Recently an associate and I had the pleasure of visiting Ocean City, Maryland for the first time. We made the drive from Connecticut in a little under six hours, including stopping for a quick snack on the Jersey Pike. Our goal was to play 54 holes during our three-night, four-day stay and to experience Ocean City during what is considered off-season.
Our hotel accommodations were arranged by the Harrison Group of Ocean City. We were warmly greeted by the hotel staff and shown to our ocean front rooms overlooking the outdoor pool and tennis courts. Two queen size beds, along with an efficiency kitchen, proved to be just the right choice for the two of us.
A short elevator ride to the main level had us eating a hearty breakfast every morning, all at very reasonable prices. Our golf package included complimentary vouchers to be used in the restaurant. A nice touch, to say the least.
Since there wasn’t time to play golf upon arrival, we decided to get a taste of the nightlife that Ocean City has to offer. We’ve learned it’s best to ask the locals where the “must see” attractions are. It was pretty unanimous that if we were to experience what OC had to offer for nightlife that we must go to a local bar/restaurant/nightclub called “Seacrets”.
After a short Lyft ride from the hotel, we arrived at our destination. After paying a small cover charge (there were two bands playing that evening) and going through security, including a metal detector, we decided to explore the grounds. We finally settled in at the Caribbean style restaurant, which featured three large main bar areas and pub style tables and booths. The floor was beach sand, which was really unique. We sampled the mussels in garlic and a chicken dish, which were both delicious and cooked to perfection. The bill was quite reasonable for what we ordered.
One of the bands, The Benderz, had hundreds of people on the dance floor having the time of their lives. Confetti, streamers, and even balloons, were falling from the three story high ceiling. What a great party atmosphere it is.
Our first round of golf was at Lighthouse Sound Golf Course, which is a short drive across the bay from Ocean City. LHSGC is the only course in the United States that has consecutive holes that feature a double green (holes 3 and 4). Hole number five, which is a scenic par-three overlooking the OC skyline, plays a challenging 190 yards from the tips. I was able to hit my 7-wood to the back fringe and get up and down for par. Thank you very much!
The course also features the world’s longest cart bridge between holes 8 and 9. Measuring in at 1,500 feet, the bridge offers amazing views of the marsh areas surrounding the course.
LHSGC is really two different 9-hole tracts. The front nine is links style golf, with very few trees and majestic views of the bay while the back nine is more wooded and narrower fairways. Five sets of tees are available for players of all skill levels
On day two we teed it up at Eagles Landing Country Club. Despite wind gusts in excess of 40 miles an hour, the deep blue skies made our round much more enjoyable. One of our favorite holes was the 528 yard par-five 7th. The hole features water down the entire left side of the fairway. Two well placed shots will leave you with a short iron into an ample green that is protected front and back by marshland.
After the round, and a quick nap back at the hotel, we made the short drive to the Ocean City Casino. While small in comparison to our casinos back home in Connecticut (Foxwoods and Mohegan) we found the staff friendly and the facility well lit and clean. The casino is mainly slots but table games have been added recently for the gambling itch in you. They also offer a harness racing track in-season. We both left with our wallets a little lighter then when we walked in but both agreed that it was an enjoyable night out.
Lunch the next day was at the oyster bar at Harrison Harbor Watch restaurant at the southern tip of the one and half mile Boardwalk (which is a treat in itself). Not one for seafood, I decided to give it a try anyways. We started off with the homemade oyster stew. Let me tell you it was probably the most delicious stew that I have had in my life. My small sampling quickly became a bowl. Next to land at our table was the house specialty, crab cakes, and what they called rock fish, which tasted very similar to striped bass. Being in an experimental mood, I decided to go for it and give both a try. Three servings later I complimented the chef on two outstanding dishes.
Heading back to Connecticut on Day Four, we booked a tee time at Baywood Greens Golf Club which is around 30 miles north of Ocean City. Locals call it “the Augusta of the North” and they are spot on. We were told by the staff that it takes 30 employees just to maintain the flower gardens on the property.
Every hole is unique and challenging. One particular hole that stands out is the 14th. It is a par-four that features an island fairway. I said that right, an island fairway. Try your skills (or luck) to shorten the hole or take the long way around, like I did, and play it as a long dogleg left. I bogeyed the hole, playing my second shot in from 176 yards, while my buddy played his tee shot to the island fairway and had a short wedge into the large green. He walked off smiling with an easy par.
If you make the trip, Baywood Greens is an absolute must play if you drive in from a northern state. There are no words or pictures to describe it accurately.
Upon returning back to Connecticut, we both decided that a return trip to Ocean City in the near future. There are so many courses that we didn’t have a chance to play that were highly recommended to us that we’ll be heading back sooner than later.
If you have never been to the area, take a look at the Harrison Golf Group at www.tee1off.com. They offer affordable stay and play packages at some of the Northeast’s most scenic and challenging courses. You will not be disappointed.