Best public golf courses in Ocean City, MD

The history of golf in Ocean City dates back to the early 20th century. As the town transformed from a humble fishing village into a thriving tourist destination, golf became integral to its cultural fabric. Public golf courses began sprouting throughout the area, attracting locals and tourists alike and enhancing Ocean City’s reputation as a top-tier golfing destination.

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Today, the area boasts an array of public golf courses, each with its unique allure. Some courses skirt the coastline, offering panoramic ocean views, while others are nestled further inland, providing golfers with diverse challenges and settings.

Let’s look at some public golf course choices awaiting your exploration.

Top 10 public golf courses in Ocean City

Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Links

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Located just a short drive from downtown Ocean City, Rum Pointe Golf Course is an exceptional golfing destination that marries a traditional Scottish links-style layout with the breathtaking natural beauty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Rum Pointe was designed by the renowned golf architecture team of Pete Dye and his son and P.B. Dye in 1997. This 18-hole, par-72 course stretches 7,001 yards from the championship tees.

A key defining characteristic of Rum Pointe is its stunning location on Sinepuxent Bay, offering spectacular views of Assateague Island National Seashore. Seventeen holes have a bay view, with several playing along the marshlands.

The course has been designed carefully considering the wind, which can be a significant factor due to its seaside location. Large greens, open fairways, and a few trees are hallmarks of this design, offering a test of true links golf to players.

The 16th hole, a long par-3, is particularly notable for its strategic complexity and scenic beauty. Golfers need to carry a marshland to reach a wide but shallow green, making club selection critical depending on the direction and strength of the wind.

Links At Lighthouse Sound

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Lighthouse Sound Golf Course isn’t far from Bishopville and offers a serene and inspiring golfing experience. It was designed by Arthur Hills and unveiled in 2000. The 18-hole, par-72 course covers 7,031 yards and winds through maritime forest, offering stunning Ocean City and Assawoman Bay views.

A standout feature of Lighthouse Sound is its environmental design, which focuses on preserving the delicate marshlands. The course has the longest cart bridge in the U.S. (1,500 feet long), an architectural marvel that spans the marsh to connect the bayside holes with the rest of the course.

The signature hole, the 5th, is a par-3 that requires a well-placed tee shot to a narrow fairway, followed by a daunting approach over the marsh to an undulating green.

The course is named after the iconic 15th-century lighthouse that stands guard on Sinepuxent Bay. Also, the clubhouse echoes this maritime heritage with its design reminiscent of an early 20th-century Northeastern seaside mansion.

Ocean City Golf Club

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The Ocean City Golf Club opened in 1959 with the Bayside and Seaside 18-hole courses. But in 1998, the Bayside course underwent major renovations under the guidance of Lester George and reopened as the Newport Bay course.

This par-72 layout measures 6,712 yards from the championship tees, presenting a challenge for golfers of all levels. One of the key appeals of the Newport Bay Course is its seamless blend of parkland and links-style holes.

The front nine weaves through mature hardwoods and serene wetlands, while the back nine, reminiscent of a Scottish links course, is characterized by wide-open fairways, windy conditions, and stunning views of the Mid-Atlantic coast.

The course’s signature hole, the 9th, is a long par-4 that requires a precise tee shot followed by a daunting approach over water to a well-guarded green. The strategic challenge is matched by the beauty of its setting, making it a memorable part of the round.

Glen Riddle Golf Club

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GlenRiddle Golf Club is located just five miles from Ocean City, Maryland. It occupies the Glen Riddle Farm, once home to famous thoroughbred racehorses War Admiral and Man O’War. Today, the property hosts two premier 18-hole golf courses, with the War Admiral Course offering a unique, strategic test of golf.

The War Admiral Course is a daily-fee course designed by Joel Weiman and was opened in 2007. This par-72 layout measures 6,889 yards from the back tees and meanders through mature forests and wetlands, creating a peaceful, secluded ambiance.

The course is known for its strategy-invoking design, with holes that require careful thought and planning. One standout is the 8th hole, a challenging par-5 that plays around a large water hazard, requiring precision and bravery in equal measure. To accommodate different levels of golfers, the course has five tees with a slope rating between 122 and 147.

Adding to the charm and historical appeal of the War Admiral Course is the Glen Riddle Clubhouse, situated in the original Glen Riddle Farm’s stables.

Eagle’s Landing Golf Course

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This eco-friendly golf course was designed by architect Dr. Michael Hurdzan and was opened in 1991. It’s a par-72 layout, covering 7,003 yards from the championship tees

The course is acclaimed for its beautiful design, weaving through saltwater marshes, mature forests, and scenic wetlands. Each hole has been designed to blend seamlessly with the natural landscape, showcasing a minimalistic design approach that heightens the course’s natural allure.

A notable feature of Eagles Landing is its final four holes, often referred to as the best finishing holes in the area. The 15th hole, a par-5, is particularly noteworthy with its strategic layout and stunning backdrop of the Sinepuxent Bay and Assateague Island National Seashore.

Unlike most golf courses in Ocean City, Eagle’s Landing has 7 tees ranging from 4896 to 7003 yards in length. Despite its beauty and the golfing experience, Golf Digest’s ranking had this course at 45th of the 75 most affordable public golf courses in the U.S.

Baywood Greens image of baywood green driving range - AEC Info

Baywood Greens is 52 minutes away from Ocean City. It’s often referred to as the “Augusta of the North,” Baywood Greens is a true spectacle of golf course design and maintenance. This par-72 course extending over 6,844 yards, was designed by architects Brian Ault and Bill Love in 1998.

The course is divided into two nines – the Woodside and the Waterside – each with a distinct feel and ambiance. The Woodside Nine is set amidst a mature forest, while the Waterside Nine meanders around expansive water features.

Perhaps the most iconic hole is the par-3 13th on the Waterside, which presents a green seemingly floating in a sea of water lilies. This hole epitomizes the blend of challenge and beauty that defines Baywood Greens.

Adding to the course’s appeal is the sheer abundance of flowers that grace the property. With over 300,000 flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees, the course is as much a botanical garden as a golf course. This meticulous attention to landscaping detail sets Baywood Greens apart and offers a visually stunning golfing experience.

Facilities at Baywood Greens are top-tier, including a pro shop stocked with golfing essentials, a clubhouse with an award-winning restaurant, and a comprehensive practice facility to help golfers prepare for their rounds.

Bayside Resort Golf Club

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Bayside Resort Golf Club is in Selbyville, a short drive from Ocean City, Maryland, Delaware. It’s the work of art of Jack Nicklaus, this championship layout, unveiled in 2005, provides a stimulating round of golf over its 7,545 yards from the back tees.

This par-72 course is renowned for its thoughtful design that requires strategic shot-making and careful navigation around numerous water hazards.

The course layout offers an engaging mix of woodland, wetland, and links-style holes. Of particular note is the 18th hole, a challenging par-4, where a precise approach shot is required to an island green, a fitting finale to a round at Bayside.

Ocean Pines Golf Club

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Ocean Pines Golf Club is only 19 minutes from bustling Ocean City. Provides a tranquil and challenging golfing experience that contrasts delightfully with the vibrant coastal surroundings.

As the only golf course on Maryland’s Eastern Shore designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., it holds a special place in the area’s golfing landscape. It was unveiled in 1972 and is 6,927 yards from the back tees, offering a par-72 layout that is as strategic as it is enjoyable.

The course’s design is clever, with towering pines lining the fairways and local wildlife often visible during a round. The 4th hole, a challenging par-4, is a standout, requiring a tee shot over water to a dogleg left fairway.

River Run Golf Club

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River Run Golf Club was designed by golf course architect Gary Player in 1991. It is over 6,705 yards from the back tees and offers a blend of link-style holes, marsh challenges, and verdant fairways framed by mature trees.

A standout feature of the course is the set of three consecutive par-5s on the back nine, a unique sequence that provides an exciting challenge towards the end of the round. The 16th hole, a par-3 with water on three sides of the green, is another memorable challenge that requires accuracy and nerve.

Overall, it has six tees with slope ratings between 122 and 136, making it perfect for all skill levels.

Bear Trap Dunes

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This club boasts a 27-hole facility designed by architect Rick Jacobson, a former associate of Jack Nicklaus. The Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club opened in 1999 and is divided into three distinctive nine-hole courses: Grizzly, Kodiak, and Black Bear. Each course offers unique challenges and vistas, ranging from sweeping dunes to grassy hollows, providing an adaptable golfing experience.

The Grizzly features expansive dunes and elevated greens, Kodiak meanders through forested areas, and Black Bear offers a blend of woodland and links-style holes. The variety allows golfers to mix and match the nines for a new experience with each visit.

Standout holes include the 7th on the Kodiak, a par-5 that requires a tee shot over a large dune, and the 4th on the Black Bear, a par-3 surrounded by water, offering an exciting challenge. In 2019, 2021, and 2022, Golf Advisor ranked it among the top ten courses in Delaware.

Bottom Line

Ocean City, Maryland, and its surrounding region offer a wealth of public golf courses that captivate with their diverse layouts, stunning natural beauty, and rich histories. The courses’ thoughtful designs and dedication to environmental conservation and first-class amenities ensure a memorable and enjoyable golfing journey for all who visit.

So, whether you’re a local or a vacationer, tee up and explore these public golf treasures – each swing and putt promises a delightful encounter with the game we love.

Other public golf courses you can enjoy in the U.S. include: