The last time I played Waverly Woods was in September 2015, and to put it politely I was unimpressed about the pace of play (and more importantly that nobody from the course seemed to give a rip). I wrote some pretty unflattering words, and I meant (and still do) every word of it based on what was happening at the time. For a course to permit rounds going over 5 1/2 hours in your dew-sweeper groups is doing the game a disservice not to mention area golfers. It’s simply going to kill the game.
However, I gave this quite a bit of thought, and wanted to see if things had changed there. If I’m being honest, I wanted it to improve because the layout is one of the best in the area, and seeing the course function better serves the golfing public far better than if it’s known as a pace-of-play graveyard. If I make pointed complaints, much of it comes from wanting to see this area serve public golfers better. I seek not to take people down, but rather, to hopefully see things elevated.
It was in this vein that I made the relatively short drive up to Marriottsville on a chilly Sunday morning (I was worried about a frost delay but we escaped that). After parking and changing shoes, I went into the pro shop and paid my green fee (range balls were included but I didn’t really have time to hit balls so I went to the short game area and hit a few chips before we started our round).
Despite what must be a challenging winter, the course was, for the most part, in pretty good shape. Fairways were well manicured, rough wasn’t overly penal, and the greens were fairly true. One of their members was in my group and he mentioned that they had hired a new GM at the course (apparently the previous one enjoyed the free golf perk quite a bit, while the new one seems to be more concerned about how the course operates) that had been well received.
The good news- pace of play was better (we were first out so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be). The other twosome in our group were good guys who needed the occasional nudge, but by and large kept it moving. We finished in 3 hours and 40 minutes (and more importantly the group in back of us only waited on us 2-3 times…still 2-3 times more than they should have had to, but by the time we got to the back nine we hardly saw them).
I did notice that marshals/player assistants on carts at least 2-3 times during the round. I won’t speculate if they were looking at a time par or making sure we weren’t holding up the group in back of us, but nothing was said to us (I know this is never fun but even a “doing okay fellas but let’s keep things moving- you shouldn’t be seeing the group in back of you” can be well received).
The layout is largely unchanged from my visit two years ago, nor should it need to be changed. It remains a great test with a very wide range of hole lengths (both short and long par 4’s and par 3’s). The 13th hole (above) is as tough of a par 3 as you’ll fine in the area. Miss left and you’re well below the hole. Miss right and you’ve got an almost impossible chip shot downhill to a very slick green. Even on the green if on the wrong half relative to the hole location is brutal as well.
While you do see homes on most holes, only on a few holes are they really in play (and this is the reality we have with newer courses).
So all in all, I had a good time at Waverly Woods. If you can keep the ball in the fairway and get around in four hours, it’s as good of a test of golf that exists for public golfers in the DMV. They have a pro-shop/grill room that has what you’d expect to see. They do have a beverage cart during the warmer months (didn’t see one when I played), and as I’ve mentioned before, the green grass driving range and their short game area are better than you’d see at most private clubs.