Jack Nicklaus delivers on Washington, D.C. newcomer Potomac Shores

Monday September 8th, 2014
The forced carry on the par-4 second at Potomac Shores is an early indicator of the challenges yet to come.
Allen Kennedy

With all the Beltway bickering that blankets the mid-Atlantic, it's comforting to come across a newcomer in Washington, D.C., that appeals to all: Potomac Shores Golf Club.

Situated just across the Virginia border near Dumfries, 30 miles south of D.C.'s Reagan National Airport, Potomac Shores is the first public-access Jack Nicklaus Signature design in the D.C. area.

The course opened in May 2014, though not without a fight. Construction began in 2006 and was nearly completed in 2008 when work came to a screeching halt because of the recession.

In 2011, new developer SunCal emerged and retained original Nicklaus staff architect Rick Jacobson and superintendent David McGregor to restore what they could and change what they needed to.

The results were worth the wait. In classic Nicklaus design style, the layout will batter you if you play the wrong shot, but it's also eminently fair. Wide, firm and fast fairways are framed by mature hardwoods, while tall fescue grasses lead to vast, rippling bent-grass greens. There's plenty of eye candy along the way, with downhill plunges and dramatic forced carries over or alongside wetlands, most notably on the 575-yard, par-5 10th.

Exceptional public courses in or near our nation's capital are as rare as the passing of a bipartisan bill, but if it were running for office, Potomac Shores would be elected in a landslide.

Potomac Shores Golf Club, Potomac Shores, Va.
7,020 yards, par 72; green fees: $95-$115
571-383-3050

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