No Need to Fear This Turtle: Just Respect, Admire, and Enjoy It

Story and Photos by Charles Hancock


COLLEGE PARK, MD – In the case of most of us, when we think of College Park, Maryland, we most likely instantly think of the University of Maryland.  A public university established in 1856, UM is located in Prince Georges County, which borders Washington, D.C. 

The green at #1 - Backed by the majestic "M" embedded in flowers.


For certain alumni, like myself, you may emotionally reflect back to April 1, 2002, the day the Maryland Men’s basketball team, led by Juan Dixon, won its first NCAA championship.  FEAR THE TURTLE!!  But, for the golfer, it makes sense that you also think of, and play, the University of Maryland Golf Course.


The golf course at the University of Maryland, which opened in 1958, is situated adjacent to the University itself.  Located near the venerable Byrd Stadium, home of the Maryland Terrapins football team, from certain vantage points on the course, one can see the top of the bleachers.  In fact, if you happen to be playing a round during a home football game, 50 plus thousand cheering fans could certainly make you step away from a putt!

On the short par four 15th hole, if you carry the bunker on the left (about a 230 carry), you have about 80 yards to a green which sits down below the fairway.


The course, designed by renowned golf course architect George W. Cobb, is located on 150 acres of rolling hills and mature hardwoods.   Does the name George W. Cobb sound familiar?  It should -- together with Clifford Roberts he designed the Par 3 course at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia which opened in 1933. 


Since its opening, the University of Maryland Golf Course has been home to many golfers who have influenced the game on both the local and national levels.  These include such notable and accomplished individuals as PGA (and now Champions) tour player Fred Funk, former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, current Chief Operations Officer of the Nationwide Tour Bill Calfee, and national PGA teacher of the year Rick Martino

The tee box at the 8th hole - Much more downhill than demonstrated by the photo.


Additionally, recent tournaments held at the University of Maryland Course include the USGA Women’s Mid-Am qualifier, AJGA events, State High School Championships, Titleist Jr. Tour Events, and Mid-Atlantic Tournaments.


The course features, at its quintessential best, a “traditional” layout.  No gimmicky trick shots required here.  Pick a target and swing the club.  The first hole, a par four, unlike the opening hole on so many other courses, provides no time to relax.  A good drive leaves you with a tough approach shot to an elevated green, which slopes from the back to front.  The pond on the right can be very much in play as well.

The back nine features the toughest Par 3 on the course, #11. This hole usually plays around 175 yards to yet another elevated green.


Speaking of elevated greens, many of the holes here feature them, including the challenging second hole.  This par four, the #1 handicap hole, requires not only a long tee shot from an elevated tee, with trouble lurking on the left, but an accurate shot to a well bunker protected green.  Par on this hole is like a birdie.


Another “fun” hole is number 8.  A look at the card says that this par three plays about 100 yards from the regular tees.  How hard can it be?  Hmmm, play it, you’ll see.  Go long here, on this severely downhill hole, and you will pay – a pond is located directly behind the hole.  Leave the shot short and a bunker awaits.  Sean Patrone, Golf Shop Manager/Assistant Golf Professional, calls this the “signature” hole.  He says that “more players talk about this hole after their round than any other.”

The green at # 2 - Another elevated green, bunkered on both the left and right.


The #17 hole at the University of Maryland golf course is a drivable par four.  While good for the ego, a tee shot not struck precisely and accurately – with a draw – will leave you recovering from the tree-lined fairway, with a likely punch out back into play.  It’s risk-reward all the way.  A three-wood or long iron off the tee should leave you no more than 100 yards to a downhill green.


The finishing 18th hole, a par four, is all you want, and more.  While the fairway is about as wide open as anyone could hope for, the second shot is all carry to another elevated green.  With the recently renovated clubhouse (featuring quite a nice bar – Mulligan’s Bar and Grill) in the background, a par on this hole will go to make your post-round beverage that much more enjoyable.

The fairway bunker on the Par 4 sixth hole can catch many tee shots.


The University of Maryland golf course also features a newly renovated driving range and practice facility.  The driving range features several target greens, while the practice area includes chipping and bunker areas.  Also featured is new state-of-the-art teaching equipment.  Improvements to come in the next year or two, according to Patrone, include the total rebuilding of all 18 greens. 


Open to the public, the golf course at the University of Maryland is a must play course for anyone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and especially those in the Greater Washington-Baltimore area. 

The finishing hole, #18, with the renovated clubhouse in the distance.


While open to the public, the course offers memberships, at a very reasonable price.  Currently, according to Patrone, there are close to 200 members of this fine golf venue.  Named one of the “100 Must Play” golf courses in the Mid-Atlantic section by GolfStyles Magazine, I can see why. 


Go play it, and I’m sure you will agree.



University of Maryland Golf Course
College Park, Maryland

Phone:  (301) 314-GOLF


Director of Golf:  Jeff Maynor
Head Professional and Director of Golf:  Jeff Maynor, PGA
Golf Shop Manager & Assistant Professional:  Sean Patrone
Director of Instruction:  Mike Benner


Back   6734   71.6/125
White  6308   69.8/122


Guest:  M-Th, $32 (walk)/$47 (ride); Fri-Sun $57 (walk or ride)
Faculty/Staff:  M-Th:  $25/$40; Fri-Sun:  $49
Student:  M-Th, $17/$32; Fri-Sun:  $40
Senior (55 and up):  M-Th, $25/$40

Cart fees included before Mid-Day Fri/Sat/Sun, 3/15/06 – 11/15/06

Related Links   Comments on this article?
Maryland National Golf Club
Hollow Creek Golf Club
Rocky Gap Resort
PB Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville
Whiskey Creek Golf Club
E-mail Jeff Rendall, Editor: