The final round of our holiday weekend was at Lake Presidential! If you hadn’t seen the last couple posts my friend and I were trying to do a golf trifecta and play in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland all over the holiday weekend. The weather wasn’t great today, but it was good enough to let us complete our quest!
We were looking to play a nicer course for our afternoon round and picked Lake Presidential because it is well liked by the golf mazagines and conveniently located to where we were! The course even seems to squeak into the top 5 public courses in Maryland each year so I was anxious to try it out.
Lake Presidential is a newer course, opening in 2008. The course is located just outside the 495 beltway and is easy to get to from two of the three major airports that serve the D.C. area. Well, as easy as things go with all that traffic!
As you might guess, Lake Presidential is a modern design. By that I mean it has a sprawling layout and the visual appeal that so many designers seem to aim for these days with a plethora of bunkers. The best thing that the course has going for it in terms of design are the three holes that play around a large lake and six holes on the back nine that play through the woods. There is some nice elevation change and a mix of challenges too. To the surprise of no one, the lake is named “Lake Presidential”! The rest of the course works its way through an upscale community. The wooded holes offer a nice glimpse of Mid-Atlantic scenery while the holes with homes around them aren’t anything special.
The course takes a while to get going with the setting. The first seven holes, even though they required interesting golf shots, seemed bland to me with homes all around. Don’t get me wrong, they were fair and a good test with multiple, long par 4’s but it seemed like something was missing. However, starting with the 8th hole the course gets some personality!
The 8th hole, a 550 yard par 5 from where I played, is the signature hole at Lake Presidential. It plays alongside the lake until you get to the green which sits on a little peninsula in the lake! You need to hug the tree-lined left side because the fairway is narrow and everything slopes towards the water. I fanned my layup into the water and hit a good recovery shot just to get it short of the green! The green is guarded by a deep bunker on the right.
The 9th hole, a 200 yard par 3, caps off the great ending to the front nine! The tees were up some 50 yards when I played so it was only a short iron which took away the scare and allowed me to enjoy the scenery. It is all carry to the narrow green and the lake will catch misses short and right!
The person we paired up with had played here before and commented that the course starts to get better on the back nine. There’s no question about that! Except for a couple forced carries, I loved the back nine! It is in a more natural setting which is the major reason I liked it more. Unfortunately from a golfer’s perspective, it appears homes are being built which will eventually make the back nine more like the front.
The back nine is shorter than the front and does many things well when it comes to the design of the holes. The yardages are mixed with short and long par 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s and there are some unique features. The 11th features a “volcano” green for lack of a better word! The green is built on a mound and slopes off on all sides to collection areas. I hit my approach right at the flag but came up short and it rolled back down the hill. I could just see the top of the flag from 10 yards away! From there I decided to bump and run something into the upslope, but could have hit the high lob.
The 13th is my favorite hole on the back nine! It is the longest par 5 on the course and has a great look from an elevated tee with trees flanking the edges of the rough. It is straightaway to the green without any tricks and you can play your normal shot shape. Just don’t try the snap hook driver!
I’d classify the conditions at Lake Presidential as “good”. I don’t think our twilight rate of $65 was out of line given the course’s location, but besides the nice greens everything else was average. I’ll have to cut the course some slack though as I’ve read that it was nearly lost last year, I’m assuming due to the heat. There is evidence of this with re-sodded areas and fairways and tees cut on the furry side. It was cart path only when we played due to recent rains and I’m surprised that the course was a squishy as it was because of all the slopes in it. If you catch it on a cart path only day be careful walking down to the ball as there are steep hills that you’ll have to navigate! There weren’t many groups out and it still took us 4 hours and 40 minutes to get around.
I played from the Black tees which are 72.1/137/6835 and found Lake Presidential to be fair test with some great driving holes. I think there is some hype to the course though and personally wouldn’t consider it a “must play”. But, I also wouldn’t say that there are too many public courses in the D.C. area that are must plays, at least from what I’ve played. If some of the homes on the front nine weren’t there and if the course was in better shape then I would have enjoyed the experience more.
#1 (420 yard par 4):
#2 (390 yard par 4):
#3 (515 yard par 5):
#4 (145 yard par 3):
#5 (430 yard par 4):
#6 (410 yard par 4):
#7 (435 yard par 4):
#8 (550 yard par 5):
#9 (200 yard par 3):
#10 (395 yard par 4):
#11 (370 yard par 4):
#12 (155 yard par 3):
#13 (565 yard par 5):
#14 (415 yard par 4):
#15 (420 yard par 4):
#16 (190 yard par 3):
#17 (335 yard par 4):
#18 (495 yard par 5):