Golf Travel Log IV – Municipal Memories in Baltimore
When I attended graduate school in Baltimore, Maryland (or as itâ€™s pronounced here â€“ â€œBawlamerâ€), I thought the hard part would be the classes at the university. In a sense, I was correct, but what really gave me fits was golf, and it wasnâ€™t even a class.
Baltimore is one of the finest gems on the Eastern seaboard. For a history nut, itâ€™s the Garden of Eden, and block after block yields unexpected treasures. From a gorgeous inner harbor, complete with the U.S.S. Constellation, up through Mt. Vernon Square and into the tree-appointed suburbs, itâ€™s hard to go wrong â€“ unless, of course, you choose to play golf. Then, youâ€™re at the mercy of your gameâ€™s condition, whatever that might be.
As a student, I naturally decided to go municipal, not really being country club material at the time. And, I found an interesting course in Clinton Park, one which I would visit again and again while living in the city. How hard could it be? â€“ or so I thought. Itâ€™s a municipal course. Itâ€™s for people like me who need a lot of leeway, considering the multitude of mistakes weâ€™re likely to make.
I soon, discovered, however, that Clinton Park, enjoyable though it might have been, was just as unforgiving as those university profs, and the pro shop didnâ€™t offer office hours to get help. Clinton Park, set on the grounds of the Johns Hopkins summer mansion, advertises perilous sections of out-of-bounds, uneven lies, and severe punishment for missed greens. I, of course, being adept at all those problems, played right into the courseâ€™s hands.
Dearly as I love open country, I also have a special place in the golfing heart for city skyline courses, and Clinton Park offers marvelous walking views of both the old and new city. Green fees run between $34-39 for weekdays, and with a 5 Player Card, the discount takes it down to $28-32. Other situations are perfectly worked out, with military and student, police and firefighter rates. Thatâ€™s nice to see.
When I was in school, the rates were much lower, but high enough to earn our respect. I bought a set of woods there, one of those new plastic face jobs so popular in the 70s. In fact, I couldnâ€™t wait to take them back west and show off to my golfing family. As it turned out, my distance was exactly what it had been for years, but the noise I made was so satisfying, like a large branch being ripped off a tree, that I felt satisfied with the price.
I recommend a city venture into Clinton Park. Take a lesson while youâ€™re there. The pro seems pretty cool. In addition to some serious golf chops in several locations, Mike Dreyer has also coached swimming and lacrosse.Â Heâ€™s a tireless supporter for charities such as Arnieâ€™s Army, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, stroke survivors and both physical and mental disabilities.
After your lesson, take a spin around the course, but keep it straight. Clinton Park means business, and the city of Baltimore isnâ€™t going to provide extra land just for you to shank, slice and duck-hook your way around the premises. As for the green fees? They beat the heck out of tuition.