This is a new upscale residential development golf course by the Landmark Land Design company that has done places like Kiawah Island, Oak Tree, PGA West, and Doonbeg. True to their formula they have made sure this is a real upscale development with full feature through out-they have skimped on nothing that I can see. Just stand in the pro shop and look out the back window at the pure splendor of the vista presented-this is just a brilliant marketing feature-you just can’t wait to see what the rest of the course looks like.
The architect of the course were in-house guys from Landmark, but they are obviously people of talent because this is one rugged piece of wooded property that they succeeded in presenting as a very scenic and playable golf experience. It has much of the up and down feel of Avenel but with a less punitive edge. Routing of the holes are similar, two loops that create interior space that are natural with umpteen housing opportunities around outside ring. When all the houses are done I think it will have the unwanted feel of an urban golf setting. But for now it is quite a nice experience.
The course has a nice flow to it-both sides have their difficult stretches in the middle but let up considerably on the last two holes to give you a shot of confidence and possible redemption for your scorecard. Some of the fairway bunkering is a bit overdone for my taste-long adjacent bunkers that are very visually intimidating without adding much real strategic value. The greens have lots of slope and segmentation, so when they get to the point where they can speed them up the putting will be a major challenge. The high trees and the low alcove areas will create places where growing and maintaining the grasses may be a major maintenance headache. There is a section of the back nine which is confined and low to the water table-much like the stretch from 10 to 12 at Avenel-this is where the built up heat and humidity-along with little sunlight will present a problem.
That said the back nine is as fine a set of holes as you will see in our area, you will have to play with imagination and skill to score well back there. What I like the most about this place is that there are a number of very interesting holes with novel architectural features. The visual wow factor hits high on the meter a bunch of times during your round. This is a place where you have to focus and maintain your concentration to decide what challenges to take on and what to play away from. The potential for high scores lurks on many, many holes-so you have to be smart to maintain a chance at a good score.
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Architects: Chris Cole and Jeff Potts (2008)
Tee Par Rating Slope Yardage
Black 72 72.1 137 6725
Blue 72 70.2 129 6315
White 72 67.3 122 5660