There are so many choices when it comes taking a golf trip across the country, including many right here in the mid-Atlantic. A true hidden gem is Frederick County Maryland. Located in north central Maryland and less than an hour from both Baltimore and DC, Frederick County has numerous upscale and mid priced courses that will challenge any level golfer and meet the budget you need for a great golf trip with your buddies.
Most of the golfers who come to the area stay in hotels right in Frederick, which is the second largest city in Maryland according to the most recent census. Within 10 minutes of those hotels are over 100 restaurants and bars, so there’s plenty to do after golf. And most of the golf courses are less than 15 minutes from the hotels. Let’s start at some courses that are just south of the city.
Worthington Manor Golf Club in Urbana is the original premium course in Frederick County. This Ault Clark design opened in 1998 and is a classic links style course. Since they opened, Worthington Manor has hosted more than 10 USGA events, including 6 US Open qualifiers. It’s a challenging track that is a favorite of the mid and lower handicaps. Known for it’s fast and undulating greens, Worthington Manor requires you to think your way around the course or pay the consequences.
Also just south of Frederick is Whiskey Creek Golf Club in Ijamsville. Currently rated at #5 in Maryland by Golf Week Magazine, this Ernie Els and Michael Poellot design includes many environmental features like streams, wetlands, rock outcroppings, and stone walls, not to mention the spectacular views of the Catoctin Mountains. The 18th hole is one of the best finishers in the area with parts of an old stone farm house in the middle of the fairway!
Ijamsville boasts another top line course with PB Dye Golf Club. PB’s dad Pete is a bit more well know, but he’s designed many of the toughest courses in the country and this one is no exception, rated the 26th toughest course in America in a 2007 Golf Digest article. This course has all of the typical Dye trappings – railroad ties, pot bunkers, large & undulating greens, and a spectacular island green par 3 that can take your breath away (especially when the pins up front!) The sign as you drive in states “… be prepared to use every club in your bag!” It’s so true.
If you come in from the west of Frederick, Musket Ridge Golf Club in Myersville is just this side of the mountain. It was renowned architect Joe Lee’s last design before he died. He said it was the best piece of property that he ever worked on. The clubhouse sits atop the hill and the entire course plays down in the valley with holes separated by natural ridges that define the area. No view on the course is more scenic that the first tee box, looking downhill at the entire course with the Blue Ridge and Catoctin Mountains in the backdrop. Truly a must play when you’re in the area.
Less than two miles down the road in Middletown stands Maryland National Golf Club. It opened in 2002 as the latest from upscale course architect Arthur Hills. Impeccably manicured fairways and greens are part of the charm. The par 3 third hole is uphill, the only one of 5 par 3’s that is not downhill with a great view. There is plenty of room to bang on all of the par 5’s here as well. The finishing holes on this masterpiece can leave even the best among us grumbling on our way to the car. You’ll want to play this one more than once.
Also in Middletown is Hollow Creek Golf Club, a Rick Jacobsen design that opened in 2002. Probably the best value around, Hollow Creek competes with its sister courses for just a bit less. Owner Steve Kline and Head Pro Toby Meacham seem to surprise us each year with some phenomenal upgrades. You’ll enjoy the many elevation changes and be challenged by the undulating greens. You can bang it on the par 5’s and maybe reach a couple. But put driver away on a number of par 4’s, especially on the back. And after your round, The Valley Grill Sports Bar will show every game you’ll ever need.
While the above courses will all challenge your game, Frederick County is also home to a number of other great courses that are classified as a bit more senior friendly. Clustered Spires Golf Course is owned by The City of Frederick and is surely the busiest course in the area. The 3 thousand plus trees that were planted over the past 3 or 4 years will define each hole a bit better in the near future. Glade Valley Golf Club is another local favorite that caters to seniors. The wide-open layout allows you to bang it, but a number of severely sloped greens make 3 putts a real possibility. And finally, if you make it north to Thurmont, Maple Run Golf Club is a no frills alternative. There are two distinct nines here. The front is relatively wide open, but with smaller greens. On the back, you’ll wind through the woods on some tighter holes, but the greens are a bit bigger with fewer undulations.
No matter what level of golfer you are, the perfect course is waiting for you in Frederick County Maryland. For more information go to www.golffrederickmd.com
Chris Moore is The Frederick Golf Guy. He has operated golffrederickmd.com since 2003 and is currently in his 8th year of booking trips into Frederick. In addition, he runs traveling golf leagues in the area and hosts “The Frederick Golf Guy” radio show, now in its 8th season on WFMD 930-AM in Frederick.