The second round of golf that we played on our family vacation to Landsdowne Resort was on the Greg Norman course. We were expecting pretty good weather when we booked the trip but had a strange front blow through that made it unseasonably cold and caught us, especically me, a little off guard. I hadn’t even packed a long sleeve shirt, so I had to borrow a jacket from my Dad the day we played the Norman course. Here we were just a few days before the start of June and the temperature never got out of the mid-50s. It was pretty crazy.
The Greg Norman designed course at Landsdowne Resort opened in 2005 . . . 14 years after the first course opened. That seems like an unusually long period of time between the two course openings, but I’m not sure the resort needed anymore than one course until the golf and real estate boom of the early 21st century. With the Washington D.C. urban sprawl having reached what was once a rural area I would guess that the resort began seeing more local play on their course and decided that they could sustain a second 18.
The Norman course differs greatly from the Jones course in that it is set amongst the trees and at times (2 or 3 holes) along the Potomac River which is a stark contrast to the Jones course’s setting amidst the high rises and office parks. Below is a picture taken on the 3rd green that shows just how close the river is to the course at times.
Another little point of interest here is that holes 6 through 9 measure exactly 1760 yards (1 mile) and Greg Norman himself has declared it to be the hardest mile in golf. Seems to me that Norman would have saved that “hardest mile in golf” moniker for 1,760 yards worth of golf holes on the back nine at Augusta National . . . hahaha. I kid, I kid . . . well, not really.
I thought the greens on this course were in great shape and rolling really well. The internal contours were fairly mild but had plenty enough movement to provide some challenging putts. The photo below is of the 11th green which I would say is fairly typical of the style of the greens on the course.
Below is a photo taken from the 12th tee box which is a pretty good representation of what the Norman Course at Landsdowne offers. The fairways were often lined with trees or low lying marshy areas that require players to be accurate off the tee. Even though I wasn’t hitting the ball all that well, I didn’t feel too terribly choked by the width of the fairways. Players who go too far wayward will be punished severely, but overall I thought the fairways were plenty generous.
It didn’t take me long to decide that I liked the Norman Course much better than the Jones Course. I hate to say that I was swayed by the courses surroundings, but given the choice of playing through the trees and along the banks of a river versus playing through corporate suburbia I’m going to choose the former every single time. I will say that I think the Jones course with its hills and elevation changes has a little bit of an edge over the Norman when it comes to the variety of the terrain. The Norman Course at times feels like a bunch of holes running parallel to each other that have been crammed onto a flat, narrow, strip of land. That said, with the location along the Potomac River I don’t think that is too surprising. The bottom line is that I enjoyed the Norman Course, and despite it being more difficult than the Jones, it is my preference between the two.