Blue Mash golf course in Laytonsville, Maryland is a Joe Hills-Tom Healy design that combines links and parkland styles into a single theme that is both challenging and very fun to play. The course is home to a fabulous grass driving range and large short game practice facility that begs the seasoned player and beginner alike to come and spend time.
Always in good condition, this upscale daily fee track smacks you right out of the box with three meaty par-4 holes each playing over 420 yards from the men’s tees. Water and well placed fairway bunkers come into play and frame the approaches on several holes but there’s only one forced carry on the par-3 17th. A mixture of short and medium length par-4s and 5s keep the route interesting with no two holes alike. The true toughness of Blue Mash is evident in hot dry conditions when the greens are rolling fast. I recently played on August 14, 2011 during “Diabolical Pins Week” where the course attempts to mirror some feature of the major tournament being played at the time (2011 PGA.) The pins were cut on various humps and near the edges and needless to say, I made nothing outside of six feet. Fortunately, some early rain had slowed the greens to a manageable pace but I left imagining what kind of day I could have had with these pins cut on fast rolling greens.
Value (3.5 out of 5.0)
Greens fees for 2011 are $79 for morning weekend starting times. This includes cart and range balls. You can get $10 off if you elect to prepay. A variety of weekday, 10-year, and corporate memberships are available that offer good value to the individual who plays a lot.
Facilities (4.0 out of 5.0)
Blue Mash is where I go when I need to do serious practice. The driving range is the best I’ve found in Montgomery County and always seems to be in excellent condition. The practice putting green can handle a large number of players quite comfortably and is always rolling smooth and true. Nearby is a short game area that provides a variety of shots from all sides. Several tightly mowed areas are provided as are a variety of tall grass configurations, as well as uphill and downhill lies. Two bunkers at opposite ends of the green are much lower than the surface of the green and are the only awkward feature, as thinly struck sand shots from either can sometimes endanger players at the opposite end.
A modest sized clubhouse is home to a small pro shop and medium-sized grill area. A good-sized patio overlooks the short game area and is a great spot to enjoy some food and drink after a round. Finally, a small set of lockers are available to the members for a nominal fee. The allure of Blue Mash facilities are the course and practice area.
Customer Experience (4.0 out of 5.0)
The pro shop staff and starters are friendly and accommodating. With the driving range, putting green, and short game area closely situated to the clubhouse, the process of warm-up and teeing off was a cinch. Everything moved orderly and we did a minimal amount of waiting on the course, albeit after teeing off on a less crowded rainy morning. The course had aerated greens which I thought was a little awkward considering it was still late summer but then found that another local upscale daily fee (Whiskey Creek) had done the same a week later. Perhaps there’s a reason, but I’m accustomed to a mid-Fall aeration schedule. Anyway, the greens were a little slow because of the rain and not rolling true from aeration. The course had drained very well from heavy early morning rains as we rode and played cart-path only. Tee boxes and fairways were in good shape with the lone exception on the short par-4, 8th fairway which had many unrepaired divots left from numerous short iron approaches.