The National Links Trust’s mission is to promote and protect Affordability, Accessibility and engaging golf course Architecture at municipal golf courses throughout the United States of America.

Our first project will focus on the incredible opportunity to improve the facilities of our nation’s capital’s three municipal golf courses, East Potomac, Langston and Rock Creek. Each one of these sites has a rich and storied history, but none of them are currently living up to their potential. The National Park Service will soon be issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP) on a long term lease to operate these facilities. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and the NLT’s goal is to ensure that the proper course of action is taken to improve and ultimately protect these national treasures.





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Golf of the people

by the people

and for the people

Surrounded on three sides by the brackish remnants of the Chesapeake and settled inconspicuously in the heart of our Nation's capital, sits an extraordinary strip of land known as East Potomac Park. This narrow peninsula is home to just one of the three golfing properties within the boundaries of Washington, D.C.. It, along with Langston and Rock Creek, all part of the National Park System, were designed with a singular purpose in mind: to provide a space for sport and leisure of the utmost quality that would serve as the preeminent example of egalitarian recreation for all other American municipalities to follow. 

These affordable golf complexes are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of golfers each year and lay claim to an unsurpassed public facility architectural pedigree and cultural heritage.

With three properties of variable intrigue, popular driving ranges and a welcoming social atmosphere, the golf courses of Washington, D.C. are a melting pot for the region's golf enthusiasts, frequented daily by individuals from every single walk of life. 

And so we begin this Links Trust, a simple project with three monumental undertakings:

1) Protect the course from ill-conceived and ill-fated plans that would destroy the egalitarian fabric and forever ruin the affordable nature of these cherished properties

2) Provide educational and enlightening resources to more clearly paint the picture of East Potomac, Langston and Rock Creek’s original intent, their historical significance and their greater role as the stander bearer of municipal golf in this country

3) Put forth a workable and sustainable roadmap that someday may be followed to resurrect the architectural significance of the courses and restore the property's exemplary design originally mandated of these National treasures

It is for these reasons, and many more, that we motion East Potomac has been, should be and will forever be known as ...

America's Course


[East Potomac] certainly cannot be surpassed. It lies between the Potomac river and a tidal basin out of that river. On the one side rise the green hills of Virginia, on the other side only a mile and half away are the capitol and the library of congress and nearer and to the north are the Washington monument and from certain points the most beautiful and magnificent buildings around Washington can be seen.
— INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1921

 
 
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East Potomac Snapshot

 
Grass Greens. Public Course. Open to all visitors at all times. Women may play at any time.
— GOLF GUIDE (1917)
“I like this course better than any I have ever played on,” said President Warren G. Harding. “The ground keeper felt so grateful when he heard this comment that he nearly fell into a nearby sand-trap.
— INDIANAPOLIS STAR (May 8, 1921)
President Harding

President Harding

Senator Joe Robinson yesterday was seen giving the “once over” to the East Potomac Park public course, where the great golfing hoipolloi of Washington satisfies its desires. Robinson arrived at the course half an hour after President Coolidge inspected it.
— BROOKLYN STANDARD UNION (August 1, 1924)
President Coolidge with Bobby Jones

President Coolidge with Bobby Jones

Within city limits, reached by bus or walking. Visitors’ charges - 25c. per day. This is a public course.
— GOLF GUIDE (1921)
Thinking about public or municipal or people’s golf, or whatever you like to call it ... it might be said that the public courses that are to be made in the East Potomac Park at the capital of this country will be the chief of all public courses. They are at the head-
quarters of the nation anyhow. Here then there should and will be something interesting.
— Sam Solomon in THE AMERICAN GOLFER (April 1917)
Walter Travis

Walter Travis

President Harding has become very fond of the municipal golf course down in Potomac Park and he probably will play there a great deal while he is in the White House to the chagrin and disappointment of some of our leading country clubs around Washington...
— INDIANAPOLIS STAR (May 8, 1921)
When the War Department undertook to put in a golf course at East Potomac Park, Walter Travis’ suggestion of a reversible course was endorsed by Col. W. W. Harts, but the war arrested its completion. Nine holes, however, are finished, and the results justified the most sanguine expectations, as well as those of Dr. Walter S. Harban, vice president of the USGA, was greatly interested in the undertaking.
— BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE (August 28, 1919)
I think all our parks should be opened for golf.
— President William H. Taft (February 1913)
President Taft

President Taft

 

 
 

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Langston Snapshot

 
A Golf Pro Gives Lessons at Langston in 1979

A Golf Pro Gives Lessons at Langston in 1979

Overhead of the course and RFK Stadium to its south

Overhead of the course and RFK Stadium to its south

Langston is more than simply a golf course. I don’t think the people that came to Langston really came for the course. I think it was more of an opportunity to be with like-minded people, and golf was the carrot. When Langston opened there were not a lot of meeting places for African Americans.
— Jimmy Garvin, longtime Course Manager
Lee Elder, the first African-American to play in the Masters, operated the course from 1978-1981 with his wife Rose

Lee Elder, the first African-American to play in the Masters, operated the course from 1978-1981 with his wife Rose

The First Tee open-end one of its first facilities at Langston

The First Tee open-end one of its first facilities at Langston

 

 
 

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Rock Creek Snapshot

 

Rock Creek Golf Course Plans Prepared by William Flynn

Rock Creek - 1940

Rock Creek - 1940

William Flynn

William Flynn

 

 
 
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CONTACT THE LINKS TRUST

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