Man O’ War Golf Course

Man O’ War is one of two courses Joel Weiman built for the Glen Riddle Golf Club outside of Ocean City, Maryland.  Weiman designed the Uplands Golf Club (of blessed memory) in Denton, Maryland off Route 404 on the way to the Maryland/Delaware Beaches.  Similar to that effort,  here he took a flat piece of farmland and turned it into a very interesting golf course that pulls links style features into play and makes for a wonderful afternoon of golf challenges that we are not used to seeing in this part of the world.  Add the wind factor, since this is just off the Bay side of the Ocean City area, and you do have a course that will give you a new riddle to solve every time you play.

                           Early Wake Up Call on Par 3 Second Hole

Click on any picture to get an enhanced view of the image

Be clear, that in spite of all the marketing hype, this is not a links course.  It lacks many of the inherent environmental necessities of a links course-sandy turf, proximity to a major ocean or sea, tall sand dunes, treeless surroundings.  But, to his credit, Weiman found a way to embed many of the links style challenges in this course-blind shots, random bounces,  awesome topographical intrusions, scantly bunkered green constellations, slick and windswept putting surfaces.  You will have a few of those head scratching “is this too arbitrary” or “is this unfair” kind of thoughts when you think back over your day of golf.  But truth is what you should come away with is a satisfying sense of mental exhaustion from having been challenged throughout the day.

Intimidating Beauty Par 4 #11

What you do get are well manicured Bermuda grass fairways that wend their way through an interesting array of swales and hollows, startling bunker clusters, and imaginative green constellations.  Weiman introduces the links arbitrary bounce feature through the creation throughout the course of what we have coined “Worm Berms”.  When you look at the holes on the GPS imaging in the cart there are manufactured ridges in many fairways that look like worms-these will repel a ball without the proper level of intention to places that seem arbitrary and punitive.  But for anyone who has played across the pond you know that the rub of the fairway is an elemental part of the links golf experience.  The bent greens are severely sloped and segmented with tiers and fall offs that make it essential to plan your approach angles to leave your ball where you can putt aggressively. Being on the wrong side of the hole all day will leave you a bushel full of three putts.  Creative pitching and chipping will go a long way to keeping you on your game-the unusual green constellations will afford you plenty of opportunity to ply that craft.

Like most good courses driving the ball on the right line is essential to success.  Weiman used creative bulldozing to inject some very obtrusive obstacles in your path.  Picking the right club off the tee and the best angle from which to play your next shot will help you negotiate these challenges with much less pain.  The blind shots and other visual misdirection techniques in the architecture will cast further doubt in your mind, but you have to trust your instincts and have conviction of intent on every shot.

Home Hole Par 4 #18

This is a wonderful afternoon of golf with a distinct links flavor to it.  Enjoy the arbitrariness of the experience and go with the flow-you will have some sweet recollections of the day’s challenges if you don’t let it wear you out.

(Photos from gwowi.com)

Berlin, Maryland

Architect: Joel Weiman (McDonald Design Group) 2006

Tees          Par    Rating    Slope    Yardage
Blue          72      71.6       133        6556
Silver        72      69.1       128        6086

(Click to see complete Man O’ War hole-by-hole descriptions)

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