Set in 220 acres of rolling woodland within a sizeable residential property, the course at TPC Potomac underwent a recent renovation that cost in excess of twenty million dollars. It’s now a longer, tougher test for amateur and professional players alike.
The TPC Potomac course has hosted many PGA Tour events, starting with the Kemper Open back in 1987 when the venue was known as TPC at Avenal. After the Booz Allen Classic was staged in 2006, major renovation work took place which relieved the course of its hosting duties for a few years.
The old par five 6th was changed to a long par four, the par three 9th was rebuilt and the old 10th and 11th holes were combined into a new par five 10th, playing around the restored creek. The former 12th became the new 11th and the old par five 13th was replaced with a new, uphill par three 12th and a short par four 13th.
The course then held the Senior Players Championship in 2010, followed by a couple of Web.com events in 2012 and 2013. After further modifications were made in 2015 (to alter the greens on the 7th, 13th and 16th, widen the fairways on the 5th and 6th, and create more recovery options around the greens on the 3rd, 4th and 18th) the course hosted two editions of the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour in 2017 and 2018.
I love this course. Have played it 6 or 8 times now, post redesign, and like everything about it, including the 9th hole. It still suffers, I think, from its pre-redesign reputation, but I never played the earlier version.
Be happy with a par on 1, but you will have a decent chance for your first birdie on 2. In fact there are many birdie holes out here, including a drivable par 4 on the back 9, and not that many really hard par 4s - that is as long as you are hitting your driver straight.
TPC Potomac is a beast of a course, which is why it is aptly referred to as “Beast of the Beltway” — like all TPC courses, the conditioning is excellent, but where it separates itself from others is the test of golf given to both amateurs and professionals, alike. There are no easy scoring holes here. Most holes require a forced carry off the tee and into the green, with very little room for error. At 7,100 yards from the back tees, this par 70 will punish you if you are not a driver of the golf ball. The green complexes are quite contoured and tend to be very firm in the spring and fall. The initial 11 holes are absolutely punishing, before the course finally let’s up, while 16-18 create a fantastic finish in match-play.
This makes TPC Potomac easily the most difficult test of golf in the DC region - laying claim to both the highest scoring average hole on the PGA Tour in 2017 (#11) and the highest tournament scoring average for a non-major. Justin Thomas said “you could 100% host a US Open here”. The Wells Fargo Championship will be held here in 2022, when the course will have another opportunity to challenge the best in the world.
TPC Potomac is an excellent course. Got to play here yesterday and it was in great condition. The Wells Fargo PGA event is being held here in 2021 in May. The course is a good mix. There are several short par 4's. The yardage appears to be short but the course plays as a par 70. The pros will not eat this place up. The green complexes are challenging. The surfaces were very firm and there is more than a little contour. The terrain is a bit hilly and level lies are not abundant. A couple streams and ponds come into play. This is a shot makers course. If you get an invite drop everything and go. It's a fabulous day out and then some.
Greg Norman once said that the 9th hole here should be demolished, and it was, about 10 years ago when as many know a pretty significant transformation was performed. Overall, TPC Potomac is exactly what you'd expect of a tour course. Pretty wide fairways, thick penalizing rough, and deep-faced white sand bunkers, all protectors of large elevated greens.
The transformation worked, as there are a definitely a few memorable holes that make this a great course. There are many difficult holes and you will seldom find yourself with a flat lie, especially if you leave the fairway. My favorite holes on the front are the par 5 2nd, the number 1 handicap 6th, and Mr Norman's favorite hole, the par 3 9th.
Personally, I felt as if the back has a lot of initial bite. 10 and 11 are both very hard but fun holes with a perfect tee shot, your second shot over a ton of wasteland. I thought the 12th was a great par 3, with a pretty significant uphill shot required and a good bit of room to miss off to the right. The next few holes are nice purely because of the absolute amazing conditions you can expect from a TPC course, and are actually on arguable the coolest section of land of the whole course, where it really opens up and Rock Run, the tributary of the Potomac, run throughout the course (also some really nice properties along this course so close to DC). The last really memorable hole is the 17th a par 3 over the water. Tiger allegedly stayed at the house behind this hole when his tournament used to be here.
All in all, a great course you should checkout if you have the opportunity to play.
I have played TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm several times. The front nine in particularly is a very difficult golf course save for two holes while the back nine starts out with an equally high degree of difficulty before it lets up.
A member at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm would be able to take their handicap to any other course and play very well there.
It is built around woodlands, ponds, trees, and wetlands and has a fair amount of housing around it.
It lacks a consistent look and feel and offers no real personality other than extreme difficulty on many holes.
The greens are not overly done but getting to them is another story.
I would recommend that whatever tees one normally plays at their home course, they should move up a set of tees when playing her the first or second time, even if they are scratch.
Many of the holes, such as four, five, and seventeen (a par three over water) have ponds that come into play. Several other holes such as two, six, ten, eleven, and thirteen have to navigate some streams and wetlands. There are some narrow landing areas for once second shot on par fives or the tee shots on the par fours.
There are some very good holes here such as two (par five to a raised green on a shelf), three (a downhill par three made famous by Arnold Palmer scoring an ace on consecutive days), four (requiring a carry over a pond), six (wetlands all down the right), ten (more wetlands to navigate), eleven (wetlands once again on this dogleg left), and seventeen (a downhill par three over a pond that is a terrifying shot when the wind is in your face).
It is not a course I would rush to play given the difficulty of it, but if you know you are likely to score 4-5 shots higher than one's normal score, and focus on each shot individually than you will enjoy it. If you judge a course based on your score, you will likely be disappointed here.
There are no really good views from the golf course due to the large number of houses, but some of the holes on the back nine, even though difficult, offer some solitude even while the course is knocking you out. Even the very good players struggle here.