Get Out & About, The District, The Features

The Insider’s Guide: Golfing in the City

With summer heat comes the heart of golf season. The AT&T National is this weekend in Bethesda, and August’s PGA Championships round out this year’s crop of majors.

I prefer other sports (and can’t sit through a minute of golf on TV), but on a hot summer day, far away from a river, ocean, or pool, the mood to compete at something that doesn’t involve running occasionally does strike. It did this past Sunday, when I visited the driving range at DC’s East Potomac Golf Course.

DC has three public golf courses, unbeknownst to many, and there’s a good chance that you’ve passed at least one of them without realizing it. The East Potomac Golf Course sits on Thomas Jefferson’s marble doorstep within spitting distance of the Mall. The Rock Creek Golf Course is at 16th Street and Military, in the bloated belly-section of DC’s largest parks system. And the Langston Golf Course has called Benning Road home, just past where H Street ends, since 1939.

All three locations have 18-hole courses, a pro-shop, carts and clubs for rent, and extremely reasonable greens fees. The East Potomac and Langston courses also sport driving ranges and full-service restaurants. My favorite thing about any of them, however, is the White Course at East Potomac. It’s an easy and fun 9-hole course with no holes longer than a par-4, making it perfect for a quick jaunt with friends, an outing with the family, or a practice session for beginners like myself.

It may not be a world-class stretch of links, but for $13/person on weekdays and $16/person on weekends, it’s an absolute steal. Weekday greens fees at Congressional – where the AT&T National is hosted – sit somewhere around $165.

Note: The official DC website for these courses is awful (, but it does let you reserve tee times online, and provides some additional information for those brave enough to explore.

Get Out & About, The Great Outdoors, Travel

The Insider’s Guide: Bear. Church. Rock?

When I’m hit with an urge to get outdoors, you might find me cruising down Route 29 towards Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah is the most extensive wilderness space easily accessible to DC, and encircles almost 200,000 untouched acres of Northern Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

The places that I visit most often in the park are Old Rag Mountain, a challenging day hike with rock scrambling sections and breathtaking summit views, and Skyline Drive, a 105-mile undulating, ridge-hugging highway that’s best to drive in the spring or fall when tree colors are changing. I’m sure I’ll be returning to both spots soon, but on an early spring day I convinced a couple of friends to try a destination we’d never been to before.

We got a late start on the day (as we usually do), and overshot our intended noon departure time by almost an hour, sailing down Constitution Ave heading west out of the city. As anyone familiar with I-66 might expect though, we quickly found ourselves in traffic. How that road has backups on it seven days a week I’ll never understand, but it did eventually ease up and we decided that with the sun staying out well past 7:00, we’d still have time to complete the four hour hike as planned.
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