Standing at the clubhouse…looking over your final destination.
The par 5 eighteenth hole.
I have certainly wandered up and down route 270 and north and south on route 95. I have circled the beltway around DC and the loop around Baltimore. I have stopped at golf courses from Richmond to Harrisburg. I have traversed goat tracks that charged $10 and plunked down $180 for 18 at local clubs.
Nothing can compare to the experience of the Whiskey Creek Golf Course. It is located in Ijamsville, MD just down the road from the 75 and 80 dragstrip. It is in the southern tip of Frederick County and light years away from anything other than a perfect golf course.
The course was designed by Ernie Els. It has been open for several years. I just never bothered. I think one time I was going out there, they had just top dressed and I went somewhere else.
In July, the finest golfer on the east coast came to town for a three day celebration. We played Challadon in the morning and finished reasonably early so I suggested we scoot over to the P.B. Dye course and play 18 there. The morning round went well and neither of us were that tired. P.B. Dye was a major disappointment. We both wondered how could you let something designed so well …go to hell in a hand basket. We spent the afternoon waiting on each tee as the discount golfers played their sixsome in front of us. We were joined by two members that explained new management had just taken over and they had high hopes the course maintenance would improve.
I would hope so. It is not comfortable to use the word “dump” and P.B. Dye in the same sentence.
The next morning I scheduled the dew sweeper tee time at Whiskey Creek. After what we had just played, how bad could it be?
We were stunned. Cart boys picking up clubs in the parking lot, a clubhouse beyond belief and a friendly starter that took the time to explain all the fancy gizmo’s on the golf cart and and overview of our journey.
So I stood on the first tee and marveled at the virgin dew covered fairway. Teed the ball and up and struck it right down the middle. My partner did the same and we were off. Second shot left center of the green, two putts and I am on my way to conquering this behemoth.
On my way to a course record, I ran into holes 2 through 18. One by one they ticked by. Bunker left on the second hole, bunker again on the third and then around the fourth hole, I realized….this will take more than one visit to master.
This is the view from the tee on the first par 5. The picture does not do it justice. It was spectacular. It set the tone for the day. Yes, many holes just bedeviled me, yet, I could not stop looking around and wondering when Bagger Vance would come ambling through the trees.
Now, on average days, I get around all right for a duffer. I carry a 12 and can play to it most of the time. Hell, I didn’t play to the twelve on the front side. Somewhere around 15 or so I realized that my hopes of breaking 100 were disappearing as fast as my balls vanished in the rough.
I finished the round. I shot 106 and felt like I had just won the U.S. Open. My partner beat me by 20 strokes. Did I mention he is usually a scratch to a 4?
But the golf course did not win. We signed up to sweep the dew the very next morning. That’s right, we returned and played again and again it was like seeing the course for the first time. Each hole came and went and we both marveled at the beauty. I realized that there is only one other thing that has made me go wow everytime I see it.
So, I promise you that if you take a trip out 270 and follow the signs to Whiskey Creek Golf Club…….well, you will finish your day and walk off 18 wondering where is Saint Peter. You will know that you have just found heaven.