Playing Through: Jefferson District Golf Course

Don’t have time for 18 holes? There are plenty of nine-hole executive courses in our area, including Jefferson District Golf Course. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #1: Par 4, 295 from blue tees, 278 from white tees, 269 from red tees The opener eases downhill with a trap and a tree on the left side of the fairway as the hole curves to the left toward the green. You can try to cut the corner and won’t be punished with too bad of a lie if you’re left of the trap, but the safe play is to take a wood or long iron off the tee up the right side, offering the best angle into the long, pitched green. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #2: Par 4, 306/296/279 Follow the overhead power lines up the hill on this tight fairway. If you’ve got a draw in your repertoire, bust it out to give yourself a better position to attack the small green. Your approach shot will be deceptively short. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #3: Par 3, 151/138/121 Check your yardage and make sure you pull the right iron for this par 3. If you can find the same plane of the two-tiered green as the flag, you’ll give yourself a flat birdie putt and a good chance to score. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Signature Hole Hole #4: Par 4, 297/281/251 Water runs along the left side of this tougher-than-meets-the-eye par 4, which is also protected by trees on the right. A tough, wide green with many angles awaits you. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #5: Par 5, 399/383/340 The lone par 5 on the course measures just 399 yards, but don’t let the card fool you. Unless you can hit a towering approach shot over a bank of trees, you’ll need to place three shots in sequence to reach the green. The temptation to do something stupid is strong here, but if you play it safe, you’ll avoid trouble and a big score. Next time, I’ll take my own advice. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #6: Par 4, 264/238/213 A downhill tee shot through the trees disguises the creek that crosses the fairway, so take a moment to find that before you tee off. An uphill approach to a deep green requires good judgment of distance to be close to the pin. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #7: Par 3, 97/78/69 This very short par 3 can be tough when the pin is in the front left, as it was for us, bringing the tree line into play. No matter where the flagstick rests, a nasty, humpback green makes a putt of any distance a tricky one. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #8: Par 4, 376/334/289 The longest, most traditional-playing hole on the course, this par 4 features a wide fairway that runs uphill with a right-to-left slope. The green pitches heavily back down toward the fairway, so do your best to leave your approach below the hole in order to avoid a treacherous putt. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #9: Par 4, 230/217/192 A very short par 4 gives you an excellent chance to finish your round on a high note. Most players can pull just a fairway wood and have a chance of driving the green, which both Jake and I did. If the pin is to the left, though, it can still be a tough putt, but it’s an excellent chance to finish with a birdie or at least par. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Sometimes you just don’t have time for 18 holes, but you still want to get out on the course.

Thankfully, there are a handful of nine-hole runs around the D.C. area that still provide a decent challenge without wiping out your whole day. One such course — Jefferson District Golf Course in Falls Church, Virginia — gave us just that, as well as our prettiest scorecard so far on Playing Through.

The course is definitely short, easily the shortest we’ve played. In addition to helping our scores, that also cut down on the zig-zagging, allowing for a very quick round. The layout is such that there aren’t too many choke points, keeping the flow pretty good. Despite some traffic out in front of us, we finished our round in just an hour and 50 minutes.

Public courses, especially those on the more affordable end of the spectrum, can sometimes lack in greens quality, but Jefferson stands out for the quality of its putting surfaces. We played just a month after they had punched the greens and wouldn’t have had any idea if they hadn’t told us. General manager Jonathan Casey chalks that up to his grounds crew and the course’s relatively mature soil, which allows it to recover quickly.

“Of all the compliments we receive here, I’d say the majority that we receive are about the conditions of the greens, especially for how much this course is used,” Casey told us.

And it’s used a lot — roughly 45,000 rounds a year.

The most popular times are right at daybreak and right after work, so there’s no twilight rate. But at $19 during the week and $24 on the weekend, that’s hardly prohibitive. You can also get a cart for $10, but it’s a very easy course to walk.

And it’s a fairly easy course to play, so long as you’re able to keep yourself down the middle.

“There are some open fairways here, but it puts a premium on being accurate,” said Casey.

See how we did in the gallery above.

Jake’s Take

If you don’t have over four hours to play an entire round, Jefferson is for you. It took us less than two hours to play. It’s a great course for the casual golfer — and I’m not saying that because I shot a personal best 46 for nine holes. The water hazards aren’t difficult. It’s a little tight, but a great course to work on your irons. Try to avoid the trees on #7. As usual, I found them and took a 5 on a par 3. The last hole is a short par 4. I actually drove the green, which left me about an 8-foot putt for eagle…which I left it short! Overall, it’s a fun course to work on your game. I’ll play it again.

Dates and Rates

Dates: Open year-round other than Christmas Day

Rates: Mon-Fri, 9 holes $19

Weekends & holidays, 9 holes $24

Mid-December to mid-March, $18


Frequent Player Pass: Discounted rounds if purchased ahead of time in packs of five, 10 or 15.


Grill in clubhouse.

No drink cart. Beer available at clubhouse, but no outside alcohol allowed on site, per VA law.

Pace of Play

Average pace is right around two hours, but can be quicker.

Dress Code

No metal spikes; T-shirts OK.


Address: 7900 Lee Highway, Falls Church, Virginia

Take the Capital Beltway from either direction to Gallows Road and follow Fairview Park Drive across Lee Highway to the entrance. You can also take Lee Highway straight to the course from anywhere inside the Beltway in Northern Virginia.

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