The East Coast 18: TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm

TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm: In the company of a very famous private-club neighbor

The 16th at TPC Potomac is an uphill par 4 requiring precision through the hole.


$25 million can buy you a casino.

It can also buy you a Tom Fazio/Pete Dye/Davis Love III/Fred Funk redesign worthy of a top-tier Tour event.

Less than 10 miles from the nation’s capital, TPC Potomac first opened its doors—across the street from Congressional Country Club—in 1986, to a chorus of architecturally directed boos and a flood of… well… floods. Yeah, it didn’t get out of the gate all that great, but the PGA Tour believes it’s a legitimate comeback kid, and they’re heavily investing in the private Potomac, Md. property.

How heavily? For the second year in a row, TPC Potomac is once again the host of a prestigious PGA event—the Quicken Loans National (June 25-July 1, 2018), albeit likely for the final time for the foreseeable future.

Two decades of public drama and golfer trauma couldn’t keep this amazing topographical staircase down, especially not when Steven Wenzloff and Jim Hardy came in after the final Booz Allen Classic (in 2006) and gutted the place—literally altering every hole before the 2009 re-opening. You can’t control Mother Nature though. There are still a few holes running alongside the temperamental Rock Run Creek (five by my count), but it’s been widened and cleaned out, and every day and extra inch of fairway makes this course just that much more playable and enjoyable.

Hole No. 2 at TPC Potomac is a captivating par 3.

My son and I played with a member and his guest—a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. The member was an extremely helpful human yardage guide—even including a hole-by-hole history of the redesign. And Mr. Pulitzer gave me a list of ways I could redesign my writing—equally helpful, no doubt.

“This place will eat your lunch,” Mr. Member said. “But if you don’t mind sharing, you’ll love her.”

I do mind sharing, though, and carded a 38 on the front—barely edging my 12-year old’s best-nine-ever 39 (with thirteen pars between us) before Rock Run Creek and the back nine had its way with us both.

“Thought you two were sand baggers,” Mr. Pulitzer said.

“No,” I replied. “Just really good 9-hole players.”

The par-70 course reaches 7139 yards from the championship tees (where Tiger Woods will play from this year) but offers four other sets of tees for the “less champion” among us.

I can absolutely see why the PGA Tour wants to showcase TPC Potomac to the world, and why the members here are already lamenting the coveted rounds hosting The National costs them. Some networks get worse and worse every year with their programming. The TPC Network just keeps getting better.

About the author

Eric N. Hart

Eric Hart (aka MobileGolfer) is an award-winning travel and leisure writer for Golf News Net and the owner of Stays + Plays Travel Agency in the Midwest. Eric has stayed at 250-plus resorts and hotels around the world and played 500-plus golf courses. He has worked with 16 tourism agencies and written more than 1,100 articles for 14 regional, national and international golf, family and travel publications since he began in 2007. With a passion for promoting both golf and family travel, Eric routinely hits the road with his son and/or the full family (wife and four kids).

Reach Eric by email at info[at]