4 things I loved about playing Falls Road Golf Course in Potomac, MD
Welcome to our “Where I Played” series, where a GOLF staffer runs through a recent day at a course you might play in your future. On this occasion, we’re teeing it up at Falls Road Golf Club in Potomac, Maryland.
From private and exclusive clubs to more inclusive public options, the Washington D.C. area is littered with golf.
During a recent trip near our nation’s capital, I didn’t just play golf, I spent about 90 percent of my time on a golf course. I suppose that’s the life of someone working in the golf industry, but still, it’s wild to think that if I wasn’t sleeping or making occasional trips to Smoothie King (#notsponsored), I was soaking up the links.
And for those who either live in or plan to visit the D.C. area soon, there’s a public course this member of the golf industry highly recommends: Falls Road Golf Course in Potomac, Maryland.
Now, if you know me, you know I like to tout myself as the “common man” type. As a 13-handicap, I’m good enough to shoot in the mid-80s but still have those days when everything seems to go wrong and I’m over 90. Fair warning: You don’t want to be in the car ride home with me after those rounds.
Need further proof? Take a look below at a recent Instagram post, where I detailed a hole I played at Falls Road Golf Course just a couple of days ago.
Looks familiar, right?
Land a perfect drive in the middle of the fairway, duff the approach shot, have a decent chip onto the green, and then two-putt for bogey instead of carding a possible par (or birdie!). It’s usually so frustrating.
But here’s the thing I loved about Falls Road — it’s forgiving, and it actually allowed me to test myself without ruining my round. How is that possible, you might ask? Keep reading to see the four things I loved most about playing the course for the first time.
4 things I loved most about playing at Falls Road Golf Course for the first time
Prior to my D.C. trip, I had the privilege of playing two outstanding courses, both with yardages over 6,800 yards from the traditional middle tees. One near Seattle (hint: It hosted a U.S. Open), and the other a higher-end golf club in Maryland. Both were phenomenal, but both overwhelmed a player of my caliber. Not only did I feel the need to be perfect with every shot, but, because of that, I was in my own head before I even teed it up.
At Falls Road, the opposite happened, with a total distance of 6,162 yards from the Black tees.
Don’t get me wrong, I needed to be precise with my drives, but Falls Road was a nice break from the anxiety-induced rounds I previously had. With wider fairways and landing spots built for golfers of all skill levels, the course was equal parts fair and firm. It welcomed very good shots, but, even on mishits, still allowed for a reasonable recovery shot.
At some courses, it can feel like a slog just to complete nine holes. But at Falls Road, I played nine holes in roughly 90 minutes — and that’s with a threesome playing ahead of me. With all the recent debate about pace-of-play in golf, the fact that I was able to squeeze in nine holes after a day of work was a welcome development. And it could’ve been even more than nine holes if I’d spent my time with my phone in my pocket. (Hey — nobody’s perfect!)
Sure, I sprayed some shots left, some right, and some chunked 30 yards in front of me. But I still had time to take a deep breath, compose myself, and go through a pre-shot routine without worrying about a group behind hitting into me. That helps.
How does the course look, you ask? In a word: immaculate. That’s high praise, but, full transparency, I’ve seen some private golf clubs that have lacked the quality of Falls Road Golf Course. As someone who worked on a grounds crew at a highly-rated golf course in both high school and college, I always keep an extra eye out on the details. At Falls Road, you can just tell that the groundskeeper and maintenance crew take pride in keeping the course in exceptional condition.
Many public courses struggle with conditioning, but not here. Falls Road was well-equipped to challenge the inaccurate drive with its thick rough, which ate up golf balls if you didn’t keep a sharp eye on your shot. The greens were lush, firm and quick — and they had those beautiful diagonal mowing lines you see on postcards. Finally, the bunkers had soft sand and were nicely raked by players who had previously hit into them — which isn’t something you always see at public courses.
Price and service
On an 80-degree Monday afternoon when everyone wanted to swing a golf club, I called Falls Road at 4:37 p.m. and was able to tee off at 6:28 p.m. That’s remarkable. From the help I got booking my round with Ryan to the friendly conversations I had with the two starters (Chris and Alan), I felt welcomed from the second I arrived on property. Oh, and the cost to play this beautifully maintained, forgiving course with a cart? A cool $26. No, that’s not a mistype!
Sure, many public golf courses are accommodating. But between my interactions with staff to my 10-minute conversation with a regular named Don on the last hole, Falls Road made an out-of-towner feel right at home.
If you’re in the D.C. area and are looking to test yourself without feeling overwhelmed, make your way to Falls Road Golf Course. As you can see, you won’t regret your decision — I sure didn’t!