Within our nation’s capital, we're currently encountering unprecedented changes. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let me clarify by stating that I’m not talking about change within the political realm, but instead the golf world. For those unfamiliar, back in September of 2020, The National Links Trust signed a 50-year lease with the National Park Service to renovate and operate all three of Washington D.C’s municipal courses: East Potomac (Southwest), Rock Creek Park Golf Course (Northwest) and Langston Golf Course (Northeast).
(Photo of historic East Potomac Golf Course from National Links Trust)
To provide some background, the National Links Trust is a non profit who’s dedicated to protecting and promoting accessible, affordable and engaging municipal courses to positively impact local communities across the United States of America. As a part of their first project in our nation’s capital, they partnered with three world-renowned golf course architects on the redesign – Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Beau Welling. Additionally, what’s even more remarkable is of the estimated $65 million project scope, not one tax dollar will be funding the project. All funds going into the course renovation will be coming from private donations and revenue from managing the redesigned courses.
Although they haven’t been able to break soil on the course reconstruction due to pending permitting approval from the National Park Service, they have however wasted no time in implementing new initiatives and upgrades where possible. These include adding a new driving range incorporating Toptracer technology at Langston, partnering with the Evans Scholars foundation and WGA to establish a youth caddie program and releasing a new routing design for the courses at East Potomac (to name a few).
(Rebranded course logos created by Sugarloaf Social Club)
Having lived and worked in the district and having been able to play these courses gives me a heightened interest on these historic changes occurring within our capital. Though, the real reason I’m writing this is to help shed some light on why you should care about this as well. Through organizations such as the NLT, we now have an opportunity to both protect and revitalize these historic courses we know and love. Not only will this benefit golfers and non-golfers alike, but it will also set a precedent to help communities as a byproduct of this great game. In our current world of uncertainties and partisanship, it’s gratifying to see an organization like the NLT working to restore and progress municipal golf for all to enjoy.