.

Flying coach

• The East Potomac Park Golf Course has three courses, named the Red, White and Blue. The Blue course is the only 18-holer, playing at 6,599 yards. The courses are tree-lined with some hills and water hazards, built in 1924 and short at 5,722 yards.

The facility has a driving range with two decks, 100 stalls and heating and lighting. Green fees are from $9-27.

The Washington Golf and Country Club is a Donald Ross design with $40 green fees. Guests must be accompanied by a member.

• The Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington is a private, 27-hole facility designed by Mayor Richard Newman. It's 6,473 yards with green fees in the $40 range.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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