A Good Walk Spoiled

Pry Family Quilt

Exploring Hagerstown Area Golf Courses

By Raymond Franze and photos by Turner Photography Studio

When the trees blossom and grass comes to life, area golfers take that as a sign it’s time to clean the clubs, restock the bag with golf balls, tees, and ball markers, check the spikes and make sure their favorite collared shirts are ready to go.  As Hagerstown springs into warmer, sunnier weather the time for hibernation is over—it’s time to hit the links.

Washington County residents have a variety of public golf options available in-and-around the city of Hagerstown.  From a Par-3 course perfect for beginners, to an intermediary 9-hole golf course as an ideal steppingstone to a pair of 18-hole golf courses that await to challenge golfers of all skill levels.

Yingling’s Golf Center

Located on the eastern outskirts of the city, Yingling’s Golf Center is an ideal location for those new to the game.  Around for approximately 30 years, the main event is a 1720-yard, Par-3 golf course where the average hole is 95 yards from tee-to-green.  Coupled with a lack of sand traps and water hazards, the distance of each hole allows a golfer to focus on the swing itself—less concern for club selection or strategic shot placement. The relatively wide-open nature of the course should also reduce the chances of losing a golf ball during the round.  One additional benefit is the course is conducive to walking.  Undulation changes and distances from one green to the next tee may necessitate the need for a motorized golf cart at other courses, but here golfers have a great opportunity to stretch their legs.

Experienced golfers shouldn’t view Yingling’s as a practice center only for beginners.  Experienced golfers know that inside 100 yards is where the money’s made—and getting rounds in at a par-3 course is great for honing the muscle memory for those short-yardage shots.  It’s also an opportunity to get some swings in for a fraction of the price and in a fraction of the time required for a round of golf elsewhere.

Anyone not interested in employing a full golf swing might be interested in the 18-hole, matted miniature golf course.  “Putt-putt” courses are a staple of tourist destinations; and here area residents can challenge each other in a family-friendly competition as well as fine-tune their skills before heading out on vacation.

Yingling’s Golf Center
20220 Jefferson Blvd, Hagerstown, MD 21742
Rates: Par-3 Course, $10-$15
Rates may vary, and discounts are available for some. Contact the course or visit their website for up-do-date information.

The Greens At Hamilton run

Nestled up against the heart of Hagerstown is the city-owned and operated, The Greens at Hamilton Run. This municipal course is a good challenge for those who are still relatively new to the game and seeking to further develop their abilities.

Although the course only has 9 holes (which can be played twice for a full 18-hole round), it has a nice mix from a 130-yard par 3 to a 476-yard par 5.  Players may need to call on their driver, fairway woods and long irons over the course of the round.  While the course is relatively short yardage from tee-to-green overall, accuracy becomes a premium as the course introduces golfers to several challenges.

At this “downtown” course, trees parallel the fairways, sand traps guard the greens and Hamilton Run lies ready to catch wayward shots.  The challenges aren’t overdone though—the sand traps are minimal, the creek should only be a factor for one hole, and the trees are spaced out enough offering the opportunity to punch back out into the fairway at the very least, if not up ahead toward
the green.

Keith Worrell, a resident of West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, has played countless rounds at The Greens because it, “Is affordable and a fun course to play.  I can make it to The Greens in 20-25 minutes.  No matter what level of golfer you are, it’s a good course to relax and play.”

The Greens at Hamilton Run
2 S Cleveland Ave, Hagerstown, MD 21740
Rates: $19-$29.50
Rates may vary, and discounts are available for some. Contact the course or visit their website for up-do-date information.

Black rock Golf Course

Similar to The Greens at Hamilton Run, Black Rock Golf Course is another municipally owned golf course in the area.  Black Rock, however, is owned by Washington County.  The course bills itself as, “A long course with a mixture of mature trees and difficult rough, [it’s] close, convenient and challenging.”

Black Rock is one of two average-length 18-hole golf courses in Washington County.  Courses like Black Rock, by their nature, will be a challenge for beginning golfers because of their length, design and challenging features.  Approach shots into a long par-4 require solid long-iron abilities; and strategic shotmaking abilities are needed to navigate Black Rock’s numerous doglegs.  A “dogleg” is a bend to the left or right where the green may not be visible from the tee box.  Golf courses usually—and Black Rock is no exception—strategically place trees to prevent golfers from being able to “cut the corner,” creating a longer approach shot into the green.

Adding to Black Rock’s challenge is the number of water hazards.  The course has the most water hazards present among the courses around Hagers-town.  On seven, maybe eight holes, water lurks to claim another victim—adding penalty shots to one’s scorecard while simultaneously decreasing the supply of golf balls in the bag.

The course may sound impossible, but it’s not.  Sure, the obstacles found at Black Rock, including over 40 sand traps, will also challenge the experienced golfer; but these challenges are typical of most
golf courses.

Established in 1989, the course celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.  Distinguished guests including former President Bill Clinton, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Johnny Unitas and Earl Weaver are among some of the more notable divot-takers at Black Rock Golf Course.

Black Rock Golf Course
20025 Mt Aetna Rd, Hagerstown, MD 21742
Rates: $33-$52
Rates may vary, and discounts are available for some. Contact the course or visit their website for up-do-date information.

Beaver Creek Country Club

Beaver Creek Country Club is a semi-private golf course that celebrated its 60th birthday last year.  As the name might suggest, Beaver Creek offers that country club ambience with a swimming pool, banquet facilities to host wedding receptions and other events, and a championship golf course.  Don’t let the name misguide you though, “semi-private” means the golf course is available to the public.

Beaver Creek has nearly 40 sand traps, and water hazards only come into play on two, maybe three, holes on the inward nine.  What Beaver Creek may lack in hazards, it makes up for with length.  The course is the longest of Hagerstown’s courses—stretching beyond 7,000 yards from the back tees.  From the middle tees where most average golfers play, the first two par-4s exceed 400 yards, and sixty percent of the par-4s are 390-yards or longer.  Accuracy with the driver, fairway woods and long irons become critical as strategically placed clusters of tall oaks and strands of white pine stand to block clear shots toward the green.

Like Black Rock though, the course is not impossible. The course record is a nine-under par (-9) 63. Home of the Washington County Open (WACO) Championship for 35 years, the course, like any other, simply demands accuracy to achieve your best possible score.  Beaver Creek provides a perfect blend as its location near the base of South Mountain underneath Black Rock provides scenic bliss; while the length, layout, obstacles and, “Greens [that] appear innocent, but have some deceptive slopes, will test your skills providing a challenge for golfers of all levels.”

Golf can be fun, and it can be frustrating.  It’s the ultimate chase for elusive perfection.  Mastering the golf swing takes time and practice; but that’s only the start.  Course management is the art of sound decision making on club selection and ball placement to navigate the length, layout and hazards on any given golf hole.  Golf reaches a point where mastering the mental game is as important as mastering the golf swing.

Beginners looking to learn, or experienced golfers looking to improve their game can find junior camps during the summer to group or private lessons available in the evenings and possibly weekends.  Leagues and tournaments are options available to those who seek to share camaraderie with others on the course or test their skills against others.

Golf is often referred to as, “A good walk spoiled.”  There is something euphoric about walking along on a golf course late in the day when the evening sun accentuates the sharp contrast between fairway and rough, the sun’s rays reflecting off the water turn a hazard into a frame-worthy picture-perfect moment and a gentle warm breeze brings a smile to your face as you couldn’t feel anymore connected to nature than you are at that moment.  But a hooked drive, shanked iron shot, chunked pitch shot or a missed three-foot putt might leave one questioning why they paid good money for such frustration.

Beaver Creek Country Club
9535 Mapleville Rd, Hagerstown, MD 21740
Rates: $45-$65
Rates may vary, and discounts are available for some. Contact the course or visit their website for up-do-date information.

Hagerstown Magazine