Bulle Rock

A typical Pete Dye design-full of visual intimidation and grandeur-he toys with and soothes your mind at the same time.  Your scorecard is likely to reflect the former rather than the later because the golf challenge, even if you pick the right tee length, is very robust.  Much like he did at Mystic Rock around the same time, Pete used the rolling terrain to showcase beautiful hole layouts-there is so much eye candy here you will think you are in the NECCO factory.  The ticket is high but you really get your money’s worth on all levels.

The short game practice facility was an original extra at its time-still remains one of the highlights of the experience for me.  The clubhouse is nice without being grand, the golf shop has plenty of Bulle Rock memorabilia for you to sample, and the grill room has a very fine array of all American comfort food for you to enjoy.

Number 2 Par 5 (Scott Serio/EclipseSportswire.com)

The composition of this course, much like the composition of a fine piece of music,  is where the artistry lies for me-the sequence and flow of the holes is very engaging.  Though the longer hitters may gripe because of the number of shortish four pars, Pete gives your scorecard a building sense of pressure because those short holes are frought with danger if you do not pick your challenges carefully.  With the exception of a bit of a logistical hiccup in the placement of the short par three third-you can feel this course naturally roll out in front of you-every really big challenge is followed by a bit of a letup on the pedal-but more challenges await in short order.  The sequential buildup on each side ends with a very memorable hole where the player needs to get a second wind to keep his scorecard in tact.

Number 13 Par 4 (www.rollinggreens.com)

As is usually the case with Dye courses, the biggest intimidations are usually not the biggest challenges, the devil is in the nuances so pay close attention to the nature of the landing areas off the tee and the access points and configurations of the greens.  The green surfaces have gentle but significant slopes-very speedy and the grain will accentuate or attenuate the pace of all putts.

Because of the topography this is a brutal walk-some serious cardiac episodes lie between green and tee.  The lack of any tree cover in the playing area from tee to green means that when the sun is out you will get the full brunt of its fever-be prepared to drink, towel, and seek some refuge under the cart cover.

Anna Nordqvist LPGA Champion 2009 (Scott Serio/EclipseSportswire.com)

The LPGA Championship has been played here a number of times over the years and the list of champions verifies the pedigree of this course.  Winners have included Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, Suzanne Pettersen, Yani Tseng, and Anna Nordqvist.

Stunning Finishing Hole Par 4 (www.golfdigest.com)

Pete rarely disappoints when they pay him and Alice the big fee and they did not disappoint here.  It is really just a matter of whether you experience more “Wows” than “Whews” here-there should be a boatload of both of them.

Aberdeen, Maryland

Architect: Pete Dye-1998

Tees            Par   Rating    Slope     Yardage

Gold            72     74.2        142        6843

Blue            72      72          138        6360

White          72     70.6        135        6047

(Click to see complete Bulle Rock hole-by-hole descriptions)

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