Military golf?Sir, yes, sir! Between them, the four service branches operate about two hundred courses around the world—the majority of them as exclusive as any private club. Nonmilitary personnel can usually only play as guests of a service member or if they are sponsored by one. But this policy varies. Most courses also let any employee of the federal government play, and some now welcome unaccompanied civilians. The reason?Money. The same restructuring that resulted in the demilitarization of the Presidio Golf Club, for example, has put pressure on courses to turn a profit or be turned over. Hence, more civilian maggots are filling out foursomes with first lieutenants—although the latter still invariably get the best tee times.
1. The Eisenhower Golf Club, Blue Course, Colorado Springs, CO Architect: Robert Trent Jones, 1959. Yardage/Slope: 7,301/137. Guest Fee: $50. Tee Times: 719-333-2606. Routing through ponderosa pines and featuring treacherous bent-grass greens, this scenic course has hosted numerous events, including a recent U.S. Amateur Qualifier.
2. South Course, Andrews Air Force Base, MD Architect: Ault, Clark, and Associates, 1997. Yardage/Slope: 6,748/128. Guest Fee: $30. Tee Times: 301-981-4404. You practically need a general in the family to get on. The latest edition to the Andrews courses, the South gets high marks for its creative bunkering, links layout, wetlands and breathtaking views.
3. Eglin Golf Course, Eagle Course, Niceville, FL Architects: William B. Langford, Theodore J. Moreau, 1925. Yardage/Slope: 6,567/137. Guest Fee: $25. Tee Times: 850-882-2949. Host of a 2000 U.S. Open Qualifier, this layout was originally funded by Al Capone. The hill on the seventh is so steep that the course provides a tow rope.
4. Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course, Kaneohe, HI Architect: William P. Bell, 1947. Yardage/Slope:6,559/130. Guest Fees: $24/$32 locals. Tee Times: 808-254-1745. The poor man's Pebble Beach, this windswept challenge runs past ancient Hawaiian burial grounds. Thirteen and fourteen are two of the most scenic and difficult par fours anywhere.
5. Salado Del Rio Golf Course, Fort Sam Houston, TX Architect: A.W. Tillinghast, 1921. Yardage/Slope: 6,725/121. Guest Fee: $18. Tee Times: 210-222-9386. Narrow fairways and aggressive bunkering make Salado tougher than La Loma, Fort Sam's other course. The 400-yard sixth features a midfairway oak tree and a postage-stamp green.