I took an early start to the Labor Day weekend with a trek down to Upper Marlboro and a round at Lake Presidential Golf Club, which is part of a larger residential development. I had played a charity event at Lake Presidential back in 2009 so I was interested to see how the course had matured since then.

Lake Presidential is located off US 301; south of the Bowie/Crofton area. Because of this, your traffic time to get there can vary. If you take the Capital Beltway it’s north of Rt. 4 but south of Rt. 214. Playing early, I made easy time to get down there. I was greeted by a friendly pro shop and a cart attendant got my bag on a cart for me (they are going for the “member for a day” type of club). One nice thing is that they include range balls on their practice facility and have grass tees in season (they may use mats during the winter). Carts have GPS and the course has several sets of tees; the black tees are just over 6800 yards and have a 137 slope. The blue tees (which I played) were just under 6400 yards with a 129 slope (this I found to be a good fit). They have a championship set of tees that they normally don’t use; at over 7200 yards and a 141 slope…probably for the best. They have a grill inside and had a tented half-way hut (the grilled hot dogs were smelling pretty good), and their pro shop was very well stocked.

The course was a bit worse for wear the day I played it; several greens had dead spots and the fairways were similar. I don’t think (based on my observations) that this is down to a lack of maintenance (I saw several folks out working on the course) but rather a function of some awful weather patterns.

Lake Presidential doesn’t start off easily- the first hole is a tough, tree-lined par 4 that bends to the left and will punish any wayward drives. The first par 5 is on #3 and is no slouch (in fact, all of their par 5’s are stout and have numerous challenges).

The signature hole is #8, a tight and long par 5 with a peninsula green and several danger areas. I was lucky to get off of the green with a 6. The front 9 finishes with a longish par 3 that’s all carry over water to a 2-tiered green (I had a bit of good luck to use the slope to my advantage and ended up with a 2).

The back 9 starts tough and stays tough. The 12th is a tough downhill par 3 that looks easy but can wreck your card. The 13th was unlucky for me (it’s a beauty of a hole- a par 5 with an elevated tee to a picturesque tree-lined fairway (I’m sure it was pretty- I spent the hole hacking out of trees). From there, holes 15-18 give you a chance to recover and end positively. 16 is a downhill par 3 to a large green, 17 is a short par 4 that the big hitters could go for (or you could go into the trees on the right)…which leads to 18. 18 is a par 5 that requires a longish carry over a lake to a fairly generous fairway and ends with a very tricky green (for me at least- I three-jacked it to end with a dissatisfactory bogey after 2 great shots had me thinking birdie).

Because of its proximity and relationship with the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor, they get their fair share of outings (which if we’re being honest can’t help with conditions).

All in all, it’s a tough but fun track. Would I go back? Yes assuming I could keep the ball in the fairway.