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John Moore II

Today I made it down to play the Naval Academy Golf Course. Very good course. One of the best routings I have seen on a golf course. Every hole seemed to fit very well. This course had a great amount of movement in the land for being as close to the bay/ocean as it is; I expected it to be much, much flatter. Course has a non-standard (well, modern standard anyway) set of holes, 2 par 5's, 3 par 3's, and 13 par 4's. The par 5's are both high quality, as are the par 3's. I can honestly say that I don't think there was a really weak hole on the course. Hopefully a fair number from here have played this course and will give a few comments. I will most likely play this one again, possibly this weekend, and post pictures. I will give a hole-by-hole review perhaps tonight or tomorrow when my internet connection is better; unless someone else wants to do it.

Hole photos coming slowly.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 10:14:27 PM by John K. Moore »

David Egan

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 08:33:57 PM »
I played this course a lot when I was in college, probably 25-30 times.  I remember a few of the holes, especially #17 - the downhill par 3 with severe drop off on each side (I don't think I've ever hit that green) but I'm sure more will come back with some pictures. What I really remember from that course were the greens. They were always the best and fastest greens we played all year.  Are they still as pure as they were in the mid-90s?

John Moore II

Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 09:38:14 PM »
I played this course a lot when I was in college, probably 25-30 times.  I remember a few of the holes, especially #17 - the downhill par 3 with severe drop off on each side (I don't think I've ever hit that green) but I'm sure more will come back with some pictures. What I really remember from that course were the greens. They were always the best and fastest greens we played all year.  Are they still as pure as they were in the mid-90s?

The greens were suffering a bit today, probably because of the hot and humid summer that the mid-Atlantic region has experienced. 17 was a very good par 3, superb drop-shot hole with a drop off on all sides; certainly a Volcano green.

I actually thought the greens were the weakest part of the course. There is just not a lot of internal contour on most of them. Some have some false fronts and such, but nothing like the movement seen in greens at courses like Riverfront, Tobacco Road or Royal New Kent.

Pretty much every hole plays up, down or to the side of a hill. Only 9 and 18 are flatish. As much as I want to try and describe the holes, I am just going to wait until I get the pictures, otherwise I will not come close to doing the course any justice. As I said before, I think this routing is superb.

Tom_Doak

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 09:39:00 PM »
John K Moore:  Interesting to read this, because I've never heard anyone mention the course before.

John Moore II

Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 10:02:56 PM »
John K Moore:  Interesting to read this, because I've never heard anyone mention the course before.

Tom-It has been mentioned on here a few times, but no one has done any kind of review.

This is a small review from Tommy Williamson from a few years ago:
I played in an outing today aat the Naval Academy golf course.  They both were parishoners and I knew them well.  I just had never played golf with them.  The academy course is an interesting William Flynn design that I don't think has been changed much except for some bunkering.  

We played as a three ball and the format was the best two scores of each hole.  Double par is the maximum score anyone can take on a hole.  I have never written down so many eights and tens in my life.
Here is my new definition of penal.
Any shot that has to carry a bunker.  I don't even want to talk about water.
Any shot out of a bunker that you can't hit with a putter.
Any shot to an elevated green.
Any putt that breaks more than five feet.
Any downhill putts.
Any tree within 100 yards left or right of the tee box.

Now the score was not told me in the confessional, but some modicum of decency is still left in my soul so I won't reveal it.

Now I must say that it may have been one of the most fun days I have spent on a golf course in a long time.  On the other hand I'm not ready to do it again.

I must admit that I don't agree with what he says here, though I must admit that all these features do exist on the course. Well, I didn't have any putts that broke more than 5 feet. And I don't understand how downhill putts are penal; after all, the only way to not have a downhill putt is to not have any uphill ones either...and that makes for exactly flat greens.

Tom-If you are in Maryland now, I am sure a round can be arranged. I'll be happy to join you, I will play here again for sure.

Tom_Doak

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 10:09:28 PM »
John:

I haven't been to Maryland since they closed Beechtree, although I had not thought of it as a silent protest until today.  I'm up at North Shore in New York tonight, headed home in the morning to get away from the tropical storm.

Bill_McBride

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 10:16:21 PM »
John, glad to see you figured out a way to get on there!  I was sure you could!

John Moore II

Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 10:24:43 PM »
Aerial view of the course, back nine on top, front nine below, just like the course is laid out:





Bill-The problem was not getting myself onto the course, active duty have access. I had hoped to get a couple of other guys from the site on there; I can play myself but not bring guests. Apparently, the course is not a true military course. It is owned and operated by the USNA Alumni Association and active duty and retired personnel are allowed to play. I did not know that before today.

Jason Connor

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2010, 11:11:09 PM »
Great info John, thank you.  I didn't know anything about this course either.

I played the re-done course at University of Maryland this summer and was also surprised at the elevation changes there because I don't remember the campus being that hilly my few times on it.

I make it to the area a few times a year, so I'm wondering how accessible is the Naval Academy course to the public? 
(and if the answer is not accessible to the general public, please do not regard this as me asking for access!)


We discovered that in good company there is no such thing as a bad golf course.  - James Dodson

Pete_Pittock

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 01:16:29 AM »
I was there in 2003.
Some front nine pics
Hole 2 approach

Hole 3 approach

Hole 8 approach

Hole 10 approach
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 09:53:28 PM by Pete_Pittock »

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 01:19:53 AM »
John K Moore:  Interesting to read this, because I've never heard anyone mention the course before.

Tom-It has been mentioned on here a few times, but no one has done any kind of review.

This is a small review from Tommy Williamson from a few years ago:
I played in an outing today aat the Naval Academy golf course.  They both were parishoners and I knew them well.  I just had never played golf with them.  The academy course is an interesting William Flynn design that I don't think has been changed much except for some bunkering.  

We played as a three ball and the format was the best two scores of each hole.  Double par is the maximum score anyone can take on a hole.  I have never written down so many eights and tens in my life.
Here is my new definition of penal.
Any shot that has to carry a bunker.  I don't even want to talk about water.
Any shot out of a bunker that you can't hit with a putter.
Any shot to an elevated green.
Any putt that breaks more than five feet.
Any downhill putts.
Any tree within 100 yards left or right of the tee box.

Now the score was not told me in the confessional, but some modicum of decency is still left in my soul so I won't reveal it.

Now I must say that it may have been one of the most fun days I have spent on a golf course in a long time.  On the other hand I'm not ready to do it again.

I must admit that I don't agree with what he says here, though I must admit that all these features do exist on the course. Well, I didn't have any putts that broke more than 5 feet. And I don't understand how downhill putts are penal; after all, the only way to not have a downhill putt is to not have any uphill ones either...and that makes for exactly flat greens.

Tom-If you are in Maryland now, I am sure a round can be arranged. I'll be happy to join you, I will play here again for sure.

John, the remarks were about the quality of players not a rreview of the course.  It was a tongue in cheek stab at my playing partners.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Pete_Pittock

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 08:07:46 PM »
My golf professional was able to make arrangements.

Hole 11 tee shot


Hole 12


Hole 15


Hole 16 approach


Hole 17




« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 02:20:26 PM by Pete_Pittock »

ed_getka

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 09:17:50 PM »
Maybe my son's interest in the Naval Academy isn't such a bad thing after all. Thanks for bringing the course to our attention John.
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

John Moore II

Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 09:45:46 PM »
Maybe my son's interest in the Naval Academy isn't such a bad thing after all. Thanks for bringing the course to our attention John.

Naval Academy is a great school. Top of the line academics and you don't have to pay a dime, directly anyway. This is a good course for sure.


Tommy W-I kind of wondered if your comments were cheeky, but I posted that anyway. Either way, that is a pretty good description of the challenges you can see in the course.

John_Conley

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 02:07:03 PM »
Wow, this looks terrific.  Battling Eau Claire G&CC for "Greatest Course You've Never Heard Of" honors!

Tom MacWood

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2010, 12:20:54 AM »
It looks like a damn good course, and Annapolis is a wonderful place.

Mark Luckhardt

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2010, 08:06:04 AM »
It is a great course. Having installed internal greens drainage on those greens over the past few years, and seen the late afternoon shadows creep over the bunker banks, very serene.

They were talking of rebuilding those beautiful old greens a few years back, but thankfully they opted to install XGD and consider a regrassing effort. Keeping poa alive and fast in that region is tough.

Superintendent Tom Schemmel and staff do a great job there, as play is ridiculousy heavy nearly year round. Tom also is kept busy taking care of the Naval Academy football field as well. Very cool job.

John Moore II

Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2010, 05:05:18 PM »
It is a great course. Having installed internal greens drainage on those greens over the past few years, and seen the late afternoon shadows creep over the bunker banks, very serene.

They were talking of rebuilding those beautiful old greens a few years back, but thankfully they opted to install XGD and consider a regrassing effort. Keeping poa alive and fast in that region is tough.

Superintendent Tom Schemmel and staff do a great job there, as play is ridiculousy heavy nearly year round. Tom also is kept busy taking care of the Naval Academy football field as well. Very cool job.

Mark-do you agree that the greens don't have a great deal of movement in them? I thought the routing and the tiered bunker placement was very, very good, but that the greens were generally fairly flat. Do you agree with that assessment?

I am hoping to get back there tomorrow and take a load of pictures, more than I usually take. I may or may not get them posted before I leave Baltimore.

For those others who have played or seen the course, what further commentary do you have? I thought the course was very, very well laid out, not just the routing, but the combination of holes.

Among the 2 par 5's, the 3rd is semi-reachable but quite narrow and also it is quite likely that you will be playing off a side-hill lie from the fairway. The other par 5, the 14th, is somewhat more reachable, plays very much downhill off the tee, but them the same amount uphill to the green. Add to that the green has a fairly deep bunker fronting the center of the green, forcing the player who wants to go for the green in two to hit a high, long shot exactly over it.

The par 3's also have great variety. The 4th is a long par 3, 215~ yards and plays somewhat uphill. The 7th is mid-length, playing roughly 185 yards (I don't have my scorecard handy). And the 17th is a great short/drop shot hole, playing about 155 yards from the back tee but downhill. Add to that the 17th has a fantastic green complex being a Volcano style with steep slopes on all sides; the fall off on the right side (fair to the slicers or not) is about 10 feet from the green surface to the ground.

And the par 4's vary from roughly 310 yards up to about 460 yards. Hole 6 plays 335 downhill, the 8th plays around 455 flat to the fairway and uphill to the green. The first is 425~ yards steeply uphill to the green. The 12th is a fantastic hole playing downhill off the tee to a fairway that runs off into rough and a valley that allows water to run down into the lowland area that flanks the hole to the right. From there, it plays greatly uphill to the green.

Sorry for all you who think running the ball onto the green aught to always be necessary, on a fair number of holes here at USNA, its just not possible, 7, 12, 14 and 17 come to mind as holes where a run-up is basically impossible and the uphill nature of many others makes a run-up shot very difficult.

One other thing I noticed, somewhat of a disappointment. I was quite surprised to see they had bermuda fairways, and what seemed to be old common bermuda at that. I had hoped to play a course with different fairways than I was used to, perhaps zoysia or even a cool season grass. Oh well, I don't hold that against the course here.

Mark Luckhardt

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2010, 05:38:07 PM »
John,  I would agree the greens don't exhibit a lot of movement.  The green sites in of themselves are the eye candy here as well as the tiered bunkering as you mention which tips off quite a few striking green sites.

The 17th is well described as a great drop shot hole to a smallish green, with the intercoastal in the deep background.

They have a 2-3' zoysiagrass rings around the bunkers here as well. Kind of sets off each bunker in the offseason when the bermuda is more dormant.

Pete_Pittock

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2010, 05:42:16 PM »
I don't remember a lot of internal contouring on the greens, but that was seven years ago. But most ar built into a slope and the navy guys I played with seemed to have trouble with pitches, rolls and yaws of the overall course.

John Moore II

Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2010, 06:39:34 PM »
John,  I would agree the greens don't exhibit a lot of movement.  The green sites in of themselves are the eye candy here as well as the tiered bunkering as you mention which tips off quite a few striking green sites.

The 17th is well described as a great drop shot hole to a smallish green, with the intercoastal in the deep background.

They have a 2-3' zoysiagrass rings around the bunkers here as well. Kind of sets off each bunker in the offseason when the bermuda is more dormant.

Mark-Given you have worked on the course a good amount, how much of the course is still original and how much has been lost over the years? How original are the greens or have some internal contours been lost?

Mark_Fine

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2010, 08:35:47 AM »
There are old threads on this course from years ago for those interested.  With all due respect, the bunkering there needs much attention.  It is not the place you'd send someone to see Flynn bunkers.   I have not played the course since 2004 but it looks like not much has changed for the better.  Course does have potential.   

Kris Shreiner

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2010, 10:02:10 AM »
That looks like a fine track! Thanks John and Pete, for a nice overview of what seems like an overlooked gem. The course condition is impressive as well, judging from the presentation when those pics were taken. About how much play does it get on an annual basis?

Cheers,
Kris 8)
"I said in a talk at the Dunhill Tournament in St. Andrews a few years back that I thought any of the caddies I'd had that week would probably make a good golf course architect. We all want to ask golfers of all abilities to get more out of their games -caddies do that for a living." T.Doak

Mark Luckhardt

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Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2010, 02:59:23 PM »
Kris,

I cannot say for sure on the rounds, but it always seems right full of golf, especially its location, gives it early spring, and late fall great playing conditions. I believe a membership there is quite a bargain if you are navy material.

John,

Regarding how much is original, can't exactly say but will try to find out for you.The greens all seem to be native pushup material in terms of their soil makeup, but they still could have been improved upon in this way in the 1950's.
I do know the last bunker renovation was probably 10 years ago.


Mike Cirba

Re: US Naval Academy Golf Course--Annapolis, MD--William Flynn
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2010, 08:20:49 PM »
John

Thanks for sharing this thread.   Now I'm REALLY wishing we were able to arrange to play there.   

Frankly, it looks pretty terrific in the pictures.

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