Golf Travel Log IV: Baltimore

Golf Travel Log IV – Municipal Memories in Baltimore

When I attended graduate school in Baltimore, Maryland (or as it’s pronounced here – “Bawlamer”), 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 wasn’t even a class.

Baltimore is one of the finest gems on the Eastern seaboard. For a history nut, it’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, it’s hard to go wrong – unless, of course, you choose to play golf. Then, you’re at the mercy of your game’s condition, whatever that might be.

clinton1As 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? – or so I thought. It’s a municipal course. It’s for people like me who need a lot of leeway, considering the multitude of mistakes we’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 didn’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 course’s hands.
Edwin Watts Golf
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. That’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 couldn’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.
Winter Flight Deals - WINTER15
I recommend a city venture into Clinton Park. Take a lesson while you’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.  He’s a tireless supporter for charities such as Arnie’s Army, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, stroke survivors and both physical and mental disabilities.

clinton 2After your lesson, take a spin around the course, but keep it straight. Clinton Park means business, and the city of Baltimore isn’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.


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1 comment

    • James Williams on March 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm
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    Thanks for sharing this. “Bawlamer” – I like it!

    There is a driving range near where my undergrad was that was a popular destination for Law Students and other graduate students. Nice that you were able to get a discount at the Clinton Park place, and use it as ‘a life balancer’ away from the rigors of class, study, the like.

    I spent some time looking at courses in Baltimore on the internet and there seems to be a couple good ones, so its nice to choose a college town with that opportunity (not as many in the city I went to!)

    Anywho, there’s a lot here: value of escape in golf from the rigors of study, the enjoyment of a rigorous challenging course,, the value of memories, and how life is about adapting to new circumstances.

    The grounds – “perilous sections of out-of-bounds, uneven lies, and severe punishment for missed greens” – sounds incredibly interesting.

    Reading your post makes me miss the environment of where I went to school (am not in the same city) – its almost a universe in a universe, where what matters is ideas, and non material goods are not stressed as much (the value of mental riches!) .

    Whats better than study and Golf?

    There’s a lot of studies looking at the benefits of exercise on short term memory and how it upregulates things called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic facotrs) whose role in memory isn’t that well understood. I wouldn’t mind studying for a test and then going for a round – a nice break, and a way to get exercise – it would even cement the learning by doing something routine and allow myself to enjoy the scenery and challenge of the game.

    Good post

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