The original Elkridge Club was established in the late 1800’s as a golf and hunting club in what was probably the wealthy developing side of Baltimore. It’s membership grew to 400 and in 1925 they acquired more land to meet their growing need and sought the guidance of Seth Raynor to build the course you see today.
As recently as 2003 the club hired Brian Silva an architect who has a reputation for doing work on Seth Raynor courses to do a total renovation of the course and bring it back to Seth Raynor’s original design. To those who have played them, The Washington Golf Club in Arlington and Bedford Springs Golf Resort in Pennsylvania this will have a familiar look and feel.
To say this is an old style course is a major understatement-it is a period piece. Suffice it to say that there are design features in this course that you would never see created today. Rectangular shaped putting surfaces, super dramatic uphill driving carries, greens with almost arbitrary undulations, three steps between green and the next tee, fairway bunkering that seems random, and hole sequencing that has all to do with the god delivered shape of the property.
With modern green construction this becomes a throw back golf experience with today’s gratifications. The words “fair” and “unfair” have no place in this design-it is just “wow” or “you must be kidding”. Leave your modern ego at home and just put on a pair of plus fours and bring out the hickory shaft mentality-this is quite an experience to the sophisticated golf historian.
The length of the course-especially the differential between Blue and Black Tees-is almost deluding. The course is so tightly ensconced by the trees that “towardness” is the only thing that matters here. You have to hit it Freddie Funk straight and have Justin Leonard restraint for over-reaching on any particular challenge. One bounce on the wrong side of a ridge will change your fate on an individual hole dramatically.
For the most part the holes do not have severe turns in them-they all look right in front of you off the teeing ground. But the overhanging old hardwoods and the steep drop-offs mean you have to be very directive in your line of play.
Greens are terrific. Very smooth-reasonably fast-especially downhill and down grain. But if you can play your approaches and pitches beneath the hole you can be pretty aggressive into the hole.
The Elkridge Club experience is something out of a different time and it reminds us that golf courses were not always designed for those who think hitting it long is what it is all about. The shots you hit in a round at Elkridge will remind you how important creativity and finesse can be in an enjoyable round of golf.
Architect: Seth Raynor (1927)
Tee Par Rating Slope Yardage
Black 71 70.9 124 6465
Blue 71 69.7 122 6194