Golf Courses        

Longview is a great course for beginner and intermediate golfers. One of five public courses in Baltimore County, Longview is very popular in- season. It is also very affordable. There is little water on the course and it is almost impossible to lose your golf ball. Longview has relatively short par 4s and par 5s. The two par 3s on the front nine are both short but have challenging sloped greens. One par 3 on the back is about 160 yards long and the other is 200 yards. The course staff is very helpful and there are no on-course rangers. The clubhouse facilities are average. Walk-ons are accommodated, but in-season you can sometimes wait up to an hour or more.

I avoid Longview during the main golf season, as rounds can be 5 hours or more. But in the winter, if you play year-round, Longview is one of my top choices.


B- Winter 2009
Greystone   Greystone, in Northern Baltimore County, is one of two high-end public courses (Woodlands is the other). It’s very popular, but in my opinion, a bit too pricey. Greystone is a scenic layout—one of the prettiest courses in all of Maryland—but there are about 6 greens that should be destroyed (i.e dynamited) and completely redone. 3 putts, 4 putts, and even 5 putts, can be had on these nasty sloping greens. The clubhouse is high-end and the staff is efficient and very courteous.

Greystone is located about 10 minutes from my home. Despite this, I only play it about twice a year, mostly because of the price (there are many cheaper alternatives nearby) and because I find it very difficult to post a good score (because the greens are so absurdly difficult).


B March 2008
Diamond Ridge   Diamond Ridge is a lot like Longview, only a trifle longer and with a little more variety and personality. Like Longview, it is very affordable and very popular, so rounds can be long during the height of the golf season. The clubhouse was recently rebuilt and modernized and the staff is very courteous and helpful. There are no on-course rangers. Diamond Ridge is also one of my favorites, especially in the winter. B Winter 2007-8
Woodlands   Woodlands is the other high-end public golf course in Baltimore County. Located on property that is adjacent to Diamond Ridge (both course share the same recently modernized clubhouse and staff). Woodlands is a challenging track with lots of tree-lined, somewhat narrow landing areas. As the name implies, be prepared to spend much of your rounds in the woods, looking for your errant shots, if you’re not a straight hitter. The par-3s are rather short and unchallenging, and there are a few really short par-4s, but overall the holes have variety and the greens are expansive, but full of hills and valleys. For my money, I prefer to play the older, more wide-open Diamond Ridge or one of the other more affordable public courses. B- Winter 2007
Rocky Point   Rocky Point holds a special place in my heart, since it is the first course I played when I got hooked on golf in 1996. It is also one of the most affordable and popular public Baltimore County run courses. Parts of the course look out over the Chesapeake Bay. This is one of the longer public courses, but it is mostly open and forgiving. The greens are large and relatively flat. The clubhouse is old and not very inviting. During the golf season, Rocky Point gets crowded with lots of inexperienced golfers, so rounds can be exceedingly prolonged. For this reason, I usually only play here during the winter, but because of it’s proximity to the water, Rocky Point gets less snow than most other courses in the Baltimore area, and it often remains open when other public courses are closed. B Winter 2009
Pine Ridge   Pine Ridge looks and feels like a Baltimore County public course (it is even located in Baltimore County just a mile or two from Longview). However, it is owned and operated by Baltimore City. This is one of the most scenic tracks in Maryland. Pine trees abound on just about every hole and water can be seen (and reached) on several holes. If you like deer standing around near the tee box while you hit, or if you like driving your cart through occasional flocks of geese, you’ll love this course. It is so popular during the golf season that you must enter a lottery to get tee times during the weekend. Walk-ons are accepted, but you can sometimes wait forever to find an opening. The course is interesting and forgiving and the greens are fine, except they can be a little "stubbly" during the winter. Again, because of the crowds, I generally only play this course during the winter time. B Winter 2009
Forest Park   Forest Park, owned and operated by Baltimore City, is the first golf course I every played as a young boy in the late 1950’s. My father played there and took me with him occasionally. I returned there as a teenager many times, hacking away with my similarly unskilled friends, and I even rented an apartment that faced the 5th fairway when I started medical school, although I had absolutely no interest in golf at that time. I haven’t played Forest Park in years so I can’t really tell you how it is now. Someday I’ll have to go back and relive old memories (even though there were few memorable ones). ? 1996
Clifton Park   Clifton Park is another Baltimore City owned and operated public course. It’s not located in the best of Baltimore neighborhoods, so people don’t always feel safe playing there. I haven’t played Clifton Park in years and don’t plan on going back. The course is short and not very challenging. It used to be dirt-cheap, but prices have gone up in recent years. D 1998
Mt. Pleasant       2000
Wakefield Valley       2005
Timbers of Troy   I recently played Timbers after not having visited it for several years. The course has been well-maintained and additional renovations are still underway. Hole #3, a short par 4, was closed for extensive repair, so we had to skip that hole and play #10 a second time. The greens had been recently aerated, but putting was not affected very much. Overall, I enjoyed the course and would recommend it. B March 2008
Francis Scott Key (River Downs)       2004
Challedon       2000
Mountain Branch       2005
Piney Branch   Piney Branch is a private club in Hampstead, MD. It has a fixed number of members to keep play available to all. The clubhouse and dining area have recently been renovated. The course was in excellent shape, with smooth, quick greens. Traps were well sanded. The rough was slightly thick, but not too penalizing. Most fairways were generous, with several challenging hole designs. Par 3s were easily reachable and there were no super-long Par 5s. B August 2007
Bay Hills       1999
Queenstown   Queenstown is a beautiful public course located on the Eastern shore of MD. There are two 18 hole tracks, one of which (the River Course) has much water in play. B Winter 2009
Scottish Links?       2002
Waverly Woods       2000
Wisp       1999
Musket Ridge       Winter 2009
Ocean City, MD        
Bear Trap Dunes   This high-end course is one of the more popular tracks in Ocean City, MD. It’s a fairly long course and is moderately challenging. As the name implies, there are numerous traps. The course is well-maintained and the greens are ample in size. A- Sept 2007
Augustine Golf Club   Located about 30 minutes south of DC off I-95 in Stafford, VA, this very popular course is fun to play. It is moderately priced and very busy during the season. I usually play it once or twice each winter, mainly when the courses in Maryland are closed due to snow. I was disappointed to find that the course was not in great shape when I played it this spring. The fairways had lost their lush grass in many places and the greens were somewhat bumpy. Hopefully, it will come back during the high season. B- March 2008
Sea Trail   Sea Trail is a nice course located north of N. Myrtle Beach. Both the course and the greens were is good shape. A better than average Myrtle Beach option B March 2007
Farmstead   Farmstead is an interesting course located north of Myrtle Beach, right on the NC-SC border. In fact, the course is well-known for its 676 par 6 18th hole, which starts in SC and ends in NC. The greens were in good shape and many of the fairways were generous. Overall, the course was challenging and fairly difficult. B+ March 2007
The Dunes   The Dunes is an older country club type course that I played once before. I was not very pleased with this course, especially since it charges a high premium for play. I found the greens hard to hold and very protected with multiple traps. Hole #13 was interesting—a long, horseshoe par 5 that wraps around the circumference of a large lake. Overall, there are many better options in Myrtle Beach. C- March 2007
Meadowlands   The Meadowlands is a nice course, but nothing special. Greens were in good shape and there were a few interesting holes. Not a bad choice. B- March 2007
Grand Dunes   Grand Dunes, as distinct from The Dunes, is an upscale course in an upscale condo development. The course is expensive but a good value. Many interesting and challenging holes. B+ November


Myrtlewood   There are two nice 18’s (Palmetto & Pinehills) at this traditional resort location in N. Myrtle Beach adjacent to the Intercoastal Waterway. I played both and they were equally enjoyable. The course was well-maintained and the pace of play was good. I also stayed in a condo at the resort and the accommodations were excellent. There is a nice breakfast buffet in the clubhouse every morning. Not the best courses in Myrtle, but still a good value. Both courses get lots of play in the area. B November


River Hills   River Hills is a higher end course located just north of N. Myrtle beach. The course was in excellent condition, but when I played it was cart path only and the pace of play exceeded 5 hours. The course features densely wooded terrain and gently rolling hills. The course recently underwent a $2 million renovation, including upgrading the clubhouse. B+ November


Caledonia     A- March 2008
Tigers Eye     B+ March 2008
Panthers Run     B March 2008
Brunswick Plantation   Located just a few minutes north of North Myrtle Beach in Calabash, NC, this is an enjoyable and scenic course to play. There is water on multiple holes but it is mostly avoidable. The fairways were generous and open, and the greens were fast and in good condition. I played the Magnolia and Dogwood nines and both were fun and of average difficulty. B+ April


Pine Lakes   Known as the "Granddaddy" of golf courses in Myrtle Beach, Pine Lakes was originally built in 1927. It has recently undergone major renovations, so some of the course features are not yet fully mature. We found the fairways to be overly hard with inadequately grown-in grass. The greens were very firm and extremely difficult to hold on approach shots. The putting surfaces were fine and the fairways were mostly open and generous, but the ball would often roll into hazards or wooded areas on well-struck shots. I’d give the course a few more years before trying it again, and I can’t recommend it at this time. C- April


Florence, S.C.       March 2008
Beaver Creek   Beaver Creek is a mature, somewhat short course located just a few minutes from the Florence airport. It’s actually an interesting and enjoyable course to play. There are many interesting holes and the back nine is particularly challenging. Mature trees line most holes and fairways slope one way or the other. The greens were in decent shape. The cost is very low for a regulation golf course, so the value is good. A nice warm-up course on your way to Myrtle Beach. C+ November


Charleston, SC        
Patriots Point   This is a nice public course located just a few minutes outside of Charleston in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. It’s not an upscale course, but it was fun to play. The course advertises "stunning views of the Charleston Harbor" but I wasn’t impressed with these views (if indeed they were there). The course is located in large park setting, and it felt very park-like to play. But I did have a good time. Not sure I would come back too soon, as there are probably more interesting courses in this area to play. C December 2008
Pleasant Valley   Pleasant Valley is one of my favorite Central PA courses. The rates are low, the pace of play is fast, and the course has many interesting and somewhat challenging holes. There are many sloping fairways here, and in the dead of summer, the turf gets rock hard giving you way more distance off the tee than you really deserve. There are two "optical illusion" greens on the back nine, where putts seem to defy gravity and the apparent slope of the green. You won’t hit many mid-irons here. You’ll either be hitting fairway woods or wedge shots on most holes. All in all, a great course for the money. B Winter 2009
Heritage Hills   Heritage Hills is one of my favorite courses in the York, PA area. Open all year, this mid-priced public course is not very long but has several interesting and challenging holes. Fairways are modest in width and are contiguous to others on many holes. Thus, it is not uncommon to play your second shot from an adjacent fairway or to have other golfers playing in yours. The 5th hole is a par three with an extremely elevated tee shot, down to a two-tiered green. The 16th hole also features an elevated tee box to a narrow fairway on a short par4. B+ Winter 2009
The Bridges       2005
Dauphin Highlands   This city-owned and operated public course is very close to my work, so I play it frequently during the evenings in season. The course is very popular with Harrisburg golfers. It is fairly forgiving and not too long. It is usually well-maintained. Unfortunately, the course has been losing money for many years, and the city may be selling the land to a developer, who would close it. B Summer 2008
Hershey Country Club   Hershey, PA has 4 associated golf venues in close proximity to the amusement part/resort complex. The Hershey Country Club is the premier facility with two fine courses. The East course is the longer and more challenging of the two and annually hosts a LPGA pro event. The West course is almost as good, but just a little shorter. Both are fun to play, but both are pricey. They are well-maintained year round. The greens are ample and not too difficult. A- Summer 2008
Octillo Golf Resort   Octillo is a mid-upper level course in Phoenix that is part of the Troon system. It has 3 nines (White, Blue, Gold). I played the White and Blue. The course was in great shape and is a resort-style layout. There was water everywhere on this course (bring your flippers) but it was still fun to play. Internet discount rates are available A- Feb 2009
Troon North   This has got to be one of the most spectacular courses in Phoenix and one of the best I have ever played. I played it once before, back in 2009, and all I could remember was the large Saguaro cacti all around and one hole with a 2 story boulder (as big as a small house) right in the middle of the fairway. The course was even better the second time around. It was in great shape, the views were exceptional, and even though it is very pricy ($250), we found an internet discount for more than 50% off. A+ Feb 2009
We-Ko-Pa   This is another high-end Phoenix desert style course that gets rave reviews and that I have wanted to play for years. There are two scenic 18s (Saguaro, Cholla) and we played them both on the same day. There is a slight discount for playing both, but it was still very pricy. I didn’t notice much difference between the two courses. Both were top-notch and very special, but I didn’t think they were worth the huge price tag. I would play it again, but only if I could find a 50% or more discounted rate. A Feb 2009
Kokopelli   This is a nice mid-low level resort style course in Phoenix. Internet discounts are available. For me, it was a nice warm-up course on my day of arrival, but there are many nicer courses to play, so I can’t recommend it, unless you are on a tight budget. C+ Feb 2009
Arizona Golf Resort   This is a nice resort-type course in Mesa, AZ. It’s fun to play and the fairways are wide and forgiving. The course is connected to a resort and conference center, and many of the holes are bordered by houses. It’s not too hard to end up in someone’s front or back lawn. This course used to be well-priced at about $60, but this year, the fees have been increased to $90. B Feb 2008
Camelback @ Marriott   There are two 18-hole courses at the Camelback resort in Scottsdale, AZ. I played both of them and was not impressed with either. The fairways were in poor shape and the greens were hard as rock. It was almost impossible to hold any approach shot on the green. With all the other fine courses in the area, there’s no need to spend your money on this one. D Feb 2007
Silverado   Another enjoyable, mid-priced resort-style course in the Scottsdale area. I’ve played this course several times and have enjoyed each round. The staff is very friendly, the greens are well-maintained, and many of the holes are interesting. B Feb 2008
Point Hilton Lookout Mountain   I’ve only played this course once, but I didn’t like it. The winds were stiff and the course was much too difficult for my meager game. At a price of $100+, you can do much better. C Feb 2007
Gold Canyon—Dinosaur Mt.   I played the Gold Canyon Dinosaur course back in 2000. It was really cool. As a mountain course, there were many scenic elevated tee shots, and the course was littered with giant cacti and scenic views on every hole. I played it for the second time in Feb 09, and it is clearly one of the best public courses you can play in AZ. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but if you get a discount card like the SW Golf Pass, you can play it at 50% off. A+ Feb 2009
Gold Canyon--Sidewinder   Sidewinder is the sister course to Dinosaur Mt. and is flatter, designed around the base of the mountain. Some say it is a few strokes more difficult than Dinosaur. It is also very scenic and was fun to play. Both courses are a bit on the expensive side, but if you get a discount card like the SW Golf Pass, you can play it at 50% off. B+ March 2007
Starfire @ Scottsdale CC   Starfire has 3 9s, The King, Hawk, and Squire. They are all well-maintained and the greens were in excellent shape. The three layouts play about the same and this is a nice, mid-priced resort course in the heart of Scottsdale. B+ Feb 2008
Wigwam   There are 3 18-hole tracks (Red, Blue, Gold) at this resort-style course about 40 minutes SE of Phoenix. I played the Blue and the Gold. Both were nice, but the Gold was a bit longer and more challenging. The course and greens were well-maintained. A nice set of courses, not spectacular, but fun to play. B March 2008
Cave Creek Golf Course   I usually stay away from municipal courses, but got talked into playing this one by a friend, who liked the low price. The course was in poor shape. The fairways were not lush and were dried out in spots. The greens were not great either. We both agreed that we wouldn’t go back. D Feb 2008
The Pit   The Pit is a unique and fun course about 5 miles from Pinehurst in a town called Aberdeen. It features an island par 3 hole and lots of dirt mounds and hills scattered around the playing area. Some of these mounds are 8-10 feet high and can become serious obstacles if you hit an errant shot. There are also several holes with challenging water carries. You should definitely play this course at least once, and if you do, you might find yourself coming back again. B- Feb 2007
Mill Creek   This community course located in Mebane, NC is fine if you don’t mind expensive houses bordering most of the holes. It’s an upscale community course that is not terribly unique, but it plays well. B- Feb 2007
Talamore   This is a nice mid-end course in the Pinehurst/Sandhills area. It’s most famous for it lamas that are housed on the property and that you can rent to carry your bag. It’s a well-maintained course with excellent greens, nice fairways, and playable rough. From the white tees, the course is not overly long and is enjoyable to play. There are a good many traps, both fairway and greenside. All in all, a good value for the price, especially if you go off-season, when rates are reduced. B December, 2008
Brunswick Plantation (Calabash)   (See Myrtle Beach courses above)    
NEW JERSEY        
Ballyowen   Hamburg, NJ—Rated one of the top public courses you can play in NJ, this course lived up to its billing. With a Scottish links design, and its scenic beauty, you’ll definitely enjoy your experience here. The course is not easy and it’s also not cheap. But it was fun to play and the course is maintained in great shape. A little out of the way, but worth the trip. A- Aug 2008
Mink Meadows   One of the few public courses on the island, this 9 hole course (two times around from different tees) is fun to play. The price is moderate for resort location golf and the course is well maintained. I did not play any of the other public courses on the island, but I would not mind playing this course again, should I return. B- Aug 2008
The Golf Club at North Hampton   There are many popular golf courses in the Jacksonville area. I thought I had played most of the excellent ones, but I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed playing at North Hampton. It’s about a 40 minute drive north of Jacksonville (near Amelia Island), but the trip is well-worth it. There are many scenic holes and the fairways are quite broad. Everything was well-maintained and the greens were in great shape. The winter fees were very reasonable for the value received. I would definitely play this course over and over again. A- December 2008
Serenoa   This is a nice course in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. It’s a mid-level course that is enjoyable to play. Free range balls are provided with your round and the course was well-maintained, and the greens were in excellent shape. B Feb 2009
The River Club   Another nice course in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. I liked this course better than Serenoa. It was a little more upscale and more scenic. It was fun to play. B+ Feb 2009
Bobby Jones Golf Club   This very popular municipal course in Sarasota features two 18-hole regulation tracks and a par-3 executive course. The two main courses are named American and British. I played the British, which was more wide open. The fairways were very generous on almost every drivable hole, so it was fun to bomb away. For a municipal course, I was quite satisfied. C+ Feb 2009
Halifax Plantation   This is a gem of a course, located just a few minutes north of Datona Beach at Ormond Beach, FL. It was reasonably priced and well-maintained. The fairways were generous and the greens played well. I thoroughly enjoyed my round here and would definitely come back again, next time I am in the area. B+ December 2008
Cocoa Beach Country Club   There’s not a lot of great golf in the Cocoa Beach area, but the Cocoa Beach CC is a nice exception. This is one of my favorite courses to play and I’ve revisited many times. The course features three 9s (River, Dolphin, Lakes), which are all fun to play. There is water on several holes each 9, but the course is not difficult and is usually well-maintained. Many holes border the water with scenic views. You might even see an alligator or two sunning near one of the ponds. B+ December 2008
Colony West County Club     C January 2009
Inverrary     B+ January 2009









Golf Courses

Carolinas (N&S)
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