From a former soybean farm and forest a splendid golf course was laid out by the Gary Player Design Co., and the result has been another gem in the crown of gold in the Ocean City area. That gem is called River Run.
Originally conceived as a residential course, with the familiar groupings of detached single-family homes, semi-detached villas, townhouses and flats, River Run was opened in the spring of 1991 as a public course, thus available to anybody. It has attracted its share of tourists and vacationers, as well as loyal local players.
Player is, of course, one of only four men to win golf's fabled Grand Slam -- British and U.S. Opens, Masters and PGA. As with many of the world's star golfers, Player has turned in later years to golf course design, which he says is almost as satisfying as winning a big tournament.
River Run is labeled as a Gary Player Signature Golf Course and it lives up to that special designation. Its slogan and billboard ads proclaim, "Wait till you play it!," and most people can't wait until they can get to play it again.
"My concept of a good golf course is one that has good playability and one that a weekend golfer can come out an enjoy. Courses should also provide flexibility and an interesting mix of shots that test both the imagination and strategic skill of all levels of golfers, with reward for accuracy rather than distance," Player has said.
But Player and his group were ever mindful of the delicate environment in the Beauchamp Road/St. Martin's River area. Player was quoted during construction interviews as saying that courses must always enhance the environment with natural features such as trees, streams, vegetation and vistas incorporated into the design for a sense of harmony from the outset that increases in beauty as the course ages.
All that golf philosophy resulted in an interesting course, with a front nine of largely Scottish nature holes -- mounds and the like, and a wooded turn on the back side. It plays to a comfortable 6,650 yards from even the long tees (black), at 6,426 from the golds and a modest 6,225 from the whites, with women's yardage at 5,138.
A new pro has taken over in the past month. Bob Baldassari and his staff offer lessons and golf shop help. Also on premises is a restaurant called Annie's Hall. Call (410) 641-7200 or (800) 733-RRUN for more information.
There were two holes-in-one this week, and one was at River Run. Tom Donnelly of San Diego, solved the 180-yard (gold tee), 14th hole with a 5-iron but he was not registered for the Million Dollar Summer contest that culminates on Sept. 27. Bill Sweeney of West Ocean City was registered and the dollar he paid at the Bay Club pro shop counter won him a golf bag and a ticket into the finals. Mr. Sweeney aced the 155-yard, 14th with a 6-iron.
George Groth won the overall championship of the Ocean Pines Seniors Championship, as his 81 in the 60-64 age bracket was the class of the field. Chuck Tarr captured the overall net title with a 67.
In the Ocean Pines Ladies Member-Guest, Nancy Hunter teamed with guests Sophia Haupt, Betty Hall and Barbara Curtis, all of Montgomery Country Club, for a 164 gross victory in the Two Best Balls of Four format. Net honors went to Louise Yeatman and Nancy Treese with Bernie McCurdy and Nita Holland, both (( from Green Hill, on a 124 total.