After going some 15 years in the 1970s and 1980s with no new golf courses in the area, three daily-fee facilities will open this week, two of them on the same day.
Waverly Woods, off Route 99 in Howard County, and Beechtree Golf Club, in Aberdeen, start tomorrow, followed on Wednesday by The Woodlands, adjacent to Diamond Ridge GC in Woodlawn.
They join a number of facilities that previously opened in the '90s, including Caves Valley in Owings Mills and Fairway Hills in Columbia.
Waverly Woods and The Woodlands are just a few miles apart, and the two courses are somewhat similar in their layouts. Each is routed over rolling terrain, much of it tree-lined, although each has several holes in the open.
At Beechtree, the front nine is fairly open, while the back nine is cut out of woods. Architect Tom Doak is a minimalist in terms of making changes, so little dirt was moved. There are four sets of tees.
The Baltimore and Howard county courses offer dramatic views, although The Woodlands has the edge here, because of no houses on the Baltimore County Revenue Authority layout. Waverly Woods, headed by general partners Joe Hills (son of the architect, Arthur Hills) and Pat Healy, has some initial real estate development on three front-nine holes.
At The Woodlands, architect Lindsay Ervin kept everything subtle. Although some dirt was moved, it was pretty much carved out of wooded property. Waverly Woods, as with many of Arthur Hills' designs, seems to flow with the terrain. Ervin incorporated 45 bunkers, and Hills 37, including five holes where there are none.
Neither course is as straightforward as some, but the one essential is for the player to use the proper set of tees -- each has five sets -- relative to ability.
Visual deception is part of the subtlety of The Woodlands, as things look different from a distance than they really are. Both courses call for a variety of shots, particularly on some open "parkland" holes at The Woodlands, where two ponds come into play.
All three courses have excellent practice facilities. Beechtree has a new clubhouse, while the other two expect new clubhouses to be ready within the year.
Location: Adjacent to Diamond Ridge GC in Woodlawn (Exit 17 off Baltimore Beltway, west to Rolling Road; right to Dogwood Road, left to Ridge Road, right on Ridge to golf course)
Greens fees: Monday-Thursday, $41; Friday-Sunday & holidays, $51 (same for walking or riding).
Director of golf: Dave Redmond
Superintendent: Gary Crone
Architect: Lindsay Ervin
Location: Off I-70, right on Marriottsville Road to Route 99, right to Dorchester Way, right to the temporary clubhouse.
Greens fees: Monday-Thursday, $38 walking, $48 riding; Friday-Sunday & holidays, $50 walking; $60 riding.
Head golf professional: Mike Kavka
Superintendent: Steve Lutz
Architect: Arthur Hills
Beechtree Golf Club
Location: I-95 to Exit 80 (Route 543 East). Turn left on Route 7 (second light) for two miles, and left on Stepney Road. Club will be three-quarters of a mile on right.
Greens fees: Monday-Thursday $65; Friday-Sunday & holidays $75 (both fees include cart).
Head golf professional: Dave Altemus
Superintendent: Russ Davis
Architect: Tom Doak
Pub Date: 6/29/98