I have been on three prior golf trips to Ocean City, Maryland but never played the Links at Lighthouse Sound. It's always been mentioned for it's beauty and challenge but for some reason it escaped me each trip. On this my fourth trip, I booked with the Harrison Group (also known as Tee-1-Off) and decided to add the course ranked 89th on the Top 100 Places you Can Play list of 2008 to my schedule. I was not disappointed.
The Links at Lighthouse Sound Course
With four different sets of tees, the Links at Lighthouse Sound has recognized the challenge involved at this course. I thought it was best to play the gold tees so we can experience some of the forced carries that made this course so popular. Playing at over 6,500 yards it's every bit as challenging as you would expect. On two occasions the combination of wind and distance prevented me from getting over the forced carry off the tee. If you want to enjoy the course and it's beauty but minimize your forced carries off the tee box, move up to the blue or white.
The Links at Lighthouse sounds is somewhat of a tale of two courses. In the first eight holes I only ran into a handful of trees but as we crossed longest cart bridge in America (it's 1,500 feet long) and arrived at the 9th tee, we were instantly transported to a new golf course. A little less wind and narrow fairways offered a new kind of challenge for us on the back. Accuracy remains the theme but now an errant tee shot will knock off some tall trees rather than make a splash in the bay.
Three Special Golf Holes
Holes 4, 5, and 6 offer some of the most challenging and beautiful golf I have ever played. The 4th hole is a 385 yard par 4 with carry off the tee box to a narrow fairway. Anything to the right ends up in the bay and if you go to far left, your ball could travel out of bounds. Hitting the fairway offers
only a moment of relief. As you reach your approach shot and take a look at the green you realized there is no bail out. Right, left and long offer nothing but a marshland hazard. Do not be fooled by the beauty, this hole requires every bit of accuracy and concentration you have.
The 5th is my favorite and the signature hole at the Links at Lighthouse Sound. The par 3 can be played at 185 yards from the tips and about 160 of it is carry. Once again there is little room for error as anything right or short will find the marsh (I should know, I put my ball there) and left offers minimal relief in the form of bunkers. Most days the wind will be howling and club selection will be the key to success.
(Mac from 999 Places Blog tees off on the 6th hole.)
If you play the gold or black tees your tee shot on the 6th may be the most intimidating. The 385 yard par 4 requires a shot over the bay (picture above) which runs along the entire right side. Anything left is in the bunkers or out of bounds. Accuracy is key and it might be wise to sacrifice distance to make sure you stay in play.
I would put this course on my must play list. The challenge created by the design and the picturesque views make this course something special. If you're concerned about the challenge or forced carries, move up to the blue or white tees. The scenery doesn't change and on several holes the forced carry is eliminated.
If you're booking a golf trip to Ocean City, Maryland put the Links at Lighthouse Sound on your places to play list.
Location: Bishopville, Maryland (Just outside of Ocean City)
Cost: $49-$169 depending on time of year
Proshop: Yes with plenty of apparel and anything you need.
Range: A grass driving range and practice area
My Score: 84 (43-41)
Play Again: Yes, without a doubt I will play here again.
Website: The Links at Lighthouse Sound