Congressional CC -- Scenes From Congressional Country Club's Gold Course -- Excellence Through Continuity

Text and Captions by Jeffrey A. Rendall, Photos by Jeff Janas

BETHESDA, MD - John Lyberger, Congressional Country Club's Director of Golf, says the mission statement on the club's Blue Course is to maintain it as a championship test of golf, potentially for a US Open, a PGA Championship, or to host international competitions, like the Ryder Cup.  Similarly, the mission statement on Congressional's Gold Course is to make it as good, if not better, than any other private club's golf course.

No doubt, Congressional possesses the luxury of having two excellent golf courses.  But there's also an intangible quality to the club, adding to its appeal -- there's continuity in quality, perhaps best reflected in the loyalty of its staff:

"We have unbelievable longevity and loyalty amongst our employees.  There are men on the grounds crew who've been here 47 or 48 years.  We have caddies who've been here over 50 years.  Our swim pro has been here 37 years, going on 38.  Our chef has been here 25 years, our clubhouse manager, 23 years.  Our food & beverage director has been here twenty-something years.  It just trickles down to the line-staff, to the waiters and waitresses who've been here twenty-something years," Lyberger said.

You'll certainly garner that 'longevity' impression when visiting the club that it's been there a very long time, and has served its members and guests well throughout its existence.  Experience pays, and Congressional's people have it in bunches.

But don't forget 'modern' technological advancements it's got those, too.  "We've got all the links to our past, but we're also on the cutting edge of technology.  We're always trying to stay one step ahead of the game, in terms of how we run our tee time system, or doing things like installing a GPS system on the golf cars.  Or how we run our club website.  We're always seeking to improve," Lyberger added.

Part of making sure that past meets present in harmony was hiring Arthur Hills to renovate the Gold Course, three years ago.  Under Hills' direction, the club redid all the Gold's bunkers, completely rebuilt its tees, improved the cart paths, changed the fairway grasses from rye to bentgrass, and installed a new irrigation system (amongst other things).  As a result, the course is just as beautiful and scenic as its more famous sibling, the Blue Course, and provides everyone who plays it with an excellent golf experience.  Here are some sights you'll see on the Congressional Gold Course, if you're fortunate to get an invitation to play it:

One of Congressional Country Club's practice putting greens is right in front of the clubhouse. Even while warming up, it's not hard to grasp the club's tradition and beauty - but don't even think about tiptoeing through the tulips.

Looking down towards the Gold Course's 18th hole. You can't see the green from this view (it's right down by the water), but you can easily determine that it'll be a challenging final hole to complete your round.

The 12th hole rates the most difficult on the back nine. From here, you'll see that missing anywhere but short right will probably land you in trouble. You're also in a little valley, so don't forget the wind above the treetops when pondering club selection.

Moving in towards the clubhouse, the 407 yard 17th hole won't intimidate you too much until you approach the green. In old-style fashion, the green is a very narrow target, with difficult up and downs lurking all around the putting surface should you miss.

The view from the 461 yard, par four 8th hole is nothing short of spectacular -- and it's a challenging and fun golf hole, too.

There's plenty of room to go long on the bunker-less par three 11th hole, but if you're up here in these trees, you'll have one tough time stopping the ball on the sloped putting surface before it reaches the water.

The par four 9th hole's green sits close to the par five 14th's. That way, you can sample the beauty of both holes, all in one dose.


Congressional Country Club (Gold Course)
8500 River Road
Bethesda, MD 20817

Congressional Country Club is a private club play for members and their guests only.

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