A blue flag on a pole stands alone on a golf green, with a stand of autumnal trees forming a wall behind the fairway approaching the green.
Rock Creek Park Golf Course

NPS / Claire Hassler

Rock Creek Park Golf Course

Located on the east side of Rock Creek Park, along 16th Street NW, north of Military Road NW in Washington, DC, the Rock Creek Park Golf Course consists of an 18-hole, parkland style golf course. The 103-acre course is located approximately six miles northwest of the United States Capitol and three miles south of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Play a 9-hole or 5-hole course, visit the pro shop and snack shop, or test your skills on the putting green! Book a tee time and get current information on rates and services at Play DC Golf.


Washington, DC's, public golf courses are all from the Golden Age of golf, a period of explosive growth of the sport's popularity in America in the early 20th century. Architect William S. Flynn designed the Rock Creek Park Golf Course, which was built between 1921 and 1926 under the direction of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds. Flynn's design sought inspiration from and harmony with the existing landscape. The course's design incorporated the terrain and stands of mature trees to provide vistas and scenic routes along the course. The design also incorporated an existing farmhouse by converting it into a clubhouse. The original nine-hole course opened in May 1923, with President Warren G. Harding in attendance.

The immediate popularity of the course prompted a redesign to expand the course to a full eighteen holes, which opened in 1926. The expanded course featured a leveler, easier front nine in the southeastern half of the course and a more difficult back nine, known for a steep climb up "Cardiac Hill." Today, golfers play down this hill rather than up.

The rerouting and widening of Military Road in the late 1950s required the modification of several of the holes on the front nine, designed by architect William F. Gordon. Between 1963 and 1965 the National Park Service built a new clubhouse. After changes were made to several of the holes on the back nine in the early 1970s, the holes were brought back to their original configuration in the early 1980s. Rock Creek Park Golf Course was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource to the Rock Creek Park Historic District in 1991.



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Rehabilitation Project

a digitally rendered image showing people using a putting green in front of a golf clubhouse building
Rendered image of the proposed putting green and clubhouse at Rock Creek Park Golf Course

Courtesy of National Links Trust

The National Park Service and National Links Trust will begin rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Golf Course in late 2024. 

Why rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Golf Course is needed
Everything has a lifespan, and the course is more than 100 years old. Rock Creek Park Golf Course suffers from poor course playability, deteriorated cart paths, erosion and poor irrigation systems, invasive/ nuisance vegetation, and dead and dying trees. The small, worn clubhouse does not support golf course operations and is not accessible to persons with mobility disabilities.

Improvements for visitor access and affordability
The rehabilitated Rock Creek Park Golf Course will attract a wider range of golfers from beginners to experienced. As a public golf course managed by the nonprofit National Links Trust, the price to play is low and, in some cases, free. The large practice putting green, modeled after the Himalayas Putting Green at St. Andrews in Scotland, will be free to use and will serve those who wish to practice putting on their own or play a match with friends over the half-acre rolling green. A practice facility with a short-game area, driving range, and indoor hitting bays will also invite golfers of all levels.   

In addition to the golf improvements, there will be new trails, meadows, and a restaurant.  

Also, employees will have better working conditions and there will be an improved space to host the golfer development programs the non-profit National Links Trust manages.    

Improvements for the environment 
From an ecological perspective, the golf course will be managed sustainably. The installation of cold tolerant Bermuda grass for fairways and tees along with the latest generation of bent grass for greens will minimize using water, fertilizer and plant protectants. Construction of the par 3 short course will allow the golf holes that are currently closed in the northwest portion of the property to be converted to 4.5 acres of pollinator meadows thereby increasing and improving habitat. 

Impacts and mitigations 
Removing dead trees is important for safety reasons because they are prone to falling and causing damage to people and property. Meanwhile invasive trees threaten native species by outcompeting them for sunlight, water and nutrients. Invasive trees have covered original stands of trees leaving a dense impenetrable border obscuring views and reducing playability.  

Removal of 2 acres of trees at the course will enable 4.5 acres of currently closed golf holes in the northwest of the course to be converted to a meadow for pollinators. We also are removing trees to accommodate two holes for the Par 3 beginner course. 


Tree Canopy and Planting Zones

existing tree canopy in green existing tree canopy in green

Left image
Existing tree canopy
Credit: NPS

Right image
Proposed tree canopy and planting zones
Credit: NPS

The left image shows the existing tree canopy. The right image shows the proposed tree canopy and planting zones.



These two dropdowns provide more detailed alt descriptions of the maps in the slider feature above.


Proposed timeline
Construction is tentatively planned to start in late 2024. It is expected to take two years to complete the rehabilitation of Rock Creek Park Golf Course. The first year will focus on the clubhouse area and the maintenance facility with the golf course work taking place in year two. 

Funding the project
National Links Trust (NLT), a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historic golf courses while promoting accessibility, affordability, and engagement with the public, is paying for the $25 to $35 million project with loans, donations and revenue. 

Learn more about the project 
More information about the Rock Creek Park Golf Course rehabilitation project is available on the National Park Service's Planning, Environment & Public Comment website at

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      Last updated: April 25, 2024

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      Contact Info

      Mailing Address:

      5200 Glover Rd, NW
      Washington, DC 20015


      202 895-6000
      Rock Creek Park's main phone line.

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