Course: Chesapeake Hills Golf Course
Weather: Sunny, mid 80′s. Mild Breeze… just about perfect.
Played with: Paul, Greg, Devin
Written By: Steave Habbert
County Course that has reasonable rates, Loves to support junior golf, friendly staff. Course and Greens could be in better shape. Lots of elevation variation.
Nestled in the southern part of Calvert County Maryland, Chesapeake Hills is a public, county owned course that lives up to its name… HILLS! There are only 2 or 3 “flat” holes on the course, and I use that term relatively. This is a very vertical course, and if you plan to walk, plan to burn some calories. The summer drought has not been kind as the greens are hard and FAST.
Looking at the club now, you can see that back in its hey day when it was a privately owned club, it had some serious chops and amenities. These days, while it still allows and caters to events and tournaments; it doesn’t seem to have the ability to host the serious events it did in its glory days.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the ghosts of golfing past are clearly there. You can see it when you pull into the club. You can almost picture the valet pulling bags out of a luxury vehicle at the pull around leading to what was once the entrance to the club. It’s almost like walking into an older house that was something in its day; but now is being rented out just to keep up with the mortgage payments.
These are just random musings of the author, however there is no mistaking of what this club was, or for that matter what it could be if it found the right sort of investors.
HOLE 1: Moderate to hard dogleg left with a downhill tee shot into a fairway that narrows at the elbow. VERY reachable in two, the elevated green is guarded by sand at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock from the approach angle. This green, as with all of them for this particular day were fast, as noted above
HOLE 2: Shortest par 3 on the course, elevated tee with a shot over water. Don’t be afraid to step up a club longer here if needed. Behind the tee, the ground slopes up steeply allowing for a backstop of sorts. The green is narrow front to back and long side to side. The drop area requires you to flop over sand to get on the green after a wet ball.
HOLE 3: All uphill. Plan up a club accordingly, and play to the left to allow for a slice if needed. There is a ditch that runs along the left side of the start of the fairway. This can swallow a ball if you hit a short worm burner. With the exception of that, this is one of the nicer fairways. This green has a tendency to be a little burned out and was under repair on the back left side when we were there.
HOLE 4: After leaving Hole 3, you go down hill to the tee box for 4 and have to go uphill yet again for the green on this long par three. Again, play up a club. This has an elevated green that is not at all forgiving. Due to its elevated nature, unless you master your ball flight, prepare for it to roll off the back, or to the side. If it does roll to the right from approach or tee, be prepared to play out of the sand, or spend your 5 min looking in the tall grass for the ball.
HOLE 5: This one can get tricky if you are playing behind someone, as the fairway drops way down before coming back up again putting the green slightly below the tee box. However, players making their approach shot from the narrow fairway will not be visible to those on the tee. Play this one to the left, as to the right leaves an almost impossible approach through a canopy of trees. If you go too far left, you’ll have to punch it out in order to get to the green. The green itself is deceiving in it’s reads, and actually plays slower then the first 4.
HOLE 6: Long Par 5 that shows again why the name of the place is Chesapeake Hills. It’s fairly straight, but the hills and the elevation change make for a tricky lay even in the fairway. The right of this hole is lined with houses that are in turn lined with houses littered with holes showing the battle scars of hundreds of slices. No… I don’t know why they aren’t fixed. Just know that they and their yards are out of bounds. Play safe, play left. Large elevated green that plays mostly as it reads.
HOLE 7: In a weird way, this hole mirrors the layout of Hole 6, but much more level. In fact, now that I think of it, this is the most level and flat hole on the entire course. This one is also lined with houses on the right, but has a huge relief area to the left, if you have a slice, play to the left of the cart path and allow it to come in safely. If it goes straight… you are still good for the approach shot. The green is elevated and small, but also has several levels. If the pin placement is front right, the course managers are feeling evil that day.
HOLE 8: A fairly difficult Par 5, this has all of the little things that make this game difficult with the exception of water. Elevation, check; 90 degree dogleg, check; sloping fairway, check; elevated green, check; sand everywhere… check. I think you get the point here. Something else to note, the driving range lines the right side of this hole. If you hit it right, kiss the ball goodbye as you risk getting a range ball to the temple if you try to go retrieve it. If you slice, aim at the will to the left. If you hit frozen ropes, aim just to the left corner of the fairway bunker on the right. This green is thankfully large, and also in great shape.
HOLE 9: Interestingly enough, due to the layout of the course and of how the previous hole bends, this hole also isn’t fair to faders or slicers as the driving range is ALSO to the right of this fairway. There are two trees that are to the left of the fairway; aim to split the uprights of these trees and you will be in excellent position for the approach shot. The green is pretty elevated so make sure you select the correct club for approach. Thankfully, the green is long from approach, so if you overshoot the pin, you should still be in good position.
HOLE 10: Narrow with a dropping elevation that bends left. Your approach will be over water, but keep in mind that the green for Hole 1 and Hole 10 lay right next to each other. Make sure you shoot for the correct green. The water hazard is narrow, but if you don’t want to get wet, shoot for the relief area off to the right of the green next to the cart turn around.
HOLE 11: You have to drive up past Hole 2 again to get to 11, cross a neighborhood road (look both ways) and then up to the tee box. Play this one with a long iron or hybrid to set up your approach over water to a high green that is guarded by a large sand trap. The fairway slops steeply on both sides of the water, so make sure you not only get it over the water, but carry the slope too or you may end up wet regardless.
HOLE 12: If you take previous hole, and make the teebox for it, the dogleg elbow for THIS one… you have now a Par 5 that is Hole 12. It plays and reads almost identical, except for this one, if you feel lucky / good, you can try to cut the corner setting up for a possibility to get there in two. Slowest green on the course.
HOLE 13: Long Par 3 with a backstop slope, and no relief for those with a draw. Hit it right, and it’s hard to find in the slop / woods near the cart path. The green is just barely below the teebox, large and soft. Holds well so you can stick it if you hit down on the ball right. One of the more flat greens that plays just about how it reads. Easy Birdie if you have a great 200 yard iron / hybrid shot.
HOLE 14: Faders, this is your hole. Faders, not slicers. This hole is shot over water and open trees to the right allow for a punch through if you can get it long enough. Playing safe to the elbow of the right dogleg gives a standard uphill approach. Like most of the other greens on this course, this too is an elevated green. This green also sits mostly flat with only a dip in the middle.
HOLE 15: Another hole that plays to Faders, this is one of the few downhill approaches on the course. After all of the uphill madness it’s almost a welcome sight to be looking DOWN on the green. Feel free to go a club down and allow it to run onto the green, or punch it and watch it roll on up. This is the second narrowest green on the course, but being able to look down on it, makes up for that difficulty. This green is deceptively sloped to the right from approach. It doesn’t look it, but trust me, we all watched our ball shoot right after landing or break right (or left depending on angle) on our putts. Best advice, take your time reading this put from both to and away angles.
HOLE 16: Shocker, this has an uphill approach and an elevated green (see a trend here friends?) Like Hole 4, the green is long and forgiving for those of us who sometimes can’t get that perfect ball flight that we are looking for. Both sides of the green are lined with sand, so be careful on your out shots if you get in there. The green is an upside down bowl and if the pin placement is in the front half, you will find yourself going from sand to sand if you are not careful.
HOLE 17: Narrow fairway that goes down from the tee and then back up yet again to an elevated shaded green. As this green is under the canopy of trees, it tends to play slower then its predecessors. If you are not strong off of the tee, lay up with a mid to short iron as the green side of the fairway slopes back down towards the water cutting the fairway in half.
HOLE 18: Super Long (even for lower handicaps) Par 5; at 636 it is one of the longest holes I have ever played. Getting there with GIR is a feat in of itself as the fairway slopes hard left and does not allow for an easy approach shot. The green looks level with the tee from the tee box, but surprise surprise… it’s elevated from 100 on in. There is a backstop of land behind the green, so you can be saved by it, but you’ll step down a club anyway as the parking lot sits right behind the green itself. Getting Bogey on this hole is not something to be ashamed of.
There are only 3 courses in Calvert County and of those three only 2 are 18 holes. The north one is privately owned public course (TWIN SHEILDS) and this is the other one. Separated by about 40 min of road and with no other courses around… Chesapeake Hills is pretty much it unless you want to be in the car for a bit. That coupled with not a great deal of funding from the County leads to a course that isn’t very special. It was, and could be again. But I’m not holding my breath.