I tossed and turned on Saturday night as I didn’t sleep very well. I guess I’m one of those people you read about fiddling with my phone around 5am! The radar showed that some moderate rain was moving through the area which was surprising because Saturday was such a nice night for the game! I finally got a little sleep and we were up early for our 8am tee time.
The rain was starting to clear out on our drive over to Langston Golf Course, which was the site for our morning. I know what you are thinking, how did we end up golfing here?!? Well, I was in charge of the tee times and thought that it would be fun to golf in Virginia, Maryland, and the District while we were in Washington on the Fourth of July weekend! This would be our DC stop and since there are only three courses within the District, our choices were limited! I played East Potomac Park last fall and the other course, Rock Creek is on the other side of town. That left Langston! My friend isn’t picky about courses and will join me just about anywhere, so I can pick whatever course I want! Oh, and if you are curious, the course is named after John Mercer Langston who was the first African American elected to office.
After a couple wrong turns, which could be problematic in Washington, we got to the course a bit early for our tee time. Because of the rain, it was quiet out and we headed straight to the first tee. It was a comfortable temperature too! There was a group behind us and we played through a group on the 16th, but other than that I think the rain scared everyone away! I expected it to be packed on a holiday weekend, but we played in less than four hours in no rush at all.
We decided to walk which turned out to be a bigger task than I thought! I’d still do it again as the exercise did me some good, but I got more than I bargained for! I was pooped while playing the last few holes! I looked at the course on the satellite before the round and most of the holes looked to run parallel to each other. I knew that the area wasn’t going to be too hilly so I never considered riding. If you are borderline on this decision you might consider the cart because the back nine is much more spread out!
The front nine is shorter and features parkland style holes in an urban setting. On the front nine, a creek cuts across two holes and three holes have a little elevation change. The holes are spaced far enough away from each other so that you really have to hit a foul ball to get it to another fairway. The trees that separate the fairways can snag a wayward shot before it gets to another fairway too. A nearby high school and some older condos can be seen from most of these holes, but shouldn’t come into play except on the 9th hole. You’ll also have a few glimpses of Robert F. Kennedy stadium, which is where the D.C. United currently play. The stadium isn’t anything to get excited about and I was amazed at how run down it looks! My friend has been to games there and says it is just as bad on the inside. That’s a stark comparison to Nationals Park where we watched a baseball game the night before! I’d highly encourage you to check out Nationals Park as I enjoyed myself.
I think the 3rd is the most interesting hole on the front nine to play! It is the #1 handicap for good reason! It only maxes out at 508 yards, but it play longer as the last half is uphill. The fairway angles to the right for the drive and then back to the left, around trees and across a creek, before getting to the green. It is a great driving hole in my opinion because you can find a lot of drives, but it could make for some decisions! I sliced my drive and had very little chance of clearing the creek with my second because of overhanging trees. I decided just hit a pitching wedge to a narrow section of fairway about 160 yards out. From there I tried to hook a mid iron around the trees! Be careful not to attempt the hero shot on this hole!
The back nine is really where Langston starts to shine! It is longer than the front nine and is on a much more interesting piece of land! Some of the back nine sprawls its way across Kingman Island which sits in the middle of Kingman Lake and the Anacostia River, which feeds into the nearby Potomac. The other holes on the back nine play alongside Kingman Lake. Except on the 10th and the 13th, the views aren’t great and the water won’t be a huge factor. The 10th and the 13th are the most interesting holes on the back nine as they play across Kingman Lake. Even though more trouble is in play on the back, the designer did a nice job to continue the playable theme! There is a lot of rough to catch the ball, especially for a slicer.
Like the other D.C. course’s, Langston is part of the National Park Service. I was expecting conditions similar to what I’d find any local muni and that is what we encountered. The fairways and greens were full for the most part, although there were patches of ground under repair. Besides the bunkers, which looked old and dirty, the course actually looked pretty good! I got nice lies in the fairways, but couldn’t always compress the ball. Some sunshine sure would have helped make the course look prettier! I would have enjoyed the round a bit more if the greens weren’t so slow! After the rain, they had a fine layer of moisture on them and we needed to slam our putts to get them to the hole! They wobbled and bumped just enough to breed doubt, so I’d bring extra patience. My chips also got a few funny hops.
Unless you are a golf course nut like me or on a personal quest there isn’t a huge reason to play Langston. It is cheap ($32 to walk on a weekend morning), convenient, and player friendly which are the main draws. For reference we played the Blue tees which are 70.9/121/6652. Out of what I’ve played nearby, the only other course I really can compare Langston to is East Potomac’s Blue Course. I’d give the edge to East Potomac for the location and conditions. I felt a little uncomfortable getting to Langston and even on a couple holes. East Potomac is more of a recreational area and it has some great views of the Washington Monument! The flip side is that I liked the design of Langston better as the holes were more interesting to play. Overall though, East Potomac should be more memorable if you want to add Washington, DC to your list!
#1 (472 yard par 5):
#2 (395 yard par 4):
#3 (508 yard par 5):
#4 (157 yard par 3):
#5 (350 yard par 4):
#6 (398 yard par 4):
#7 (341 yard par 4):
#8 (205 yard par 3):
#9 (400 yard par 4):
#10 (538 yard par 5):
#11 (406 yard par 4):
#12 (444 yard par 4):
#13 (175 yard par 3):
#14 (341 yard par 4):
#15 (203 yard par 3):
#16 (540 yard par 5):
#17 (396 yard par 4):
#18 (383 yard par 4):