So…C’mon Down to Ocean City!
By: Tim Baines
17 pristine championship golf courses, and there’s no better time to visit than the fall, which for us northerners, is basically an extended summer – with the golf courses in peak condition. Not only is Ocean City about half the drive to Myrtle Beach – less than 10 hours from Montreal, 11 hours from Toronto – the vibrant community’s golf season is at its best in September and October, with high temperatures reaching up to 27C.
“Golfing down south is closer than you think,” said Ocean City Golf Getaway Chief Operating Officer Walter Brooks. “We like to use the motto, ‘Save the long drive for the golf course.’ ‘Close to home, close to perfect’ was the tagline, but I would change it a bit for Canada … that Great Golf is Just the Beginning.”
With a nod to the tremendous support they’ve gotten from Canadians over the years, the Ocean City Golf folks have shaved a few bucks, basically 25%, off their pricing for their friends north of the border. You can get amazing fall packages of five nights and four rounds of golf for as little as $220 US per person.
“Canada has been a great market for us,” said Brooks. “Everyone travels south to play golf. We’re a half day’s drive for golfers in the northeast, a little further for those in Ontario and Quebec, but you can still get here in good time.”
Ocean City has plenty of accommodation options, a great selection of restaurants, eight miles of nightclubs, 10 miles of beautiful beaches and a three-mile boardwalk. In the summer, Ocean City becomes one of the U.S.’ best-known family Oceanside destinations, with the population skyrocketing from 10,000 to about 400,000.
Also, take this into consideration: Cheaper gas prices, outlet shopping with no taxes in nearby Delaware, happy hours where they practically give the drinks away and delicious meals at a portion of the price. There’s also the fun factor from a town that’s built to host about eight million visitors annually. Not far away are Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
“There is always something going on here,” said Brooks. “It’s so much more than a summer season community, it really has become a year-round destination with world-class golf. Our peak golf season is March into the third week of June. Then it picks back up again in September. October is beautiful. We’re consistently good through our Thanksgiving, the fourth week of November.”
What sometimes gets lost is the quality of the courses, a couple of them ranked in the Top 100 in major publications like Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Among the golf course gems in the Ocean City area are Links at Lighthouse Sound, Eagle’s Landing, Bayside, Rum Point, GlenRiddle and Baywood Greens.
“The courses on those lists, when they give out the awards, you’re looking at Pebble Beach and other great venues – and we’re in there with them,” said Brooks. “That shows the quality of golf we have here. We have legends of the game and renowned architects that left their mark in Ocean City – Arthur Hills, Jim Furyk, Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Jack Nicklaus.
Lighthouse Sound, 75th in Golf Magazine’s nationally ranked courses, offers great variety in terms of visual excitement and strategy. You get expansive views of the bay and Ocean City skyline.
It’s back to nature with Eagle’s Landing, the first certified Audubon Sanctuary in Maryland. A variety of links-style holes, marsh and wetland carries with rolling Bermuda fairways make this the shore’s most unique course.
Bayside is neighbouring Delaware’s first Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, minutes from Ocean City. The course offers three distinctly different golf experiences in one – some holes are tree-lined, some wind through marshland and others have wide-open fairways.
Baywood Greens is just outside the Ocean City area, in Delaware, is described as the “Augusta of the North.”
Rum Pointe borders the Sinepuxent Bay with Assateague Island and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The front nine leaves you at the mercy of the elements, as if you were on the coast of a British isle.
The Man O’War Course occupies the westerly portion of GlenRiddle. The historic racetrack used to train champion thoroughbreds is utilized as a strategic cross hazard on three holes. Man O’War’s sister course, War Admiral, is routed through mature forest and offers a different golf experience with rugged, breathtaking bunkers.
If you’re a sports fan, Ocean City, which often hosts large groups of golfers season-round, has got you covered.
“Besides the excellent dining, we also have great sports bars,” said Brooks. “You get into football season and the baseball playoffs and World Series, it’s a pretty good combination.”
For information on golf or to book your next stay in Ocean City, check out OceanCityGolf.com.