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Sunday, May 4, 2014

CONGRESSIONAL COUNTRY CLUB

CONGRESSIONAL COUNTRY CLUB
BETHESDA, MARYLAND

CONGRESSIONAL COUNTRY CLUB
500 RIVER ROAD
BETHESDA, MD  20817
301-469-2000

As you get a bit older, there is something called a "bucket list".  Those are things or places you want to see in your lifetime.  Since I started playing golf around three years ago the Masters is on my list as my #1 golf destination.  Then came St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, TPS Sawgrass and the 16th Hole at the Phoenix Open to name just a few.  Another one was playing Congressional when I learned that I had a business trip to Baltimore, Maryland.  It is one thing to want to play a great private club course and another to actually get on.  I went to work on three PGA Professionals that I know in Hawaii.  One said forget it and the other said he would make some calls.  Neither one came through so I tried a third Club Pro and made my request.  A day later I received an email that said it would be tough but hang on and he will get back with me.  A few more emails were exchanged between us going over dates, club protocol and rules and finally the cost.  He gave me the cost per person for green fees and I about fell over.  $500 per person plus $40 Caddy fee.  Oh and don't forget the tip for your Caddy.  I thought about this long and hard and rationalized to myself that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just could not miss.  This was a "bucket list" item so the cost should not be a factor.  Oh...but it was.   What the heck I thought lets do it this one time.  With that said he booked our tee time for Congressional and we received a confirmation from the club the next day.  Arrived in Baltimore during one of the worst rainstorms in history there.  It was raining buckets as we drove from Baltimore to Bethesda.  This is about an hour and twenty minute drive.   All the way raining.  There is no way we will golf today but lets just get there and check it out.  Our GPS guided us to the entrance of Congressional and we drove in like we owned the place.  Parked right in front of the Clubhouse and walked right in the front door.  A nice lady asked what member would be joining us.  I said none and that we were guests from Oahu.  She politely asked us to check in downstairs at the Pro Shop.  We probably did not end up at the Pro Shop for a good hour as we slowly made our way through the halls looking at the art and photographs.  There was so much history to absorb and I did not want to miss any of it in case we were kicked out or something.  The place was a bit empty on this day due to the weather.  The Members that we did encounter all addressed us with a smile and said welcome to Congressional.  We went upstairs, then downstairs into the bar, locker room, ballrooms, bowling alley, indoor pool, restaurants and small library not missing a thing.  When we arrived at the Pro Shop we were in awe of the history and could not wait to play golf.  We walked past the U.S. Open Trophy engraved with names of past winners and then past a wall of photographs of Tom Morris.  Good Morning was said by the two men behind the counter.  I introduced myself and one of the men checked his computer.  "Welcome to Congressional Mr. Santos" he said.  Shortly after that the Manager came out and introduced herself.  Again it was "Welcome to Congressional" Mr. Santos.  Our smiles soon turned down as we were told that the course was closed on this only day we could play.  The Manager explained that there was no exchange of money in the club and I would be given a guest card for the day.  Please show this card when you need something and enjoy your day.  Wow...here I am a guest at Congressional for the day with full member benefits.  The restaurant, bar, locker room and library were all mine.  We headed down the hall to grab a bite to eat.  There were several restaurants but only one was open at this time for breakfast.  We were told to sit anywhere and took a nice seat by the window overlooking some beautiful flowers and the rain.  I ordered Eggs Benedict with Maryland Crab and it was downright delicious.  One of the best Eggs Benedict dishes of my life.  Great fresh crab and homemade hollandaise sauce.  Loved it!  After breakfast we made our way back to the Pro Shop after another hour of taking in the club.  The Manager asked if we could come back on another day to play golf since we had come so far.  Not gonna be easy I said as she checked her computer for open tee times.  "I have on tee time available in two days if you can make it back".  "I'll hold it for you just incase".  Well we made that tee time and golfed Congressional!  This course chewed me up and spit me out.  Truly one of the toughest courses I have ever played.  They have this thing called "the rough" which is the grass just off the fairways.  Miss the fairway and you are knee deep in this shit.  Since it had just rained we were told they did not cut the rough.  This is similar to U.S. Open conditions the starter told us.  I did not think the rough would be such a problem, but hitting out of it proved pretty frustrating.  This course made me appreciate how the PGA professionals play the game.  To hit out of this stuff you got to be good.  And I am not.  Therefore my experience at Congressional was tainted by "the rough".  The course is beautiful and there are holes that are elevated that will blow your mind.  Hitting up to Hole #9 is the worst.  I missed my shot and ended up in a ravine that seemed like I had to hit the shot straight up to get it on the green.  Took me three additional shots to get up there.  Frustrated as I was, I just took it all in.  A Par on #11 and great tee shot off 18 made my day.  Putting for birdie on 18 made me forget all the challenges that laid behind me.  This was an incredible day at Congressional.  The people that work here were great and very gracious.  The members were gentlemen.  One small complaint was that our Caddy had only been in America for five days.  He did not speak english and had only played the course two times prior to our visit.  He tried his best but needs some work.  Not blaming him for my lousy game.  That was all me!

ENTRANCE TO CONGRESSIONAL COUNTRY CLUB
VIEW OF CONGRESSIONAL CLUBHOUSE AS YOU ENTER THE CLUB
PRESIDENTS, POLITICIANS, CELEBRITIES AND GOLFS GREATEST HAVE BEEN HERE
WELCOME TO THE HOME OF SEVERAL U.S. OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENTS
ENTER CONGRESSIONAL AND YOU ARE ENTERING A MUSEUM OF GOLF HISTORY
CONGRESSIONAL AS IT WAS LONG AGO
CONGRESSIONAL TODAY IS AMAZING
LOBBY PAINTINGS WILL MAKE YOU STOP AND LOOK AT THE DETAILS
ONE OF GOLFS FINEST CANVAS
THIS PAINTING OF TIGER WOODS HITTING OFF #10 TEE BOX IS SPECTACULAR.
SO MUCH COLOR AND DETAIL.  TRULY BEAUTIFUL PAINTING HANGING AT CONGRESSIONAL
ONCE YOU ENTER CONGRESSIONAL YOU ARE A GUEST OF HISTORY
EVERY WALL IS LINED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS
YOU NEED A FEW HOURS JUST TO TAKE IN THE HISTORY HERE
ENTRANCE TO PRO SHOP AND THE U.S. OPEN TROPHY 
GO DOWN A LEVEL AND YOU ENTER A PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHS
TRIBUTES TO AMERICAN PRESIDENTS ADORN THE WALLS AT CONGRESSIONAL
ROOSEVELT, TAFT, HOOVER, HARDING, WILSON TO NAME A FEW





WILLIAM RANDOLF HEARST
HARVEY FIRESTONE
CHARLES CHAPLIN
WALTER CHRYSLER




SMALL LIBRARY OFF MAIN HALLWAY


























NICE TRIBUTE AND HISTORY OF OLD TOM MORRIS
RARE TOM MORRIS PHOTOGRAPHS



ENJOYED BREAKFAST AT THE CONGRESSIONAL GRILL
THICK LEATHER PLACEMENTS
BREAKFAST MENU AT CONGRESSIONAL COUNTRY CLUB
THIS IS WHAT THE RICH AND FAMOUS EAT FOR BREAKFAST
NO MONEY IS EXCHANGED AT CONGRESSIONAL.  YOU EITHER ARE WITH A MEMBER OR AN INVITED GUEST.  AS A GUEST, YOUR CHARGES MUST BE SENT TO YOUR HOME CLUB
MARYLAND STYLE...AKA "THE TERP" EGGS BENEDICT WITH CRAB
NOTHING BUT FRESH MARYLAND CRAB IN THIS PUPPY.  I LOVED IT!
CONGRESSIONAL COUNTRY CLUB KNOWN FOR SOME GREAT PARTIES OVER THE YEARS
ENTRANCE TO MENS LOCKER ROOM
INDOOR HEATED POOL
THE CLUB BAR
BAR IS WARM AND COMFORTABLE 
THE VIEW FROM THE BAR IS SPECTACULAR

THE CONGRESSIONAL LOGO 
TEE #1 AT CONGRESSIONAL
HOLE #2
HOLE #3
HOLE #4
HOLE #5
HOLE #6
THE VIEW FROM #6 LOOKING AT CLUBHOUSE
THINK I WAS HITTING FROM HERE

HOLE #7


HOLE #8
HOLE #9 
HOLE #9 TURNS INTO BEAUTIFUL APPROACH TO CLUBHOUSE
HAD MY SECOND SHOT ON #9 FROM HERE AND THEN FELL APART
#9 GREEN
LOOKING BACK OFF #9 AND TAKING IT ALL IN
OUR CADDY PREPARES US FOR THE BACK 9 AT CONGRESSIONAL
FAMOUS #10 AT CONGRESSIONAL   I HIT INTO THE WATER......TWICE!
CLUBHOUSE VIEW FROM #10 TEE BOX
THE CONGRESSIONAL EMBLEMS ON EACH TEE BOX
THE ICONIC CAPITOL BUILDING ON EACH TEE BOX
VIEW LOOKING BACK FROM 10TH GREEN
#11 AT CONGRESSIONAL AND MY FIRST PAR OF THE DAY!!!!!
HIT IT STRAIGHT ON #11 AND YOU WILL BE O.K.
WATER ALL ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE ON #11
I WAS ON THE GREEN IN 3 AND TWO PUTTED FOR A PAR 5!
HOLE #12
HOLE #13
HOLE #14
HOLE #15
GREAT DRIVE ON #15 AND AGAIN WENT BACK INTO THE RUFF
15TH HOLE
16TH HOLE
17TH HOLE
18TH GREEN TEE BOX 
RIPPED MY BEST DRIVE OF THE DAY OFF 18 AND ENDED UP 160 YARDS FROM HOLE
SECOND SHOT ON 18 LANDED JUST OFF GREEN.  PUTTING FOR BIRDIE AND MISSED IT

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