With Canadians feeling the pinch from a sagging loonie, one of the United States’ best and most inexpensive golf destinations is stepping up with amazing golf package values.
Ocean City, a Maryland treasure , is offering a five-night, four-round stay-and-play package for as little as $238 per person, an outstanding bargain available through the rest of the year.
“We’re definitely aware of what the exchange rate is,” said Walter Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of Ocean City Golf Getaway. “We have packages that include oceanfront accommodations, four rounds of golf and breakfast or lunch. The exchange rate was taken into consideration, when we put these (Sunday to Friday) packages together for our neighbours up North.
“Canada has been a great market for us. Everyone travels south to play golf. The mindset has always been Myrtle Beach and Florida for great golf. We’re on the way and we’ve got some great golf here. 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.”
Sure enough, it is very driveable from much of Ontario and Quebec. Less than 10 hours from Ottawa and Montreal and less than 11 hours from Toronto.
September/October golf offers prime conditions and certainly the weather usually co-operates.
“It’s 80 degrees (F) through mid-October, then gradually dropping into the 70s for November,” said Brooks.
Ocean City is no one-trick pony. Yep, there are 17 championship golf courses, some of them ranked nationally by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine.
“The courses on those lists, 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.”
Also, there are 10 miles of white sandy beach with three miles of boardwalk (the ocean temperatures are actually at their warmest right now). And there are the wonderful restaurants. But there’s more.
There are plenty of festivals and events – like Sunfest Sept. 24-27.
“There is always something going on here, things that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Brooks. “It’s so much more than a summer season community, it really has become a year-round destination with world-class golf,”
And for those who are looking to get back some of those pennies once Canadian dollars are exchanged to U.S. cash, there’s an outlet mall right in Ocean City and 10 minutes or so away you can shop tax free in nearby Delaware, where there’s a huge outlet mall.
During summer, Ocean City is heaven for families. The city goes from population 12,000 or so to the second-largest city in Maryland – with many of the hotels at capacity. After Labor Day, the tourist demographic changes a bit. As it turns out, folks who sample what Ocean City is all about tend to return again … and again.
“We’ve got great weather and the courses are in pristine condition,” said Brooks. “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.”
While a group of guys on a getaway can find everything they’re looking for, it’s not a guy-specific destination.
“The dynamics have changed,” said Brooks. “We’re seeing more couples and groups of couples. It’s quality golf and quality time.”
Fall makes a lot of sense as the perfect time to visit the seaside nirvana with so much championship golf at championship value. If you’re a sports fan, Ocean City has got you covered.
“Besides the excellent dining, we’ve also got great sports bars,” said Brooks. “You get into football season and the baseball playoffs and World Series, it’s a pretty good combination.”
Among the courses to check out: Rum Pointe borders the Sinepuxent Bay with Assateague Island and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. This course offers one of the true links experiences when the wind is moving the golf ball about. The front nine leaves you totally at the mercy of the elements, as if you were truly on the coast of a British isle. The back nine affords a small opportunity for some relief, with a brief meandering through the pines, then back to the stunning finishing holes.
The Man O’War Course occupies the westerly portion of GlenRiddle. The course features pure, windswept links golf. The golfer faces challenges often found in the British Isles including large greens, double fairways, pot bunkers, sand dunes, and the ever-present eastern shore winds. 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. The course is sheltered from the wind, but provides a demanding test from the tees. The site’s beautiful tidal marsh comes into play on five dramatic holes, offering amazing views. Rugged, breathtaking bunkers reminiscent of golf’s great past is the signature of the War Admiral Course.
Lighthouse Sound offers great variety in terms of visual excitement and strategy. You get expansive views of the bay and Ocean City skyline. Ten holes border the pristine marshlands found within the 1,000-acre site, while others are framed with mature hardwoods.
It’s back to nature with Eagles 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, others wind
through marshland and others have wide-open fairways. There are gorgeous views along the Assawoman Bay coastline and magnificent pine forests.
For information on golf or to book your next stay in Ocean City, Maryland, check out www.OceanCityGolf.com