Chevy Chase Club was instituted in 1892 as a refuge where Washington DC’s elite could enjoy fox hunting and other sports and recreations in a bucolic setting. Golf arrived at Chevy Chase in 1895 in the shape of a rudimentary 6-hole course, but it would take another fifteen years for the club to acquire sufficient land for Donald Ross to fashion an 18-hole course for the club’s illustrious members.
Charles “Hugh” Alison, Harry Colt’s right-hand man, spent nine years in the USA after the Great War and he designed more than twenty new courses and revised many others. Chevy Chase Club was one such Alison revision in 1924. Robert Trent Jones made further course revisions soon after the Second World War and Tom Clark made additional changes in 1990.
"Chevy Chase is known locally for its charming clubhouse, unhurried atmosphere and pleasant golf course set on gently rolling topography," wrote Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. "The reachable par five 10th, its fairway leaning towards a hazard that runs along the left side of the hole and then cuts in front of the green, is one of those rare holes that technology has improved, as more people can reach in two and the second shot from the slightly hanging lie over the water is exhilarating.”
Golf course architect J. Drew Rogers commented as follows:
“Arthur Hills was hired in the early ‘90’s to again examine the course and to solve some of the irrigation storage issues that plagued the Club. The result was an effort by Arthur and I to restore the course, more in the style of Ross again, making it more cohesive. Squared tee boxes, refined green surfaces and restored bunkering were elemental to the effort. We also developed a plan for a storage lake near the back end of the property – a lake that would collect surface run-off and could be fed by a well. This would serve to reduce the need for purchasing expensive city water in order to irrigate the course. The placement of the pond necessitated reconfiguration of several holes, including the omission of the par-three 10th, but would also create dynamic, strategic and aesthetic elements on the course.
Today, the course suggests some reminders of what once was, but it has certainly evolved. The bunkering style is not quite right and could be thoughtfully recovered if so desired by the Club - and that would go a long way toward more completely restoring its original character. Nonetheless, this golf course is a true classic in every sense... one that was love at first sight for me. The Club keeps a relatively low profile so it is not often experienced, but it is one of those Clubs you have to visit if invited.”
Click the link to read Drew’s full Chevy Chase Club story.