Playing Through: The Delmarva beaches with Bobby Vermillion

WASHINGTON — We’re taking a quick break from taking you through our local courses to help everyone thinking of heading to the beaches along the Eastern Shore and Delaware this summer. To help us with the golf component of the WTOP Summer Beach Guide, we enlisted local expert Bobby Vermillion, whose show “Endless Golf” has featured over 200 courses over the last 15 years.

But his focus is the Ocean City area and the Delmarva beaches. With more than a dozen courses along the shore, there’re plenty to choose from, all within about a 45-minute drive.

“That’s the one thing about Ocean City that’s really cool — most of the courses are right next to each other,” Vermillion told WTOP. “You go to Myrtle Beach, you could be spread out by an hour.”

You might think of the summer months as peak golf season, but Vermillion says the spring and fall are actually usually busier times. For the stretch from Memorial Day to Labor Day, he says they actually aren’t as busy and take advantage of the longer hours to accommodate more golfers of all abilities.

“I can tell you that every course makes an effort to appeal to families during the summer months,” he said.

Most courses have junior tees, as well as multiple levels of twilight rates in afternoons.

As a local, Vermillion admits he’s biased, but says that there is both great variety and quality in the options along the shore, all for a reasonable price.

“This is a unique place,” he said. “The quality of golf courses we have for the value … I can’t think of a better place.”

Be sure to check in with the courses before going, as rates are highly fluid at many during the summer months. See Vermillion’s picks for the best of the area below.

Best Value Newport Bay at Ocean City Golf Club After being redone in the early ’90s, Newport Bay offers great views of the water, especially on the back nine. “You get out there on holes 11, 12, 13 and 14, you’re just staring right at Newport Bay,” Vermillion said. “Some of the sunsets are just amazing there.” The companion course at Ocean City Golf Club is Seaside, more of an old-style course that provides even more bang for your buck. “The greens are very challenging. A lot of the greens slope from back to front, and if you get above the pin on Seaside and the greens are a little quick, it’s a challenging two-putt,” he said. Current rates (Newport Bay): $85 weekdays and weekends, $65 after noon, $50 after 2 p.m. Current rates (Seaside): $65 weekdays and weekends, $50 after noon, $30 after 2 p.m. Address: 11401 Country Club Dr., Berlin, Md. 21811
Best practice facilities MarylandGlen Riddle Golf Club Vermillion highlights Glen Riddle’s large driving range and two putting greens for picking this course, which also features 36 holes of golf. For members, there’s also a chipping green to work on short game. Address: 11501 Maid at Arms Lane, Berlin, Md. 21811 DelawareBaywood Greens Toward the other end of the shore, Baywood offers the Tritapoe Academy of Golf to help improve your game. Range balls are included with your round, and both putting and chipping greens are available. Address: 32267 Clubhouse Way, Long Neck, Del. 19966 (Photo Courtesy: Baywood Greens)
Toughest Course Bayside Resort Golf Club “Mr. Nicklaus always designs a challenging golf course, but if you pick the correct set of tees, it’s a lot more fair,” Vermillion said of this Jack Nicklaus signature golf course that provides views of the Ocean City skyline. There is a limited amount of public tee times available, so if you’re a serious golfer and you’re interested, make sure to book in advance. “It’s the best test of golf, I think, on the shore,” he said. “If you want to challenge your game, you play Bayside.” Current rates: Dynamic pricing, ranging from $109-$145 early down to $79 late p.m. Address: 31806 Lakeview Dr., Selbyville, Del. 19975 (Photo Courtesy: Baywood Greens)
Hidden Gem Maryland: Eagle’s Landing Golf Course Owned by the town of Ocean City and located just 10 minutes from downtown, next to the airport, Eagle’s Landing offers an accessible, public course close to everything. “The superintendent has been there since Day One, so that ought to tell you something,” Vermillion said of the course, which opened in 1991. “If people haven’t played there in a while, it’s definitely worth the trip back around.” Current rates: $79 Mon-Thu, $59 after noon, $40 after 4 p.m. | $89 Fri-Sun, $69 after 1 p.m. Address: 12367 Eagles Nest Rd., Berlin, Md. 21811 Delaware: Bear Trap Dunes If you’re headed to the Delaware beaches, Bear Trap Dunes is an easy stop on the way into or out of town, just off Atlantic Avenue on the way into Bethany Beach. With three different nine-hole layouts, the sand-heavy, Rick Jacobson design provides a healthy array of challenges. Current rates: Dynamic pricing, ranging from $100-$115 early down to $65 late p.m. Address: 7 Clubhouse Dr., Ocean View, Del. 19970 (Photo Courtesy: Eagle’s Landing)
Signature Course Links at Lighthouse Sound Just on the other side of the Route 90 bridge from Ocean City sits the Links at Lighthouse Sound, where the holes border St. Martin’s River. An Arthur Mills design, it’s Vermillion’s pick as the can’t-miss course of the bunch. “It has a beautiful setting, because it overlooks the skyline of Ocean City,” he said. “The course is always in really, really good condition … It’s challenging, but it’s definitely fair. It’s not going to beat you up too bad.” Current rates: $149 weekdays, $119 after 1 p.m. | $199 weekends, $149 after 1 p.m. Address: 12723 St. Martin’s Neck Rd., Bishopville, Md. 21813 (Photo Courtesy: Eagle’s Landing)
Signature Hole #5 at Lighthouse Sound (par 3) Checking in from our signature course is Vermillion’s signature hole, a waterfront par 3 with terrific views. “It’s kind of stuck out in the bay,” Vermillion said. “All down the right-hand side is the bay and the skyline of Ocean City.” The tee box on #6 sticks out in the middle of the bay as well, and your shot from the pro or championship tees require a walk down a peninsula to tee off. “Of all of the places I’ve played through the years, it’s one of the most unique spots I’ve ever played.” (Photo Courtesy: Lighthouse Sound)

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