Tees: White (Tee’s in front of Tips)
Score: 67 (Team best ball tournament)
Weather: 66 and Cloudy with a breeze
Played With: My Uncle and his friend Marc
Written By: Chris Conley
Rating: At bottom of review
I thought this week was going to pass without playing, but Sunday morning my Uncle called and had a spot open for a golf tournament being held at Twin Shields Golf Club in Dunkirk, Maryland. I haven’t played in a best ball tournament in a few years, but have always loved the team aspect it brings to golf. We would playing as a team of three as two players dropped out last minute, and I filled in for one of them; so we took turns playing the fourth ball for our team. This was the annual Southern High School booster tournament to raise money for my cousins High School athletic department. As this was a tournament I didn’t pay the normal rate, but from looking online it seems like $46 will get you a round of golf here, and at that price once the greens finish aerating, that is a steal of a deal.
Upon arriving at the course, my uncle was out on the course placing the sponsorship signs around the various holes. It was a very cloudy cool morning, and I was wondering if the choice of shorts was a wrong one. I wore a light jacket and shorts all day, and was very comfortable; the sun came out for a few holes. He came and picked me up and I got to take a tour of the course before playing it, first thing I noticed was elevation changes that were all over the golf course. It seemed rare that the tee and green on any hole were on the same elevation level, and I like that about a course, it makes for a fun experience. After we set up all the signs, we then started to inflate a large, Chic-Fil-A cow in the middle of one of the fairways, if you hit this with your drive you got free Chic-Fil-A for a year, which I would later miss by 5 feet when playing this hole.
While touring the course I realized the greens had just been aerated, so putting was going to be difficult but the course looked in great condition. After setting up the course, we headed back up to the pro shop to check in and get some breakfast. Twin Shields had a snack bar open that seemed to serve hot sandwiches, cocktails and snacks but our tournament was catered so we went over to a section set up to eat breakfast and get some coffee. The first thing you see when you look out over the course from the pro shop was the two huge rock Twin Shields logos that are embedded into the side of a hill. The course looked in amazing condition and each hole looked to have its own unique details which would make that hole interesting and fun to play. The pro shop was small, but had a wide variety of clubs, apparel, shoes and balls to choose from. Right outside of the pro shop is a large putting green, with 4 or 5 holes set up, the green easily fit tournament players who all wanted to practice putting before the 8:00am shotgun start. Behind the putting green, looked to be what I thought was a driving range; I didn’t have enough time to hit balls and warm up as it was a rush to set up course and get ready. However after the tournament I went over and looked at the range, and it seemed to be closed down. The grass was high, and it looked like it hadn’t been used in sometime; I also noticed that the yardage markers only went to 175 yards and then ended where a line of woods began; so the range would only work for shorter irons even if it was open. I don’t want the lack of range to take away from the course, because as I would find out the course was fun and exciting to play, as well as it offered some amazing scenery and tranquility that a lot of course fail to possess.
With the shotgun start, we got the draw of being the first group to go off of hole number 15. Hole fifteen was a slight dog leg right, wide open hole that was downhill. I hit my drive, last out of our group, and the ball soared with a gentle fade disappearing over the horizon as the green was significantly downhill from the tee box. As I have never played this course before I didn’t know what to expect when driving up to my ball, but found it sitting in the middle of the fairway about 60 yards out from what was now a level green. Hole sixteen, was a dog leg left par 4 that was wide open and entirely uphill the green was sloped from back to front and had a bunker sitting to the front left; my Uncle’s friend Marc hit a great chip after we used my drive on this hole and we were left about 7 feet for birdie; we would all miss it however. Hole seventeen was the first par 3 of the day, every par three had a hole-in-one challenge and this was our first of the day; it just so happened the first par 3 we played happened to be the biggest prize an eight day 7 night all expenses paid trip to Vegas for two. This was a fun hole, it was a longer par 3 but the green was about 20 yards below the tee box. I hit a 5-Iron not knowing exactly what club to hit, I hit it perfect but it happened to be one club to much and landed and hit the cart of the hole-in-one judges to the back right of the green. We used my uncle’s approach shot on this hole, which was short left of the green; we all hit horrible chip shots and ended up three putting the hole for a double bogey, our only hole worse than par all day. Hole eighteen might have been my favorite hole on the course, but that could have been for the ridiculous drive I hit on this hole. Eighteen is a huge dog leg left par 4; it is hard to cut the corner on this hole unless you can hit your driver over tall trees that jet out on the left of the fairway. My uncle put a ball into the right hand fairway bunker, which isn’t a bad location this hole at all; so I knew I could take a shot at hitting it over the trees and landing in the fairway to make for an easier approach shot. I hit my drive and it soared over the trees and disappeared, this was another shot we wouldn’t know what happened to the ball until we drove around the corner to find out. When we rounded the corner, there was my ball sitting about 40 yards passed the fairway bunker our first drive was in and leaving a lob wedge or chip left into the green. I was proud of this drive, and in my head it stands out as one of the better golf shots I have ever hit, the ball started out exactly as I wanted and faded perfectly to land softly in the fairway; we pared this hole as well, leaving us 2 over after 4 holes. Hole one was our 5th hole of the day, it is a straight par 4 that goes downhill to a green guarded by bunkers in the front; this was another fun hole we made our first birdie of the day on it. Hole two was an entirely uphill par 4 that dog legged to the right, we left our approach shot in the front of the green and the pin was in the far back. We all three hit good first putts that I thought would have a chance of going in by all ended up as tap ins for another par. Hole three was a mid-sized par three over water on to a small green with a bunker in the front and back of it; the prize for this was a 32″ LCD Sony TV, but we all missed the green, we chipped up and tapped in for par. Hole four was the Chic-Fil-A for a year hole, this is a par 4 in which your second shot is over water onto a green. Your first shot is key to his hole as you must place it as far down the fairway as possible, to get a good angle to green without hitting it so far left it runs down the hill into the water; as I said earlier my driver hit the fairway and rolled to about 5 feet from the cow and free chicken for a year, however it did leave us in a good spot to approach the green and make par. Hole five was another par 3 and this hole looked scary before even getting to the tee box; the green was probably 30 yards below the tee box, over water and surrounded by woods and bunkers. We estimated distance at about 165 and I hit an 8-Iron that because of the lowered green, felt like it stayed in the air for hours. It landed about 12 feet to the hole on the left, and my Uncle made the sweeping putt to give us another birdie on the day. This hole also happened to be a closest to the pin and longest putt hole, which we currently held both after playing it; we would find out later at the award ceremony someone hit it closer and made a longer putt that day, both shots which must have been great because our shots were really good.
We didn’t really make a turn like normal, just went on to the next hole since we did the shotgun start. Hole six was the final hole of our first nine, and it was a long dog leg left par 5; I realized as we were getting to our ninth hole and first par 5 that this was a par 70 course, so only one par 5 per nine. This hole is really challenging and might be the hardest hole we played all day, you must hit a straight drive to avoid the trees jetting out on the left and try and place your drive on the right side of the fairway for a good look at your second shot. I hit my drive into the first cut of rough on the right hand side and my uncle hit a great 3-wood to right before the green, Marc hit a good chip and we pared this long hole with a team effort. Hole seven is a short par 4 with an elevated green. There is a fairway bunker on the left of this hole and bunkers around the green; another good putt was made on this hole to give us another birdie for the day. Hole eight is wide open par 4, where the tee box and green seem to be on the same elevation but the fairway goes down then comes back up the hill. Marc hit a great drive on this hole leaving us about 155 yards to the green, and I hit one of my better 8-Iron shots that landed softly right over the front bunker guarding this flag; unfortunately we all missed the putt and ended up with a par on this hole. Hole nine is a dog leg left par 4, that from the score card plays as a par 5 for ladies, that goes downhill and back up just like hole eight; a big pond covers the entire left of this fairway and a smaller pond covers a portion of the right fairway. We all hit our drives in the rough and our second shot came up about 15 yards short of the green, fortunately I was able to make the chip and get another birdie. This hole was a great way to bring the golfers back to the snack shop and pro shop and let them get ready to make the turn; this hole was one of the prettier holes on the course, on a course in which the view was taken into account on every hole. Hole ten is a par 4 that is straight forward with a green that is elevated from the tee box, the same lake from hole nine comes into play on the left side of this hole and the fairway gets very narrow the farther you hit it. This is another hole I will remember for quite some time as, I hit my drive it started out to the left and faded softly landing in the middle of the fairway at its narrowest spot; I knew I hit this drive good and I am sure it was a combination of a good shot and the hole being downhill but according to score card this drive went about 312 in the air as it didn’t roll at all. We all hit pretty good approach shots but just missed our birdie putts and ended up with another par. Hole eleven is a hole I will hear about for the rest of my life, this was the long drive hole of the tournament and we could see the flag sitting in the fairway marking the longest drive of day. The whole day I heard about this same tournament two years ago, where my Uncle stepped up to the tee box, with a club he borrowed from Larry and hit the longest drive of the day; beating his Larry using his club, who had the longest drive of the day up until then. I hit first and hit another great drive, the ball went a little higher than normal, and landed right by the current marker, we were not sure if it was the long drive of the day or not. My Uncle stepped up and hit a perfect drive dead straight, hit the top of the hill and rolled a few more feet. He ended up winning the long drive contest for the second time in three years, and I will hear about it for the rest of my life I am sure; though he fails to point out how I out drove him on almost every other hole. After a great drive by him on eleven we birdied this hole as well. Hole twelve was a short par 3, with the green resting back against thirteen’s tee box, we pared this hole and moved on to thirteen. Thirteen and Fourteen are both pretty, par 4’s that are straight forward with woods lining the left of the fairways. We birdied thirteen and pared fourteen leaving us with a 3 under round of 67; we didn’t expect to be in contention to win and were happy the three of us good play as a team and end up 3 under par.
As we drove back up to the tournament gathering area, we saw the posted score of 59 and knew played well but just not close enough. My Uncle’s friend, who he out drove two years before happened to be on the winning team, so there was no shortage of trash talking as we ate lunch catered by Bayside Bull in Edgewater, MD. My Uncle ended up receiving the same style trophy he had two years ago, and now has matching trophies, we sat through the raffle and Marc won an Under Armor sweat shirt.
Overall this was a great golf experience, the course was in very good condition; the greens had just been aerated so they were rough and not consistent but that is general maintenance that you can’t avoid and easy to look past. I would highly recommend any one to play this course if they are in the area, the Eastern portion of Maryland, is normally flat to find a course with that many elevation changes was an enjoyable experience. The course is in Calvert County, and you don’t see any houses on the course so you feel you are one among the wild life and it is a very relaxing experience.