By TIM BAINES
The deals are about to get even better at an oceanside beauty of a golf destination that’s easy driving distance from much of Quebec, Ontario and the northeastern U.S.
Ocean City, a vibrant Maryland treasure, has 17 terrific championship golf courses – plus it’s less than 10 hours from Montreal and Ottawa and about 11 hours from Toronto It’s about half the drive to Myrtle Beach, something that’s not lost on the folks who promote golf for Ocean City.
If value is what you’re looking for, the prices are being lowered as the fall season winds its way through September, October and into November. You can book five-night, four-round (Sunday-Friday) stay-and-play packages for as low as $239 US.
“Fall is a perfect climate for golf,” said Ocean Getaway Chief Operating Officer Walter Brooks. “It’s a great time to be here. The courses are pristine, the conditions are great. The prices are reduced. October is a beautiful month, it’s still in the 80s (F). If you come in the later half of October, it’s even more attractive – prices drop roughly the third week of October. Then in November, they drop again.
“It’s reverse from the spring. For $239 you can come in the spring, but that’s mid- to late-March. The weather is more consistent in November than March – it’s still 65-70 degrees – that could change, but that would be the average.”
Ocean City is a happening place where you can either go out on the town and have fun or just kick back and relax off the golf course. There’s 10 miles of white sandy beach with a world-famous boardwalk, luxury oceanfront accommodations, excellent dining and exciting nightlife.
Canadian groups of eight are given a $50 gas card as a bonus.
“Once you come to Ocean City, you won’t be disappointed, you’ll be back,” said Brooks. “There are so many options out there, especially on the east coast. Everyone’s travelling south to play golf. Everyone wants to get to Myrtle Beach and Orlando. We’re a drive-to destination and an alternative to further points south. We’re a great option, we have championship golf at great value.
“Myrtle Beach is always going to be the golf capital of the world. But the quality of golf in Ocean City is as good as it is anywhere in the U.S. Golfing down south is closer than you think. We like to use the motto, ‘Save the long drive for the golf course.’ ”
As for the exchange rates Canadian travelers face – yeah they suck, but consider that gas prices are considerably cheaper, along with things like food and beer – in Ocean City, Happy Hours are very much alive and well. There’s also definitely a fun factor in a town that’s built to host about eight million visitors annually. If you’re into sports, maybe you can check out an NFL, NHL or NBA game in nearby Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
The golf itself shouldn’t be lost in all of this. A couple of the coures are ranked in the Top 100 in major publications like Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Among the courses you can play: Links at Lighthouse Sound, Eagle’s Landing, Bayside Resort, Rum Pointe and Baywood Greens.
“Some are inland treelined parkland-style courses, others are right on the water with views and vistas of the bay,” said Brooks. “When they give out awards, you’re looking at Pebble Beach and other great venues. And we’re in there with them. 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 and Jack Nicklaus.
“Lighthouse Sound is known as the Pebble Beach of the east. Sixteen holes have views of the bay and sound. It’s definitely a must-play. It’s ranked 75th on Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses you can play in the U.S. Their sister course is Rum Pointe – 13 of their 18 holes have views of the water, and is a Pete and P.B. Dye father-son collaboration, which is very rare.
“There’s Baywood Greens in Delaware. It’s the aesthetics, from the moment you arrive until you finish your round. It’s known as the Augusta of the North. Then there’s Bayside Resort – it has great views, it’s on the water and it’s a Jack Nicklaus Signature, nestled on a beautiful piece of property.
“Eagle’s Landing is owned by the town of Ocean City. Not only is it a premium golf course, eight holes have views of the water. They keep their price in the lower tier of prices, even in the peak season.”
For information on golf or to book your next stay in Ocean City, Maryland, check out OceanCityGolf.com or call (800) 4-OC-Golf.