When this course opened in the early 90’s, close to the same time Robert Trent Jones opened in Manassas, Virginia, it kind of got the short end of the stick for new, upscale private courses in our region. But in many ways I think it better than RTJ, it has less pomp, more character-both in facility and course, and it is an afternoon to remember, right from the bag drop to the final beer after the round.
(Click on any picture to get an enhanced view of the image)
This place is clearly the vision of one man, it has a quaintness to it that cannot be ignored. All the buildings are low cottages in an rural English tradition creating an understated formal atmosphere that is appropriate for a private club catering to the wealthy and famous who would prefer to enjoy an anonymous afternoon without much fanfare. The locker room is small and has that comfortable sock feeling to it-offering liquid refreshment and some fresh fruit for the road.
Lunch is served buffet style on the veranda of the clubhouse-great simple food that is a perfect fuel stop for the afternoon ahead. The golf shop is also small but homey, full of Ralph Lauren looking shirts, jackets, and the like all bearing the cool CV logo. Full grass practice areas are up to the standard you would expect at a place like this. The guys who man all stations, bag drop, caddie room, golf shop, and locker room are just your frat brother types who are there to make sure you have a great day.
The course itself is pure Tom Fazio-exhilarating to look at and a solid tactical challenge to play. It is a hilly piece of ground that wends its way through substantial woods that will define holes and create tactical considerations on their own. The length is not overwhelming if you pick the right tees to play from and if you want to enjoy yourself err on the shorter length the first time through.
The greens are wonderful, lots of pitch and yaw and very swift downhill and with the grain. Caddies are wonderful and will help you deal with the mysteries of putting these greens. Overall conditioning if superb-they spend their money on keeping this top shelf.
Worth noting that in 2021 they did a substantial cosmetic makeover of the course in preparation for hosting one of the PGA Tour Playoff Events. Grassed over vast areas of unkempt native grass to make it look clean for the TV presentation. The bunkers seemed to swell almost 50% in size which makes them much more visually intimidating. One physical change was to replace the super stern Par 4 #11 with a much tamer and more reasonable Par 5.
I recommend hanging around after you are done for an icy cold one on the veranda overlooking the expansive grass practice facility that cascades down the hill from the club house-this is pure serenity as defined by Webster.
Owings Mills, Maryland
Architect: Tom Fazio (1991)
Tees Par Rating Slope Yardage
Blue 72 73.0 137 6908
White 72 71.0 133 6117
(Click to see complete Caves Valley hole-by-hole descriptions)