Just Fore! Father

Treat dear old Dad to a day on the links

June 14, 2008|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun reporter

As mandated by law, all dads are required to fall into one of four categories for Father's Day: those who like power tools; those who like big, fancy grills that could cook up a moose; those who like fancy electronic gadgets; and those who golf.

If the dad in your house is a golfer, one of those curious individuals who enjoys the emotional flagellation that comes with this most difficult sport, why not treat the big guy to 18 holes this weekend?

If you decide to, here's a purely subjective look at some public courses in the Baltimore area that Dad might enjoy - or that might send him over the edge if he's really hacking it up:

BEST FOR DAD'S EGO

Longview Golf Course

1 Cardigan Road, Timonium

410-887-7795

baltimoregolfing.com

Clifton Park Golf Course

2701 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore

410-243-3500

bmgc.com

Longview Golf Course is relatively short, (under 6,000 yards), plays to a par-70 (instead of the standard 72), is wide open and has lots of elevated tee boxes. It's perfect for someone just learning the game - or someone who desperately needs a low score to restore his shattered confidence and validate his self-worth.

Clifton Park Golf Course, built in 1915 as Baltimore's first public course, is only a hair more than 6,000 yards and also relatively golfer-friendly. As an added bonus, Dad can experience the joys of the game in an urban setting: the din of traffic from Harford Road, pedestrians shouting, nongolfers crossing the fairways, passers-by trying to sell you golf balls, etc.

MOST LIKELY TO MAKE DAD WEEP

Bulle Rock Golf Club

320 Blenheim Lane, Havre de Grace

888-285-5375

bullerock.com

Woodlands Golf Club

2309 Ridge Road, Woodlawn

410-887-1349

baltimoregolfing.com

Wakefield Valley Golf Club

1000 Fenby Farm Road, Westminster

410-876-6662

wakefieldvalley.com

If Dad is a bit of a head case on the course, or has a temper, upscale Bulle Rock Golf Club in Havre de Grace may not be for him.

It's "Maryland's No.1-rated Five Star golf course," according to Golf Digest and site of last week's 2008 LPGA Championship. But at more than 7,300 yards, with a course rating of 76.4 and a slope of 147, this challenging course could leave Dad mumbling to himself, especially when he hits hole No. 11, a 665-yard downhill par-5 ringed by pot bunkers and heavy rough.

"I did not undo God's work," course designer Pete Dye said when Bulle Rock was built.

Maybe so. But in that case, who knew God was such a sadist?

The Woodlands Golf Course is no day at the carnival, either, with its narrow fairways, small landing areas and fast, undulating greens. Its rating of 74.4 and slope of 143 make it only slightly less difficult than Bulle Rock.

Finally, the dad who blows up easily might also want to avoid the slick greens at Wakefield Valley Golf Club in Westminster, where it can sometimes seem that you're putting on marble.

Golf Digest's Best Places to Play handbook calls these greens "fantastic." But that might not be the term that springs to mind for the average golfer when he sees his putt slide 10 feet past the hole.

MOST SPECTACULAR SCENERY

Pine Ridge Golf Course

2101 Dulaney Valley Road, Lutherville

410-252-1408

bmgc.com

Rocky Point Golf Course

1935 Back River Neck Road, Essex

410-887-0215

baltimoregolfing.com

Sure, Dad's not out there to sightsee. But Pine Ridge Golf Course in Lutherville rings the Loch Raven watershed and is picture-postcard beautiful, surrounded by majestic pine trees and teeming with deer and geese.

Rocky Point Golf Course in Essex offers great views of the Chesapeake Bay from its back nine. And the view of the shimmering Back River from the tee box on the par-3 11th hole is stunning, with speedboats, sailboats, jet skis and Hart Miller Island off in the distance.

EASIEST ON DAD'S WALLET

Gunpowder Falls Golf Course

1101 Raphael Road, Kingsville

410-592-9165

baltimoregolfing.com

Carroll Park Golf Course

2100 Washington Blvd., Baltimore

410-685-8344

bmgcgolf.com

Let's say Dad is, um, cheap. For $21 on weekdays or $23 on weekends, he can play Gunpowder Falls Golf Course, an "executive" or shorter course with 10 par-3 holes.

Par is only 60 here - way lower than the standard 72 of a regulation course - and you can generally get a round in in less than three hours, unless it's very busy. And how busy does it get in Kingsville?

Carroll Park Golf Course on Washington Boulevard in Baltimore is also a bargain, a 9-hole course minutes from downtown that charges just $17 weekdays and $18 on weekends.

MOST DAMAGE TO DAD'S CREDIT CARD

Bulle Rock Golf Club

320 Blenheim Lane, Havre de Grace

888-285-5375

bullerock.com

Beechtree Golf Club

811 Stepney Drive, Aberdeen

410-297-9700

beechtreegolf.com

OK, you may want to sit down for this one. To play Bulle Rock, Dad (or you) will have to shell out $150, which includes cart, unlimited use of the driving range before play, unlimited use of the short-game area and putting green and use of the locker room facilities.

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