LAYTONSVILLE, Md. — Sure, everyone likes playing golf on a warm, sunny day. But for the truly obsessed, this is a year-round sport, no matter the conditions. That’s good news at Blue Mash Golf Club, where you’re rewarded for your hardiness despite the weather.
Through the end of February, the Montgomery County course is offering a special — your 18-hole greens fee is equal to the offseason rate OR the outside temperature, whichever is lower, which includes your cart (add $10 on the weekends). With Monday-Thursday rates at $55, that can be quite a savings when cold fronts move through.
But no matter what time of year you play, you’ll find a very walkable, well-maintained course. I was lucky enough to play Caves Valley this year, and the entry to Blue Mash is evocative of Caves Valley lite, with a shorter drive up the hill toward the clubhouse, but a similar sneak peek of the course out to your window on the right-hand side.
The fairways are well maintained and the rough is manageable and evenly cut, so unless the light is bad, you shouldn’t lose anything that’s not out of bounds. The greens are quick for a public course, but fair. With no huge hills and a short distance from green to tee, if you’re on the fence about walking, go ahead and do it.
Joe Hills is the managing member and majority owner at Blue Mash. He’s also the son of Arthur Hills, the famous golf course architect who designed the course. He moved from Arizona in 1990 and helped along the decadelong process of getting the course online, which it finally did in 2001.
Hills’ favorite aspect of the course is its variety, moving from a links style to more of a woods course, then featuring water in the other third. He’s also pleased with its accessibility.
“We don’t really have any forced carries, which is pretty unusual for a modern course,” he told WTOP. “Most courses that were built in the last 15-20 years will have forced carries over wetlands.”
That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though, especially right out of the gates with three tough holes to start your round.
“Three is the real bear,” said Hills. “It’s just a brutally long par four that plays into the wind.”
He said it’s tough enough that they’re considering making it into a par 5.
As for the signature hole, none of us could agree. Hills listed 1, 2, 4 and 13 as his favorites, while Jake and I each picked other options. That speaks to the course’s consistency, as much as anything.
The course has you standard chipping and putting green, as well as two levels of grass range, but it’s also got a twist — an indoor simulator for the winter months. So if the cold weather has you bummed out, staring at the clubs in your closet, Blue Mash might have just what you need to hit the links this weekend.
Blue Mash is one of my favorite courses in the area. I love the layout and the diversity of the course. Some holes are wide open, some are tight, and some have water. The first three holes are tough, but fair. I scored pretty well — for me — on those three holes. For the casual golfer, it’s very playable — just play your game and know the shots you can make as well as the shots you CAN’T make. I had a little trouble with the greens, but that was due to bad putting by yours truly. The greens had a true roll to them. Hole 17 is a fun, but tough par 3 over water. It’s the signature hole. Overall, Blue Mash is a good course for the casual golfer. Just play within yourself, “take your medicine” when you have to (easier said than done), and you’ll be fine.
Dates and Rates
Mon-Thu, 18 holes: $55, $59 with cart; $45/$54 after noon; $35/$44 after 2 p.m.
Friday, 18 holes: $55, $64 with cart; $50/$59 after noon; $40/$49 after 2 p.m.
Weekends/Holidays, 18 holes: $75, $84 with cart; $60/$69 after noon; $45/$54 after 2 p.m.
7-day membership: $2,200
Weekday membership: $1,900
Prepaid player packages (30 or 60 rounds)
Players Club: $99 per year, includes 10 percent off greens fees and USGA Handicap Dues
Indoor simulator league for the winter months
Beverage cart seven days a week in the summer, weekends in winter
Pace of Play
Rounds stay at 4:10 or less
Our round: 3:55
Collared shirt preferred; no jeans.
From D.C., take Interstate 270 North to I-370 East. Exit 3B to Shady Grove Road and continue onto Airpark Road. Turn right on Woodfield Road, right on Fieldcrest Road and right on Olney Laytonsville Road. Course is on the left.