The University of Maryland (UMD) Golf Course, carefully carved out of an 150 acre forest of mature hardwood trees, remains today as it was 50 plus years ago: a tremendous facility offering a permanent green space in an increasingly congested area; a buffer for the Anacostia River Watershed; and, a wonderful recreation area for University of Maryland students, faculty, staff, alumni, our neighbors, and the citizens of Maryland.
The course exists in wonderful contrast to the campus across the street and the surrounding area. For the past five decades, rarely was there a day when one looked to the sky on the University campus where their eyes were not drawn to the sight of a tower crane as another new building was added to meet the ever growing needs of the institution. Conversely, at the University of Maryland Golf Course just steps away across University Boulevard, if one casts their eyes to the sky they see a delightful collection of mature hardwood trees gracefully evidencing the particular season of the year. It is said when the first settlers came to America a squirrel could climb a tree in Maine and travel to Louisiana without ever touching the ground. Glancing around on almost any hole on the course provides a sense of how that was once the case. By its very existence the course shows the University’s commitment to the environment and the need to maintain green-space and the heritage of the surrounding area.
President Wilson Elkins dedicated the course on May 15, 1959. The inscription on the commemorative plaque honoring the event states that the course was for “the health, recreation, and welfare of the University community.” Dr. Elkins was a forward thinking man – however, not even he dared dream what the course would become to the University and surrounding community. As an institution the University of Maryland has lead the fight for diversity and the course reflects the school’s values. At any given time, on any given day, a multicultural gathering of young and old, students and faculty, alumni, and future students, and College Park neighbors and Maryland citizens can be found enjoying a round of golf, hitting a bucket of practice balls, or walking or jogging along the course. Together they combine to play over 35,000 rounds of golf a year. Truly the course is a treasure to the institution, surrounding community and the state of Maryland. Collectively all those who enjoy the course share the opinion that the course is the institution’s premier recreations venue!
Designed by renowned golf course architect George Cobb, whose other works included the famed par 3 golf course at Augusta National, site of the Masters Golf Tournament, the University of Maryland Golf Course has seen its share of greatness and history. Jack Nicklaus once played the course. Legend has it that he failed to reach the green on the challenging par 3, 14th hole. The man who was known as the Golden Bear left a one iron short and exclaimed, “I don’t hit woods to par 3’s.” Washingtonian Lee Elder also played the course. Elder, an African American pioneer on the PGA tour was the first African American to play in the Masters tournament, breaking a decade’s long color barrier and paving the way for future superstars.
Home to multiple species of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, as well as dozens of varieties of trees, the University of Maryland Course is recognized as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by Audubon International. Only fourteen golf courses in Maryland have this designation which demands the highest standards in environmental quality management.
Many of the University’s Colleges and athletic teams have determined that the course is invaluable to their fundraising efforts. Through the years, they have hosted events at the course that have raised in excess of $1M for University related projects. The course is a natural gathering point for dedicated alumni, one of the few places on campus that retains the look and feel of days gone by.
Many amenities complement the golf course and its practice facilities, including a spacious clubhouse complete with a professionally staffed full service golf shop. The clubhouse also includes locker room facilities, banquet and conference rooms, a covered pavilion, and Mulligan’s Grill and Pub. Please join us for a visit, or even a round of golf!