FX Excursions

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Bring Your Clubs When You Visit Ocean City on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

by Dale Leatherman

Mar 11, 2024

Hole 17 © Moses Cohen

March 2024

A beach vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, may find you trying to avoid sand at times — the bunker kind, that is. A variety of golf courses flanking the town make good use of the sandy deltas, marshes and piney forests of the Eastern Shore.

One layout consistently ranking as a favorite among visiting golfers is Eagle’s Landing, located 5 miles from the boardwalk in West Ocean City. What’s surprising is the Town of Ocean City owns and operates the course, but it bears no resemblance to a traditional “muni.” It remains an enduring favorite even though many more expensive public and private clubs have been built in the area since 1991, when the town created Eagle’s Landing to attract golfers in the shoulder seasons. Greens fees at Eagle’s Landing range $54–94.

The layout features 7,003 yards from the tips (the “Beast Tees”), with a slope of 74 and 131 from those tees. Bermuda fairways lead to well-groomed bent grass greens. It’s a walkable course, which gives you time to appreciate the natural setting and the wildlife. Michael J. Hurdzan, who designed Eagle’s Landing, said, “It’s a pretty special course. I was most proud of how we were able to weave golf into the bordering and diverse coastal wetlands of Sinepuxent Bay in an environmentally friendly way. The seventh, ninth, 17th and 18th holes are especially unique and memorable. The course benefits from awesome views of Assateague Island and is proof that golf and nature can synergistically share a space.”

Bob Croll, Eagle’s Landing golf professional and manager for more than 20 years, explained the layout winds through several unique and fragile ecosystems, from salt marshes to wetlands and tidal ponds to grasslands, all protected by the course’s sustainable maintenance program. As the first certified Audubon Sanctuary in Maryland, Eagle’s Landing is home to many indigenous creatures including bluebirds, purple martins, sparrow hawks and mallards. Nesting boxes are scattered throughout the layout, and wildlife sightings during a round are a given.

Eagles Landing

Aerial view of hole 10 and 18 © Moses Cohen

“The course is a mix of links style and marshland holes,” Croll said. “On the marshland holes accuracy is necessary, and players can’t always use a driver.”

Balls landing in the wetlands are deemed lost as there is no entry into these protected areas, which amplifies Croll’s advice to leave the driver in the bag and think twice about heroic shortcuts.

HOLE 6

435 yards, par 4

After some straightforward, confidence-building opening holes, Hurdzan provides a wake-up call with the sixth hole, which wraps sharply left around a lake to a two-tiered green. At the crook of the elbow, the fairway dishes toward the lake on the left, with aggressive bunkering guarding the right side.

HOLE 7

528 yards, par 5

“Hole 7 is the hole everyone talks about,” said Croll. “The dogleg left has two forced carries, one off the tee and one in front of the green. For most players it is a three-shot hole, but longer hitters can try to take it over the trees and possibly have a long to mid-iron shot into the green.” The hole’s tee shot and approach are both over wetlands, culminating in a green 26 yards deep.

HOLE 9

394 yards, par 4

Wetlands begin 120 yards out from the green, forcing a carry to a green with a depth of 41 yards. If you stray to the left in setting up your approach shot, a single well-placed bunker awaits.

HOLE 17

207 yards, par 3

The green on this par 3 is generous enough at 44 yards deep, but the approach is all carry, with wetlands in front and all along the left. And there’s a sneaky little grass bunker on the front of the green if your drive falls just short.

HOLE 18 “THE BEAST OF THE EAST”
393 yards, par 4

“Our signature hole is named The Beast with good reason,” said Croll. “It’s not a long par 4, but it requires two very accurate long iron shots to reach the green in regulation. The hole is completely surrounded by saltmarsh, and even a slightly errant shot can result in a lost ball. This challenging finishing hole can make or break your round.”

Eagle’s Landing Golf Course

12367 Eagles Nest Road

Berlin, MD 21811

tel 410 213 7277

 

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