The best public golf courses in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

The Washington, D.C. metro area is loaded with some of the finest golf courses in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Washington, D.C. is an expensive city, and golf isn’t a cheap sport, but not all the Washington, D.C. metro area golf courses are out of a reasonable price range.

Whether you’re looking for birdies, bogeys or that one sweet iron on No. 17 that’ll bring you back for another round, there are tons of good public golf courses in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

If you’re looking for a cheap public course to get a quick 18 holes in, or nice course to continue your cash game on, the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area has the right golf course for you.

Best public golf courses in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia for 2019

Washington D.C. public golf courses

– East Potomac Golf Course  

There’s obviously not a ton of free space in the nation’s capital, so finding courses to tee it up is difficult. That’s what makes East Potomac Golf Course a must-play.

In total, there are two nine-hole offerings (one that’s strictly par 3s, one that’s a mix of 3s and 4s) as well as the 18-hole Blue Course.

On the Blue, you may find yourself using the Washington Monument as your target line, which is clearly quite unique to the grounds. And if you hit your wedges particularly high, you may have to contend with incoming planes that are getting set to land at Reagan National.

Those are things you can’t say about any other option. 


– Rock Creek Golf Course

It’s located in D.C., but since it’s tucked away in Rock Creek Park, it sure won’t feel like it to you. Rock Creek’s 18-hole, par-65 course is fairly standard on the front, but once you cross over to the back, flat fairways and accessible greens give way to extremely hilly landing zones and elevated/lowered greens. 

Now, sometimes the course isn’t as kept up as you’d like, and it’s important to call before committing to your tee time to ensure both 9s are open for play.

However, if you’re looking for a spot that will allow you to play your round quickly, at an affordable rate and with plenty of challenges, this is your answer.

Maryland public golf courses

– Hampshire Greens

Hampshire Greens is one of nine Montgomery County Public courses, and all nine are really fun, well-maintained and ideal mixes of easy holes and difficult ones. Hampshire Greens, though, sets the standard in that MCG collection.

Hampshire is always in terrific shape and presents players with all sorts of decisions to make off the tee and with their approaches. The Par 5s are especially exciting (just make sure you’re warmed up for the Par 5 second, because if you aren’t, you’ll be walking off with a triple). 

Yes, all of the MCG courses are worth your time, including Northwest and Little Bennett, but Hampshire Greens absolutely has to be on your list. 

– University of Maryland

Even Duke graduates will enjoy the UMD golf course, which has a large driving range, solid putting area and a terrific 18-hole course.

The clubhouse also features a pro shop where you can purchase lots of Maryland swag so you can at least look fresh when you post your 98.

What makes University of Maryland appealing is the five sets of tees that make it playable no matter your skill or distance. And if you’re looking for an ace, you’ll enjoy the tiny Par 3 eighth that shouldn’t require much more than a wedge.

Plus, there are plenty of bars on Route 1 for you to recuperate at afterward. 

– Blue Mash

A course that’ll require every club in your bag to be working, Blue Mash isn’t for just any amateur. With that being said, if you’re willing to take it on, you’ll stroll off No. 18 in Olney, Md., impressed with the variety of holes and conditions of the course.

If you survive the first four, that is.

– Lake Presidential  


Lake Presidential, like Blue Mash, is a bit pricier than Hampshire and UMD and it’s also a beast. But its designers and creators are responsible for other respected venues like South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, so it’ll be worth your investment (especially if you can get it at the twilight rates, where it becomes a big-time steal).

Just pack an extra sleeve or two of Titleists.

Virginia public golf courses

– Westfields

Westfields’ fairways are lined with trees and not houses, which makes it a peaceful place to play — as long as you’re not hanging out in its hazards too much.

It’s a Fred Couples-designed course, but even if your swing isn’t as sweet as his, you will still be impressed as you make your way around. 

– Potomac Shores 

Potomac Shores perennially ranks in top-10 rankings for Virginia and it’s no secret as to why: it’s a phenomenal place to golf.

Ever heard of Jack Nicklaus? He was involved in Potomac Shores’ design.

It’ll cost you to get out here, but nothing too wild once you consider its quality. 

– Raspberry Falls 

If you’re searching for a premier spot, your search is over once you land on Raspberry Falls.

It’s a links-style course and is dotted with treacherous pot bunkers, which makes it different from much of what Virginia can offer. If you want to see what it’s like being in The Open Championship, Raspberry Falls can simulate that for you.