Playing Through: Glenn Dale Golf Club

The authors, in terribly mismatched attire, about to embarrass themselves at Glenn Dale Golf Club. (WTOP)
The authors, in terribly mismatched attire, about to embarrass themselves at Glenn Dale Golf Club. (WTOP)
Glenn Dale features a full driving range and practice facility, including the Troy Beck Golf Academy. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
The view from the first tee at Glenn Dale Golf Course.
Hole #1: Par 4, 406 from blue tees, 392 from white tees, 302 from gold tees, 302 from red tees Perhaps the most visually stunning hole is the opener, a long par 4 from a highly elevated tee box, setting up a majestic drive down to the course below. Even with the drop-off, you need a strong second shot to play up the fairway to the green, which plays farther back than meets the eye. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #2: Par 4, 307/287/287/271 This short par 4 is much trickier than it looks. A low wood or high iron sets up a wedge shot to a heavily protected, and lightning-quick green that pitches heavily toward the fairway. Getting on in two shots isn’t that hard, but even if you do, getting home in four is a job well done. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Signature Hole Hole #3: Par 4, 445/387/343/315 It’s not immediately clear from the tee box, but you need a solid drive up the middle or left side of this par 4 to try to make your approach over the enormous water hazard manageable. Miss to the right and you face the prospect of a 200+ yard second shot with 100 yards of lake leading into a wide, but not-as-deep-as-it-appears green. Rumor has it that back before the tall trees grew up along the left side, Yankees legend Mickey Mantle drove the green from the tee box. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #4: Par 4, 406/381/381/291 Another par 4, another water hazard to deal with along the left side. Unless you can confidently crush it straight, play your drive safely clear of the mess up to the right and try to set up your approach to a pretty tight green, guarded by a nearside bunker along the right. (Golf Caddy Online/Lance Kulman)
Hole #5: Par 3, 178/155/155/123 The first par 3 on the course features a fairly large and flat putting surface, giving those who hit it a chance at a good score. You can miss left into the hillside and get away with it, just don’t miss right, as a massive bunker awaits errant fades. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #6: Par 4, 311/303/303/267 A scoreable, short par 4 calls for a high wood or low iron off the tee down a narrow fairway, setting up a wedge into an undulated green. Be sure to consider where among the ridges the pin is sitting to leave yourself with the best angle on your approach. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #7: Par 3, 205/183/183/159 A downhill par 3 that plays shorter than its distance with a wide green. Beware the front left bunker, but know that you can fairly safely reach the putting surface on the right and leave yourself with an uphill putt. (Golf Caddy Online/Lance Kulman)
Hole #8: Par 5, 555/485/409/365 This par 5 winds uphill to the left, making it a three-shot hole for all but the longest hitters. There’s no sense getting greedy trying to cut off distance along the left side, as the overhanging trees can only give you trouble. A large, but tricky green awaits, especially if the pin is up toward the back right. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #9: Par 4, 466/405/318/318 One heck of a finishing hole for the front nine, even if you boom your drive, you’ll still be facing an uphill approach to an elevated, slippery green. It’s ok to be long and play off the hill behind, but don’t be short, and be very careful once you hit the putting surface. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #10: Par 4, 420/401/360/284 Like a less dramatic version of the opening hole, the back nine begins with another long, downhill par 4. Again, the second shot will play longer than you expect, but there isn’t much room to work with behind the green if you go long. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #11: Par 4, 307/304/304/276 Don’t be left, don’t be left, don’t be left. A dramatic, short par 4 drops off into a valley before doglegging to the left to a fairly inviting green. Play a measured shot out to the right — don’t be too worried about cutting the corner. You’ll have a better look at the green the higher up the hill you are. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #12: Par 3, 174/149/149/128 The easiest par 3 on the course, this downhill tee shot plays shorter than the distance into a large, mostly flat green. Hit your best iron, don’t be afraid to be greedy and go for birdie. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #13: Par 4, 383/341/335/269 A narrow, uphill par 4, the ball will funnel a bit from both sides back into the middle, but you’re better off taking a controlled shot and sacrificing some distance. The same can be said for the approach, where you can use the bowl around the green to help guide the ball in, if need be. Avoid the woods on both sides and there’s a chance for a good score here. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #14: Par 4, 376/349/349/283 Another elevated tee box invites you to launch one here, but unless you plan on driving the green, you’re better off making sure you stay in the fairway and away from the small trees up the right side. You’ll still have a low iron or wedge into the green and a shot at a good score, so long as you can stay out of trouble. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #15: Par 3, 188/163/163/148 Trees along the left make a draw approach ideal on this par 3, but the biggest thing is just getting the ball there — whatever you pull out of the bag, put it back in and grab the next club up. A heavily pitched green makes for tough birdie sledding, even if you find the putting surface. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #16: Par 4, 402/389/308/308 The only true blind tee shot, this par 4 ramps straight uphill, but don’t be deceived by the enormously wide fairway. You’ll need to play your drive up the right side to take the trees out of play for your approach. A small hollow in front of the green will trap shots without enough steam to get there on the fly. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #17: Par 4, 334/316/286/253 Like #11, this short, dogleg left par 4 requires a clean wood or long iron safely out to the right off the tee, setting up a short approach shot. The green is small, but not the hardest on the course. Two good shots will give you a great chance at birdie. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #18: Par 5, 462/423/386/319 This may seem like a short par 5, but it plays unlike any other I’ve ever seen. A solid drive from the elevated tee box will clear the dogleg and leave a clear shot uphill at the green. But a host of bunkers guard the front, requiring a very strong, sufficiently elevated long iron or wood to stay clear of trouble and get there. Once you do, another heavily sloped, tricky green awaits. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
The authors, in terribly mismatched attire, about to embarrass themselves at Glenn Dale Golf Club. (WTOP)
The view from the first tee at Glenn Dale Golf Course.

GLENN DALE, Md. — I can already tell, even though we’re just on the fourth one of these, that the term we’re going to have to be cognizant of overusing the most is “hidden gem.” There can only be so many gems, and just because something was unbeknownst to us doesn’t necessarily mean others don’t know about it.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I feel safe saying Glenn Dale Golf Club qualifies as the biggest hidden gem we’ve visited to date.

Situated just off 193 halfway between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Highway 50 out toward Bowie, Glenn Dale is just 20 minutes from RFK Stadium, but feels a world away from D.C. With major elevation changes and a course protected around the edges by tall forest, the play itself is far different from that of the Washington courses.

When this course is in pristine shape, it’s as well-kept and the greens are as tough as any in the area. Even when we played, after the worst of the summer heat, it held up well, though the greens were cut a little longer due to the conditions. Consider that a U.S. Open qualifier held there when the course was in prime condition produced just a single round under par.

Glenn Dale provides the level of quality and challenge you’d expect from a private or premium public course at a fraction of the cost. If you’re willing to walk during the week, it’s just $26 regular rate, and still a modest $55 on the weekends with a cart included.

There’s a teaching academy, along with a range and practice green on site.

We started on the back nine when we played, due to some routine course maintenance. I prefer to play the course starting from #1, though, which I’ve done several times. The scenic vista from the tee box before the fairway drops down below offers a grand welcome to your round.

Jake’s Take

I really liked this course — it’s great for the casual golfer. I’m a little biased, but not because I live in Maryland. I chipped in for birdie (only my second since I’ve been playing) on 17. My form during the shot would’ve made Phil Mickelson cringe or laugh, but it went in. Hey, there are no style points on the score card.

The course is short, but by no means easy. There is water and of course I found it on #3.  There are houses nearby on #9 so be careful — if not, you could be the inspiration for the next commercial by an insurance company. Overall, a wonderful experience, if you try it, you’ll be back.

Dates and Rates

Dates: Open year-round

Rates: Mon-Fri until 5 p.m.: $42 with cart, $26 without; after 5 p.m.: $25/$17

Weekends until noon: $55 (cart included); noon-3:30 p.m.: $42/$26; after 3:30 p.m.: $25/$17


Seniors: $36 including cart on weekdays

Ladies’ Day Wednesday: $36 including cart

Family days on weekends: Child plays free with adult

$3 off regular rates for active police/fire/military


Associate: $125/year, includes USGA card, $4 off per round and entry into 3 club championships

Weekday: $1,350/year, includes Mon-Fri greens fees

Every day: $1,750/year, includes any time greens fees


Restaurant/grill in pro shop

No outside alcohol allowed, but beer sold from bar on site

Banquet facilities on site

No drink cart service

Pace of Play

Average pace 3:45-4:15 during week, 4:45+ on weekends

Dress Code

Collared shirt, no cutoffs, no tank tops


Address: 11501 Old Prospect Hill Road, Glenn Dale, Maryland.

From Washington, take 50 East to MD 704. From north of the city, take the beltway east to the BW Parkway to MD 193 East. From Virginia, take 50 East or the beltway north to MD 193 East.

Flip through the slides above to make your way through the course, and we’ll see you back here next month as we head out to Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club.

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