Thinking of attending this year's Solheim Cup. Editor Emma Ballard takes a first look at the venue plus the golf and sight seeing options in the Washington D.C. area

It's just six months to go until the 2024 Solheim Cup, so I thought we could take a look ahead to the biggest event on the women's golf calendar. In November 2023, I had the privilege of a guided tour of the 2024 host venue by the LPGA and want to share my thoughts, plus also some highlights of the local area.

As we all know, the host country always gets the biggest support but it would be great to see a larger number of European fans this year, after the restrictions that were in place the last time the competition was played in America in 2021.

What is the Solheim Cup?

The Solheim Cup is a biennial team competition between 12 players from the United States of America and 12 players from Europe. The competition takes place across three days, with the first two days consisting of four four-ball matches and four foursomes matches and the third day featuring 12 singles matches.

Solheim Cup 2023

The current holder of the Solheim Cup needs 14 points to retain the trophy, whilst the opposing team needs 14.5 points to win it outright. In 2023, holders Europe drew 14-14 with USA to retain the trophy.

Where is the 2024 Solheim Cup being played?

In 2020, The Solheim Cup Committee approved the change to even years following the announcement that the Ryder Cup will move to an odd-year schedule, after the 2020 competition was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This meant that after 20 years, the Solheim Cup moves back to even years after the 2023 playing. This is why we have back-to-back years of the Solheim Cup.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Club Solheim Cup 2024
Robert Trent Jones Golf Club Solheim Cup 2024 - image credit LPGA

The 19th Solheim Cup will be hosted by Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia on September 10-15. Located on Lake Manassas, just 35 miles west of Washington D.C., this will be the first major women’s competition held at the club, which served as host for the first four Presidents Cups held in the United States.

I have family that live 15 minutes from Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, so I am lucky to have a perfect base to experience this year's Solheim Cup!

First impressions of Robert Trent Jones Golf Club

On a cold but gloriously sunny morning in early November, I was taken for a tour of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club by Morgan Bulliard, Tournament Manager for Solheim Cup 2024.

For spectators, the LPGA has taken on feedback from the 2023 event at Finca Cortesin, specifically looking at ease of movement around the course. The main fan experience is right by the entrance and practice range, as well as hospitality and viewing points around the course.

Fans will also be pleased to hear that the opening ceremony will take place on site, right by the impressive clubhouse. It's sure to be a stunning setting for the ceremony with views across Lake Manassas in the background.

The course is flatter than what fans will have experienced at Finca Cortesin but there is still a lot of walking to do if you want to go out to ninth hole and follow the action back towards the clubhouse.

The standout hole for me was the par 3 11th, which has a peninsula green with water short, left and over the back. There is a steep faced slope that runs 30 feet off the front and left side down to Lake Manassas. If you land it short, there is a pot bunker, but that's the only thing that will keep a ball out of the water! I imagine this hole is going to prove really tricky if the wind gets up across the lake!

Another exciting hole could be the par 3 16th which may prove decisive in a number of matches. With it tricky to read the wind from the tee and the adrenaline pumping, this will be a good spot to take a seat and settle into the action.

Playing golf in the area

For those of you looking to combine the Solheim Cup with playing some golf yourself, the following public golf courses come highly recommended.

Stonewall Golf Club

Literally right next door to Robert Trent Jones Golf Club is Stonewall Golf Club. So if like me you fall in love with the view across Lake Manassas, you can experience something similar at Stonewall. This public course boasts spectacular views from the clubhouse and throughout the Tom Jackson-deigned championship course.  The undulating golf course features elevation changes and eighteen unique, challenging holes. Find out more.

Prince William Golf Course

Prince William Golf Course is just six miles by car but probably only two as the crow flies across Lake Manassas from Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. There aren't any lakeside views but it is refreshing to know that unlike a lot of courses in America, Prince William Golf Course is one that is recommended to walk, rather than use a cart. I also like the sound of the fact that around 85 percent of the fairways could be called wide open and generous. Find out more.

Westfields Golf Club

Heading 16 miles back towards Washington D.C. is Westfields Golf Club. The Fred Couples designed course has no houses around the course, so it feels very much like you are surrounded by nature. The course is characterised by dense tree-lined fairways, undulating greens and well-placed hazards, yet is more open and playable than might initially appear. I love the fact that there is a choice of five tee boxes, ranging from 4,600 to over 7,000 yards. Find out more.

East Potomac Golf Links

If you're looking for golf right in the Captial then you'll want to visit East Potomac Golf Links (also known as Hains Point Golf Course), which is located on the Hains Point Island on the Potomac River. East Potomac offers two 9-hole courses (Par 27 & Par 36), one 18-hole (Par 72). It's the 18-hole Blue course that will probably be of most interest as it offers stunning views of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial. Find out more.

Other things to do in the Washington D.C. area

If you're looking for more cultural excursions to tag on to your trip, then I can recommend the following which I have experienced in previous trips to the area.

BigBus Tour - this is the best way to explore Washington D.C. in a day. A hop-on, hop-off bus service which takes in all the major landmarks around the Capital. It's a guided tour, so you also get lots of interesting facts and information along the way. Find out more.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - there are lots of museums to explore across Washington D.C. but a favourite of mine and my family is the Natural History museum. It's free to enter and houses some of the most famous artifacts in the world. Equivalent to the size of 18 American Football fields, you can get lost for hours! Find out more.

Smithsonian National Zoo - if you hadn't realised I have young children, then you will do by now! The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute sits on 163 acres in the heart of Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park and is home to more than 2,100 animals representing almost 400 different species. Obviously a great place to take the family but I enjoyed it as an adult too. Find out more.

Interested in attending the 2024 Solheim Cup?

You can buy tickets directly from the 2024 Solheim Cup website and I hear that tickets are selling fast. If you would be more interested in an organised trip, then you can find out more from Women & Golf's travel partner Golf Travel Group here.

Will you be travelling to the Solheim Cup? I'd love to hear from any Europe fans who will be heading to America this September. Please drop me an email.