Tees: Blue (In front of tips)
Weather: 86 and Slightly Cloudy
Played With: Mark
Written By: Chris Conley
Rating: At bottom of Review
On Thursday afternoon, I set out to play the beautiful Lake Presidential golf course in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. I have heard great things about Lake Presidential since it opened in 2008, but never had a chance to play the course. The course wouldn’t disappoint the hype I had heard about it. Upon arriving at Lake Presidential, you can tell from first walking into the club house that it is going to be a fun experience; the club house, pro shop and restaurant all are within the same building and you feel like you are walking into a country club when you open the doors. It is hard to believe that you are approximately 15 miles from our Nation’s Capital and the busy streets of DC. Lake Presidential gives you the feel of being miles away from everything and alone with the golf course. I personally have played and reviewed a lot of courses for this website, and no course or course employee has been more helpful than Troy Miller, the General Manager of Lake Presidential. Troy originally worked as an architect of the course for Landmark Development, before accepting the General Manager position. Landkmark Development’s mission statement is “Landmark Land Company’s guiding principle is to select exceptional properties, recognize and protect the natural characteristics of the land it develops, and establish a unique identity and lifestyle for each community it creates” and that pretty much hits the nail on the head for what they did in developing this course. Landmark has a resume in golf course development that is unrivaled by many and includes Kiawah Island in South Carolina and PGA West in California, and they clearly put the same passion into Lake Presidential as they did those two amazing courses.
Everywhere you turn at Lake Presidential, everything is done meticulously, and you feel as if even for that one golf trip you are a member of a country club. Upon arriving at Lake Presidential you take a long road that winds through a few of the holes, giving you a glimpse of your experience for the day, until you wind up at an 11,000 square foot club house overlooking holes 9 and 18. When you walk inside the club house, you enter “The Grille”, Lake Presidential’s restaurant; they offer a complete menu of “America’s Favorites“. We sat down and had a sandwich before the start of our round, and had a great experience. Our bartender was friendly and shared some tips for the course as well. You have your choice to sit at the bar, with a large flat screen, where we sat and watched some of the US Open, in their dinning area to have a quieter meal when you can talk or outside on their patio that overlooks the putting green, hole 9 and hole 18. The patio is the perfect setting for an after round cocktail, and is a view that you won’t find at many Maryland courses. Tucked into the back left corner of the club house is the pro shop; their pro shop is fully stocked with the latest equipment, apparel and gadgets and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. We were trying to get out on the course before there was an outing, so we didn’t visit the range to hit balls or the putting green before the round; after the round I walked down to both and the range is a fully stocked range with plenty of room to work all of your shots. The putting green is large, and really gives you a feel for how the greens will be for your round; the greens on the course are very undulated and the putting green reflects this perfectly. Lake Presidential also offers “The Institute” which includes, custom fitting, performance analysis, skill lessons and indoor and outdoor training facilities. The Institute offers instruction and training for golfers of all skill levels and handicaps. Presidential also offers some very affordable, in comparison, membership packages; including their young professionals package at $1,800 for players age 16-32.
After we got loaded up and ready to play, Troy came out and actually said he was going to take us through the first few holes and go over some signatures of the course. When I asked him if the front nine or back nine were harder, he said by far the front 9. He actually went into more detail, that when originally laying out the course the front 9 was being designed as the back 9; instead of having players finish on the toughest 9 of the course and leave frustrated with the way they finished their round, Lake Presidential decided to have players play the toughest of the holes first, get to go back out on the back 9 and redeem themselves on holes that are a little more score able. I personally thought that this was a genius idea and it allows the player to see and feel how great this course is but still leave happy with some fun but manageable holes at the end.
Hole 1: Minutes after finding out the General Manager and one of the original architects of the course was going to be playing with us, I was told to take out my 5 wood and head to up for my first shot. My nerves got to me a little and decided to duff two shots about 15 yards in front of me and down to the left, after that I put that 5 wood away, took out my driver, called a restart and really started the round for the day. Haha. The first hole at Lake Presidential pretty much wraps up all the features the course has to offer in one hole; undulated fairways, water hazards to the left and across the fairway and almost impossible chippings areas if you miss the green to the back. Hole 1, is a dog left par 4, in which you you want to stay right off the tee box and allow the slope of the fairway to bring you back down to a good position for your second shot. Your second shot here will be played over a stream into a smaller green with deep bunkers on the right and left and a chipping area in the back of the green that is severely slopped. If at all possible you really want to stay below the hole on this green.
Hole 2: A straight foward par 4, longer hitter will want to stay right on this fairway to avoid a bunker and water on the left. Your second shot better be accurate into this green, as it is a three tiered green with the bottom tier having a false front in which the ball could roll right off of the green. Troy told us this is the most severe sloping of any green on the course, and if you can, aim for the tier the flag is on, to avoid an insane putt. I actually chipped in for birdie from right off the green on this hole, and felt I redeemed those first 5-wood shots just a little.
Hole 3: This is a 515 yard par5 with a blind “up and over” tee shot; your tee shot disappears over an elevated fairway and fades off into the horizon. You want to try and hug the right side of this fairway to avoid three fairway bunkers down the left. This hole is reachable in two by some bigger hitters as the green is below your second shot, and the ball will funnel towards it if you land in the right position. Troy told us with the pin position in the back left, if you land the ball short and to the right you can get it to work down towards the hole. This is a really simple but fun hole because of the blind tee shot and the risk reward ability of your second shot into the green on a par 5.
Hole 4: This is a short par 3 that requires you to stay on the correct side of the green, to allow for a make-able birdie putt. There is a large bunker to the right and two smaller bunkers to the left and you want to try and stay below the pin on this hole.
Hole 5: Troy warned us that holes 5-7 were very difficult and that tip proved to be true. Hole 5 is a dog leg left in which you will need to stay right off the tee or you will have no angle into the green and will have to punch out in order to be able to advance the ball. This green sits down from the elevation around it and if you play your ball to the right, you will more then likely trickle down and find the green here. I played a 7-Iron that landed about 5 yards short and 15 yards right of the green, and the ball followed the slope of the course and trickled down for about a 15 foot putt. You can hit your drive too far on this, at the end of the first section of fairway is a sharp drop off that leads down to an environmental area; you might want to think about taking a 5 wood or even an iron off this tee box.
Hole 6: The way you play hole 6 really depends where on the green the pin is placed; if the pin is to the right of the green you can attack this hole down the left side of the fairway to get a short good look at the pin placement, just make sure you avoid the fairway bunker that lines the second half of the fairway on the left. If the pin is in the back right of this green, you will want to try and stay right in order to get a bigger landing area with your approach shot; the green is very narrow and only a few paces wide in the back left and being to the right will allow you to leave it short and let the ball roll to the pin.
Hole 7: This hole is a split fairway hole seperated by a creek. Your best bet on this hole is to aim for the 150 yard marker and leave yourself a manageable shot into this green. Too far left and you are in a large fairway bunker, too far right and you will have a very long approach shot over a creek. This is a two tier green and a large green so you might need an extra club if the pin is in the back; this was a very fun hole to play and the last hole we would play with Troy’s guidance.
Hole 8: Our first experience of the course with out our personal guided tour was a long dog leg right par 5; with a large tree over hanging the left side of this fairway. The fairway on this hole is very undulated. If you can keep the ball in the center of the fairway you can gain some extra yardage with roll following the slope of this fairway. Your second shot should stay a little left of the 150 yard marker here as a large bunker and leg pertrude into the rough on the right. This green is small and surrounded by bunkers and lake if you go right, when on the green on this hole you can see the large club house sitting up above the trees behind you.
Hole 9: One of the signature holes on the course in my opinion, hole 9 is long par 3 over a lake onto a green severely sloped from back to front. Normally this hole plays at about 190 yards but the tee box was moved up to about 165 yards for us; I hit a 6-Iron that might be one of the best shots I’ve ever hit, that landed about 5 feet short of the pin, and rolled softly for just outside of a tap in birdie. This is a beautiful hole, you play over a lake into a green that is in the shadows of the clubhouse with people sitting on the patio having a cocktail watching the action.
Troy told us the back nine had a few more score-able holes and I was excited to get started.
Hole 10: This hole starts out with a tee shot over a small lake in a fairway slopped from right to left; you want to play your tee shot to the right on this hole while trying to avoid the fairway bunker on the right and letting it trickle down to the center of the fairway. You will want to play your approach shot to the right side of this green, in order to leave an uphill putt, and avoid the two deep bunkers to the left.
Hole 11: This hole is a short par 4 with a fairway bunker in the center of this fairway, leaving for a difficult decision off the tee. If you stay left on this hole you will have a better look into the green but a much smaller landing area, if you stay right you will have more landing area but an angle that leaves you a very small landing area for your approach shot. This green is elevated above the fairway with a severe drop off, off the back of the green so aim for the middle of the green on this hole.
Hole 12: This is a beautiful par 3, where the tee box is elevated above a green that is surrounded by deep bunkers. This hole requires a shot to the correct level of the green, and if you are short or to the right there is a great chance the ball is going to roll down off the green into swell below the green side bunkers. If the pin is in the back left of this green, like it was for us, this is a very difficult hole location with little green to work with for a landing area.
Hole 13: What could arguably be the prettiest hole on the course, your tee shot on this long par 5 is played from the tee box over a sharp drop off that makes you feel you are in the mountains. You want to stay left on this hole to avoid the fairway and green side bunkers on the right, as well as give you the best angle into this green. The tee shot on this hole sums up the entire allure to this course and was a hole I won’t forget anytime soon.
Hole 14: This dog leg left par 4′s fairway is severly slopped from right to left and you want to favor the right side of the this fairway allowing for more roll and a better angle into this green that is guarded by bunkers and a lake to the left. This is another green where being on the right level will really help you out as this green sloped from back to front.
Hole 15: This challenging par 4 will test all aspects of your game, your tee shot has to be placed to the left of this fairway to give your self a look at this slightly elevated green which is tucked behind a creek and surrounded by bunkers. This green is sloped from back right to front left and depending where the flag is will really depend if you can attack this green with a scoring iron or have to go at it with a longer iron.
Hole 16: A longer par 3, hole 16 plays about 175 yards but is downhill so you need to factor that in when selecting your club; a left to right ball flight will help you on this hole with a ridge running through the green from the front left to the back right. Do not go long on this hole, so you can avoid the two deep bunkers in the back of the green.
Hole 17: A reachable par 4, this hole’s fairway has a down slope that feeds into the green. If you can play a slight left to right shot, aimed over the fairway bunker on the right of this fairway you will be in ideal position to make birdie on this hole. If you do miss left with your driver there are fairway/green side bunkers in three positions to punish and the right of this fairway is lined with woods so this is a true risk reward style hole.
Hole 18: That brings us to the final hole of the course, a reachable par 5, in which your tee shot has to carry at least 180 yards over a large lake that opens to a wide fairway. Sitting on this tee box you can really take in the beauty of the course as you are hitting over a lake into a gorgeous fairway all in the shadows of the club house sitting high upon a hill. You want to try and stay left on this fairway to give yourself a view on your second shot as the right hand side of this fairway is very undulated and leaves you with a blind second shot. If you go for this hole in two, you will have to be accurate as it is a smaller green with a lake to the left and two bunkers to the right; this is a hole you can make birdie on if you play the hole correctly and a great way to end the day at Lake Presidential.
I have played some great courses, from Myrtle beach, TPC of Louisiana to some of the courses in OC Maryland but Lake Presidential stands out from them all. It is very hard to believe this course is just miles from the Nation’s Capital as you feel alone on the course; the houses on the front 9 mingle seamlessly with the course almost making you forget they are there. Every hole is different than the one before, and offers an experience that takes you through every golf shot you have in your bag. This course is very popular and can be busy at times but yet you still feel as if the course was put there for you. The experience of getting a tour of the course from the architect/GM was amazing, and for the day we felt like more than just the average guy golfer. For the Average Golfer which I hope most of our readers are, this course is priced a little high for a weekly round but this a course you must play at least once a year. In the day and age of putting up golf courses wherever possible, Lake Presidential takes you on a trip back in time to where golf was pure, just you versus the course. This course is a must play for anyone who values the scenery and detail put into great courses.