Playing Through: Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club

Editor’s Note: This is a straightforward, politics-free preview of the Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club this week. For a deeper look at the complicated reality of hosting such an event at a Trump-owned property under present circumstances, click here.

The Playing Through series is designed to help acquaint golfers with local courses that they haven’t had a chance to play, to hopefully get players out of their comfort zones and off their usual tracts. Of course, unless you know a member (or are one) at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, you’ll have a hard time actually playing there. But with the Senior PGA Championship taking place this week, we wanted to preview the course and show you the best places to check out and watch all the action, if you’re considering attending, much like we did at last year’s Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club.

Those familiar with the old Lowes Island course will be impressed with the work that (the groundskeeper) has done, opening up the tree line to the river and bringing the course up to PGA Championship level specifications. The clubhouse is perched well above the river, as the holes slope away down the hillside to the banks of the Potomac. A 75-foot waterfall has been built into the course above what normally serves as the 18th green, but will be the #1 green for this championship, as the entire course has been shifted back one hole.

“The views here are unbelievable,” said PGA Director of Tournaments Bryan Karns. “You look out and it’s really something to behold. I think spectators are going to be blown away by that.”

In addition to the site lines, there will be several promotions on the course. Title sponsor KitchenAid will have an elaborate activation with a cooking demo area, including celebrity chefs. And major tour sponsor Mercedes-Benz will have a hole-in-one setup where fans can take a shot at winning a new car.

With a long history of golf events in the area, Karns anticipates fans that largely know what to expect from this level of tournament experience.

“People have seen a US Open in this market,” he said. “They’ve seen the Tiger Woods event at Quicken Loans. So we know the bar is set extremely high.”

Jake’s Take

Trump National is a good place to see a golf tournament. It’s a wide open course and the sight lines are good. A great spot is on the waterfall deck overlooking the first green, where you can watch the players putt from above. Another good spot is between holes 14 and 15. You can watch the players putt on 14 and then watch them tee off on the par 3 15th. When I go to a tournament, I like watching the players at the driving range, however it’s a hike from the range to the first tee.  If you want to watch the players work on their putting, the practice green is close to holes 1 and 2.  Like any golf tournament, you’re going to do some walking but it’s flat for the most part, so you don’t have to worry about a lot of inclines. One last tip — there isn’t a lot of shade, so if the forecast is going to be sunny and warm, don’t forget the hat and sunscreen.

Click through the gallery below for a hole-by-hole tour, and check below that for ticket and parking information.

Hole #1: Par 4, 416 yards Normally the 18th hole, this uphill par 4 plays back toward the clubhouse, with the massive waterfall serving as a backdrop to the approach. You’re better off setting up on higher ground than at the tee box, where it will be hard to see the action. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #2: Par 4, 382 yards A downhill, shorter par 4, your best bet is to be up above the tee box, where you can see the players launch downhill toward the river and the rest of the course below. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #3: Par 5, 540 yards This par 5 bends and slopes from left to right, making the cart path along the left side of the fairway the high ground, giving you the best vantage point. There are several rises above the bunkers offering good views. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #4: Par 3, 203 yards This long par 3 over water doesn’t offer a ton of room for spectators around the green, but it’s a clear, unobstructed shot from behind the tee box. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #5: Par 4, 444 yards There is room on both sides of this long, skinny hole, but the clearer views are probably along the left side above the fairway bunkers. Reeds behind the top side of the green may make it tough to get a good look at this green. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #6: Par 4, 445 yards There are several rises on along the cart path side (right side) of the fairway to get good vantage points around the landing area on this par 4, where it’s better to stay shy of the green. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #7: Par 5, 554 yards This dogleg left par 5 offers some rare shade under a group of trees along the right side of the fairway before the turn. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #8: Par 4, 461 yards The first point where the course opens up to the Potomac, water runs along the left side of the hole, where riverside access will be restricted for both practical and security reasons. The green is slightly sunken down, which should allow for a good vantage point for spectators along the cart path on the right side of the hole. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #9: Par 4, 310 yards The front nine ends with a very short par 4 that could provide a good birdie hole. Bunkers along the right entrance to the green may cause most to lay up, so standing just above them 40-50 yards from the putting surface may give you the best look at multiple shots. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #10: Par 3, 181 yards A pretty straightforward par 3 also fronting the river along the left side of the hole, the hill slopes down past the bunker to the right, so views of the putting surface may not be the best here. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #11: Par 4, 405 yards A split fairway opens up to two different greens, depending on the design for the day. The elevated, left side green may be easier to see than the lower surface on the right, which is tucked back toward a lake along the right side of the hole. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #12: Par 4, 466 yards A long par 4 with a tee shot over water from the championship tees, there are rises above the right-side fairway bunkers to get a good look at both the landing spot off the tee as well as the approach to the green, which rises uphill. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #13: Par 5, 544 yards There’s water left all the way up the 13th, but a perch above the fairway bunker along the right side should give you a good view of the entire hole. There’s also room above the green on the right to get a good view of the putting surface. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #14: Par 4, 420 yards The tree line on the right is set back a bit from the action, but offers some shade on this hole, which also features water the entire way up the left side. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #15: Par 3, 172 yards Playing slightly downhill toward the giant American flag and the river, this hole will provide some of the best all-around views other than from the clubhouse. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #16: Par 4, 450 yards A long, narrow par 4 may not offer the best site lines, especially with more scenic holes surrounding it. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #17: Par 3, 201 yards Another long par 3 over water, the green may be tough to see over the rise of the greenside bunkers that protect it. (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #18: Par 5, 533 yards A long, dogleg left finishing par 5 with water all the way up on the left, the right side cart path area offers a good look all the way up the fairway. (Digital Flyover/


There are a variety of ticket options, ranging from as low as $15 for a Tuesday grounds ticket up to $350 for a Wednesday-Sunday clubhouse ticket.

One-day flex grounds ticket (good for any one day): $40

Weekly grounds ticket: $120

Daily clubhouse ticket (Wed-Sun): $105

Weekly clubhouse ticket (Wed-Sun): $350

Daily grounds ticket prices:

Tue: $15

Wed: $20

Thu-Sun: $35

Complete ticket information can be found here.


Juniors 17 and under get free admission when accompanied by a ticketed adult.

Active Duty, Retired, Active Reserve, Veteran and National Guard receive free admission plus an additional complimentary ticket for accompanying spouse.

Top Pairings

Colin Montgomerie, David Toms and Tom Lehman (Thursday 7:50 a.m. | Friday 1:10 p.m.)

Miguel Angel Jimenez, John Daly and Rocco Mediate (Thursday 1:30 p.m. | Friday 8:10 a.m.)

Prohibited Items

Cameras are only allowed on the course Tuesday and Wednesday. No photos or video on cellphones are permitted during the competition itself.

No bags larger than 10” x 10” x 10” are allowed. No laptops/tablets, weapons, outside food or alcohol.

Fans are allowed one unopened, sealed bottle of water. Small, folding canvas chairs are allowed.


The course is located in a residential area around Lowes Island and there will be no public parking on site or in the immediate vicinity. Instead, parking will be available at the Dulles International Airport Purple Economy Parking Lot, with shuttles running back and forth to the course. The shuttles will run on the following daily schedules:

Tue: 6:45 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.

Wed: 6:45 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.

Thu.: 6:15 a.m. — 8 p.m.

Fri: 6:15 a.m. — 8 p.m.

Sat: 6 a.m. — 6 p.m.

Sun: 6:45 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.

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