Playing Through: University of Maryland Golf Course

The 40-stall driving range at the University of Maryland golf course, which is open to the public, despite its affiliation with the school. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
There is both a chipping and putting green, along with a practice bunker open to the general public. The university golf team has its own private practice facilities. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #1: Par 4, 460 from black tees, 412 from gold tees, 357 from white tees, 328 from red tees The course opens with a longer downhill par 4 that bends slightly right, but not as much as it appears off tee box. A lake creeps in from right side on approach, and a bunker guards the back of the green, but you’re more likely to come up short anyway. You’ll know right away if the greens were as quick as they were when we played them … adjust accordingly. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #2: Par 4, 453/417/355/350 A dogleg left, there’s trouble left at the turn in the form of reeds which keep you from cutting the corner. The hole moves downhill almost the entire way, then rises to the green, protected by front bunkers in both sides. The putting surface runs further back than the eye can see from the fairway. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #3: Par 4, 333/316/257/231 A much shorter hole than its predecessors, this par 4 offers another fairly dramatic drop from tee to fairway, again followed by a rise to green. A wide landing area narrows as the fairway moves uphill, so consider which club will keep you in the short grass. A drive to the right side helps take the three pot bunkers that guard the left entrance to the green out of direct danger. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #4: Par 3, 195/165/151/120 A short-to-medium length par 3, the key is staying off the beach. The two bunkers left are more standard, but a huge, fingered bunker stretches underneath the right edge of the green and offers nothing but trouble. It’s better to make sure you play your shot deep enough to take that trap out of play, but beware that the green falls off the back right, sending long shots to a catch area below. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #5: Par 4, 423/400/375/338 The fairway on this straightaway par 4 plays more narrow than it appears around the landing area, with a right side fairway bunker and a fairway that leans to the left. Traps guard both sides of the elevated green, with catch areas off the entire back half. The putting surface can cause nightmares, depending on pin placement. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #6: Par 4, 458/418/390/342 Winding slowly uphill, this left-to-right par 4 plays longer than its listed distance, especially with a right side fairway bunker ready to punish you for trying to cut the angle. Bunkers guard each side of the green in front, punishing errant approaches. Is there good news? Sure — it’s OK to be long, if you can get there. The green is deep and, yes, again, has catch areas in the back. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #7: Par 4, 363/341/323/305 A nearly blind tee shot leads to a fairly open, downhill fairway, where there’s more room to the right of the pin than the left — your only visual cue from the tee box. The green may even be drivable for the longest of hitters, but bunkers right dissuade you from trying to bomb one. With one of the smaller greens on the course awaiting, better to have a wedge coming in. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis) (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Signature Hole Hole #8: Par 3, 128/111/98/85 A very short, downhill par 3, there’s trouble short and left with sand, but the real trouble is the water over the back. Drop a soft wedge down to the correct side of the green and you’ll give yourself a good look at birdie. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #9: Par 5, 547/510/494/335 A tee shot over water leads to an ambling, uphill, 3-shot par 5 that runs all the way up alongside University Boulevard on the right, back to the clubhouse. There are some bunkers guarding the front of the green, but plenty of room over the top. Multiple tiers can make for tough putting, depending on pin placement. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #10: Par 4, 416/372/360/342 A downhill tee shot leads to a fairway that rises and blocks the view of the green. Fairway bunkers lurk right, but if you can clear the top of the hill, you’ll give yourself a low iron downhill to a big putting surface. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #11: Par 3, 228/165/107/100 This is a completely different looking par 3, depending on which tees you play, as it’s more than twice as long from the black tees as the whites. The entire hole shapes right to left, giving you a great chance to play a nice draw, especially from the back tees, allowing the ball to feed in and taking the bunkers out of play. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #12:  Par 4, 443/395/372/322 A medium length par 4, this hole starts straight, then doglegs uphill to the right. Two right side fairway bunkers are magnets for faders and can turn this hole significantly longer and tougher than it needs to be, so don’t cut the corner too hard. A large, undulating green awaits atop the hill. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #13: Par 5, 553/514/482/434 A half-blind par 5, the fairway slopes more than it appears from left to right, sending any ball with fade shape down toward the bunker. The fairway continues to slope as such most of the way to the hole, so play your second shot accordingly. Bunkers in front make going for the green in two fraught with peril and a near impossibility without a perfectly placed draw into the right side. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis) (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #14: Par 3, 250/211/192/133 This absolute monster of a par 3 — if it’s playing from its marked yardage — moves uphill to an elevated green. There’s trouble short right on the form of a bunker, and more trouble farther right as anything south of that will kick away down the hill. Good luck! (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #15: Par 4, 386/356/348/305 You can’t see the green on this par 4, which leans to the right before doglegging down the hill to the left. Fairway bunkers on the left side keep all but the longest hitters from taking a crack at cutting the corner, but the shorter distance means you don’t need to in order to allow yourself a reasonable approach shot. (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis) (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
Hole #16: Par 5, 548/501/487/437 Beware the overhanging trees on your drive on this dogleg right par 5 that disappears down the hill sharply to the right. A great tee shot gives long hitters the chance to go for it in two, but deep front-side bunkers lurk below to the right. The fairway is wide enough to lay up close to the putting surface and leave yourself just a chip. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #17: Par 4, 346/327/307/243 A blind tee shot leads down the hill to the left on this short par 4, which stays somewhat narrow throughout. That makes precise shot-making the key, more than anything else. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
Hole #18: Par 4, 486/438/378/340 Let it fly on the long, uphill par 4 finisher, which stretches past a right side fairway bunker and dips downhill a bit before sloping back up to an elevated green in front of the clubhouse. A large green is a little more forgiving for your approach, as long as you can stay out of the front bunkers. (WTOP/Noah Frank) (WTOP/Noah Frank)
The damage … (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis) (WTOP/Mike Jakaitis)
(1/21)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If you’ve ever driven south on University Boulevard East, along the western slope of the University of Maryland campus, you may have noticed that there is, in fact a golf course there. If you head straight down the hill from Capital One Field on Stadium drive, you will cross University and swing up the hill to the left to the clubhouse of the University of Maryland Golf Course, which is affiliated with the school but open to the general public.

“We kind of gear ourselves to university play — students, faculty, staff — but at the same time, we’re open to anyone,” said Jeff Maynor, head professional and director.

The university owns the course and provides discounts for school employees and students. Many groups use the course for charity tournaments, which raise roughly $500,000 per year for scholarships.

“In my mind, that’s our purpose,” said Maynor.

But a little more than half of the 37,000 rounds per year are played by those not connected to the school. There’s also an ample practice area, with a 40-stall driving range, a chipping green, a putting green, and a practice bunker. The university golf team, which, naturally, makes its home there, has its own private practice area.

The layout isn’t imposing, but subtly punishes faders and slicers, or at least that’s my excuse for my round. The greens were cut quite tight when we played, rolling very quickly for a public course. Depending on the time of year, your mileage may vary.

The clubhouse plays host to Mulligan’s Grill and Pub, a popular lunch spot among faculty and school employees, and grads often like to sneak in an early Saturday morning round before heading across the way to tailgate home football games.

The price for 18 holes varies pretty dramatically from the prime weekend rate of $72 (cart included) down to just $20 to walk a twilight round. That makes it accommodating for a wide range of budgets, but it’s good to know what to expect before you make plans.

The course also has a membership of about 200 that is open to anyone, including non-Maryland residents — they even have 15-20 members from Northern Virginia. You can see why. The price point isn’t bad for a challenging course with elevation change and good greens, all along a course that often makes you forget you’re inside the Beltway.

Jake’s Take

“I really liked this course — I had no idea it was open to the public. This is a very good course for the casual golfer. However, there are many trees so if you’re wild off the tee, bring plenty of balls or put the driver in “time out.” I made par on 7 — a short par 4, and on 8 — a short par 3. If you have trouble with water just like me, it comes into play on 2, 9, and 11. Maybe that’s why I went quadruple bogey, double bogey, and triple bogey on those holes. That being said, there are plenty of chances for the casual golfer to par and maybe even birdie. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed after your round.”

Dates and Rates

Open every day except Christmas, weather permitting

18 holes, Monday -Thursday, open until 11:30 a.m.: $38 walking/$55 with cart; Friday $62 (with cart); Saturday-Sunday $72 (with cart)

Graduated rates from 11:30 a.m. on, down to as low as $20 for weekday twilight ($30 with cart)

9 holes, Monday – Friday, $25 walking/$35 with cart — no weekend 9 hole rate

Specials

Senior, military and student/junior rates

Food/Drink

Mulligan’s Grill and Pub is a full-service restaurant

Beverage cart seven days a week mid-April to mid-October, weekends only in off-season

Full service bar, cart has beer, wine, mixed drinks

Pace of Play

Our round: 3:50

Expected pace: 4:10

Range: 4:00-4:30, marshals on course

“Pace of play is very important to me,” said Maynor. “I don’t think golf should take more than four hours.”

Dress Code

No T-shirts on course, but cargo shorts ok; T-shirts OK on range

Directions

Address: 3800 Golf Course Road, College Park, Maryland

From the Beltway, take the MD-193 West exit and make a right onto Baltimore Ave/US-1. Continue to the right onto MD-193 West/University Boulevard East and the destination will be on your right.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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