Maryland National -- The Hills Are Alive At Maryland National Golf Club

Maryland National's Website

Text and Captions by Jeffrey A. Rendall, Photos by Jeffrey A. Rendall and Joe McHatton

MIDDLETOWN, MD Ė Respected Golf Architect Arthur Hills has certainly made a name for himself in the greater Washington DC area, etching his signature on several of the regionís most popular upscale public layouts, as well as earning praise for his prolific work in re-designing many of Washingtonís exclusive private courses.

One characteristic youíll gather from examining the body of Hillsí work is just how natural all his courses seem to be. Hillsí layouts will often play difficult for the average golfer, since hitting your ball into the natural splendor will force you to reach for the extra golf ball pocket (hopefully to drop next to a red stake), but thereís no doubt youíll appreciate what you see along the way.

For his part, Hills says he thinks the modern emphasis on environmental care is great for the game of golf: "I think some of these environmental restrictions or restraints are the best thing thatís happened to golf course design, because they mandate saving wetland areas Ė where in many instances in the past, theyíd be eliminated."

He continues, "Itís great for the environment, but itís also a big part of making a better golf course. If youíve got natural wetlands, youíve got wildlife and birds. Usually thereíre more diverse habitats after a golf course is finished than before the land was touched. Iím completely in favor of working with organizations like Audubon International Ė so we can act within the framework of nature and keep things intact. It not only saves the environment, it improves the image of golf, as well."

Hills certainly employed this thinking to Maryland National Golf Club, in Middletown, Maryland, just west of Frederick. Maryland Nationalís layout moves up and down slopes, across ravines and through valleys. Itís a masterpiece of routing Ė with natural wetlands providing much of the beauty and difficulty.

Not bad, considering itís laid out on a fairly small piece of land. "Maryland Nationalís owner, Tate DeWeese (famous for his minor league baseball holdings), did a great job of putting that site together. Itís not a large piece of land, 120 acres or so Ė and DeWeese kept negotiating for bits and pieces of ground to expand the course. That really helped us fit it in there, to build a full length golf course," said Hills.

Itís not only beautiful, itís a fun golf course, too. Hills made sure of it: "Although I think there are a few pretty darn tough spots at Maryland National Ė especially those downhill par threes Ė I think we also achieved our goals. We always want a course where the playerís able to hit the ball, find it, then hit it again. Itís a course for people to play golf and have a good time and have it be enjoyable. And to have Ďem say ĎGosh, look at this hole, itís beautiful,í"

Here are some of those beautiful sights youíll see at Maryland National:

Maryland National's par four 1st hole shares a fairway with the par four 5th. The combined amount of playable space virtually guarantees a safe first tee shot, and hopefully you'll find the fairway.

It's risk-reward all the way on the 336 yard, par four 16th hole. Play it safe and par's easily within reach. Take a chance, though, and you might make a birdie.

It may be downhill the whole way, but the 209 yard, par three 6th hole's green is protected amply by a stream in front and a large tree in back.

From the 15th fairway, glance across the wetlands to the green complex of the par five 13th hole. Arthur Hills designs very distinctive short game challenges, and this hole is no exception.

At 585 yards, you'd think reaching the par five 2nd hole's green in two would be near impossible. The hole plays severely downhill, however, and if you successfully navigate around this tree, you just might have a shot at it.

Nature abounds from the tee of the par five 15th hole. The carry's not as bad as it looks, too, so feel free to swing easy and enjoy the view.

Maryland National's impressive clubhouse was completed early last summer (2003). If you think it looks great on the outside, just step inside and make yourself at home.

It doesn't get much prettier than looking down from the tee of the par three 17th hole. A tough test, yes, but not at all difficult to appreciate.


Maryland National Golf Club
8836 Hollow Road
Middletown, MD 21769

Phone: (301) 371-0000
FAX: (301) 371-0020


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