Course Architect: Walter J. Travis
Year Opened: 1911
Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland
Slope: 140. Rating: 72.1
Par: 70
Yardage: 6,608
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 374 Yds    10 - Par 4 430 Yds
                      2 - Par 4 459 Yds    11 - Par 4 431 Yds
                      3 - Par 4 357 Yds    12 - Par 5 518 Yds
                      4 - Par 3 212 Yds    13 - Par 3 168 Yds
                      5 - Par 5 541 Yds    14 - Par 4 423 Yds
                      6 - Par 4 455 Yds    15 - Par 4 374 Yds
                      7 - Par 4 325 Yds    16 - Par 3 160 Yds
                      8 - Par 3 186 Yds    17 - Par 4 320 Yds
                      9 - Par 4 442 Yds    18 - Par 4 433 Yds
                      Par 35  3,351 Yds     Par 35  3,257 Yds

Key Events Held: U.S. Open (1921),
                 World Championship of Golf (1925),
                 International Golf Championship (1955),
                 Canada Cup (1955),
                 U.S. Junior Amateur (2003).

Awards Won: Designated one of America's Historic Golf Courses (1995)
            by Golf Digest.

HISTORY: Steeped in tradition and history, Columbia Country Club was founded
in 1898 and, at the time, was regarded as a country retreat, well outside the
nation's capital. However, times have changed and so has the lay of the land,
as the Club is now inside the Washington, D.C. beltway. The name of the course
was originally Columbia Golf Club and was organized in 1898 by a group of nine
men with 20 original members. It took just 10 years for Columbia to host its
first key event, the 1921 U.S. Open. Jim Barnes made history when he captured
that title, defeating Walter Hagen and Columbia head professional, Fred
McLeod, by nine shots, the third-largest winning margin in Open history.
McLeod, who became the club's first professional in 1912, won the U.S. Open in
1908 and, to this day, is the smallest winner ever (5'4") of the championship.
McLeod, also a runner-up to Barnes at the 1919 PGA and winner of the 1938 PGA
Senior Championship, was the head professional until 1967. McLeod, part of the
rich tradition of Columbia, spent 15 years as an honorary starter at the
Masters. Over the past 91 years, Columbia has had only three head
professionals. Bill Strausbaugh took over in 1967 after earning PGA
Professional of the Year honors in 1966 and stayed on until current pro Bob
Dolan took over in 1995. Several members have had success in USGA events, such
as Martin R. West III and Roland MacKenzie. West played in two U.S. Opens,
making the cut in 1976, two Walker Cups (1973 and 1979), the 2003 U.S. Senior
Open, 19 U.S. Amateurs and he also played in three Masters. MacKenzie,
medalist at the 1925 U.S. Amateur, played on Walker Cup teams in 1926, 1928
and 1930.

REVIEW: The opening nine starts with a solid par-4, doglegging to the right
and playing slightly uphill. The tee shot must carry almost 200 yards to reach
the fairway and needs to avoid the trio of bunkers and trees left. A short
iron should remain to set up a solid birdie chance. The green slopes from back
to front and is just 28 yards in depth. The second hole is only long in
length, as it plays straight and downhill all the way to the green. The
putting surface is protected very nicely by a brook fronting the green and
bunkers left and right. Another green of 28 yards that slopes from back to
front and is lightning fast. A difficult driving hole, the third poses many
problems, none of which is length. The tee box is set off to the left and
forces the player to hit a draw to a narrow fairway that is guarded down the
entire left side by trees. The creek chases down in front of the tee and
splits prior to the fairway. The second shot will be uphill to another
severely sloping, back to front green guarded by three large bunkers and one
short of the surface. The fourth is a brute of a par-3 at 212 yards. This one-
shotter plays much longer, due to the uphill rise to the green. The surface is
extremely difficult, as it falls off on the left side and is guarded on the
right by sand. Take par and move on. Bunkers galore await the player at the
fifth. A par five of 541 yards, this hole requires extreme accuracy off the
tee. Steep sand traps guard the right side of the fairway, while trees and out
of bounds is left. The second shot is the key decision on this hole, as a huge
cross bunker will change many a thought process. The third shot is played
downhill to a tiny green guarded by five bunkers and features many tough pin
placements. The longest par four on the outward nine, the sixth, is straight
forward, playing down into a valley off the tee and then back up to the green.
The putting surface once again slopes forward and features three pot bunkers
right and one large sand trap left. It's time for a breather of sorts, as you
reach the seventh, just 325 yards. This downhill hole has a large landing area
and one of the smallest greens on the course at just 22 yards in length.
Despite the three large sand masses surrounding the green, birdies can happen
here. The eighth is a beautiful par three that plays downhill to the smallest
of greens, just 20 yards long and flanked by two extremely large bunkers. To
make matters worse, the green slopes in four different directions, making a
two-putt very difficult. Lock and load on the ninth, as this uphill par four
plays every bit of its 442 yards length. Sand adorns strategic parts of the
fairway, right and left off the tee while the putting surface has a bunker on
both sides. The green slopes to the center and front, making par a solid

The back nine begins with a rugged par four, 430 yards from the tips. The tee
shot must clear a slope in the fairway on the left side that forces your ball
toward the right rough. The second shot is then played uphill to a kidney-
shaped green that slopes from right to left, featuring a split level. Miss
short, and your approach shot will roll back down the fairway. Miss long and
sand awaits. The 11th hole is an outstanding dogleg right par four that plays
uphill all the way to the green. Sand protects the fairway on both sides, as
well as the putting surface, which is just 23 yards in depth. Another severely
sloping green with sand left and right. The first chance for birdie on the
inward nine comes in at number 12. This par five is just 518 yards, but
requires a solid tee shot in the fairway. The short grass slopes down toward a
split fairway with 80 yards of rough prior to the landing area. The second
shot must be right on the button, as the green is only 20 yards deep with sand
front and back. Bailing out left is an option, but the rough is a difficult
place to play your approach from. This hole can be had. McLeod's Ravine, as
the 13th is called, is an outstanding par-three of 168 yards, which features a
tall walking bridge from tee to green. Playing uphill, the green, which is
very narrow, is guarded on the left by three bunkers and right by trees,
making par a good score. Back-to-back doglegs await the player on 14 and 15.
The first bends to the right and features a down-sloping fairway that narrows
the farther down you go. Bunkers guard the left and grass bunkers and mounding
the right. Three-metal is the play, which leaves a short wedge to an uphill
green that slopes right to left. Miss right and sand awaits, bail left and a
difficult up-and-down awaits. Take par and move on. The 15th bends to the left
and continues the up-and-down trend of the course, as the tee shot is uphill
to a plateau while your approach shot is downhill to the green. A definite
birdie hole with a properly placed tee ball. Although the putting surface is
small and undulating, this hole can be taken advantage of. The final three
holes at Columbia Country Club could be signature holes at any course around
the country. The 16th is a spectacular par three with numerous tee boxes for
variety. Although just 160 yards, the tee shot needs to be right on the money,
as water, sand and the longest green on the course await. Water comes into
play from the tee to the green and right of the surface as it meanders its way
to the next hole. Although 39 yards long, the putting surface on the par three
is quite narrow and is guarded by three strategically placed bunkers. If the
pin is back right, there is relatively no chance for a deuce...take par and be
happy. The 17th is a fun hole, if you have patience, patience, patience. Just
320 yards from the tips, the tee shot plays down to a valley landing area just
50 yards long, so accuracy is key. Your approach shot is then uphill to the
second smallest green on the course, sloping to the center and front.
Depending upon the tee placement, the big hitters can reach the green, but why
risk it. Bunkers await just past the landing area and in front of the green
along with gnarly rough short and around the surface. Don't get cute. Give
yourself a 20-footer and don't be disappointed with four. The final hole is a
classic finisher. Playing straightaway to the clubhouse, the 18th is long and
lean and requires both length and accuracy. Three bunkers guard the landing
area while the green, 31 yards in depth, is also well flanked by sand,
including a beauty of a pot bunker up front. The putting surface features a
large slope on the left portion and is one of the quickest on the course.

Finding the course is not a problem. Making your tee time might be, as the
traffic around the area is horrendous, as you need to deal with the beltway
around the city. Just one mile in on Connecticut Avenue, Columbia Country Club
is a real test of golf and worth every minute of suffering in your car. With
the exception of the eighth hole, the course is relatively unchanged from the
one on which the 1921 U.S. Open was contested. When you first get to the
course and check the scoreboard, you might think that the venue is a pushover
at 6,608 yards. Wrong! Columbia Country Club is deceptively long with many
uphill shots and plays at least 200-300 yards longer than its yardage. The
course presents elevated tee shots to rising fairways and an assortment of
downhill/sidehill lies. Not to mention the rolling terrain and wooded layout.
Let's not forget the deep rough and undulating and miniscule greens and look
out, you'll have a tough time breaking 80. If you get the chance, by all means
necessary, play Columbia. It will make your list of best courses.