Clustered Spires is run by the city of Frederick, Maryland and is adjacent to the Frederick municipal airport (about 10 minutes from downtown Frederick). We played on August 7, 2011 at the height of the summer heat and drought that’s gripped the Washington D.C. area. Surprisingly, the course was in good shape, with well watered tee boxes, lush fairways, and thick receptive greens. There’s not much length to the course with the regular men’s tees playing just over 6,200 yards. Most par-4s are under 400 yards and several par-5s are reachable in two with a good tee shot. Water comes into play on a few holes but there are no forced carries and ample bail-out areas for sprayers off the tee.
My last three times out at Clustered Spires, I’ve switched to a ball with a lower spin rate (Titleist DT Roll) as I’ve found my regular ball (Pro-V1) provides too much bite on these greens. Again today, those in our group playing high spin balls were backing up full iron shots 10-20 feet. Once on the greens, the surfaces rolled smooth and were easy to read, albeit a little slow, as the greens crew was clearly working to preserve them in the heat.
Value (4.0 out of 5.0)
Greens fees are quite reasonable with a weekday fee of $40 to ride and $59 for Saturday/Sunday. The combination of low greens fees and good course conditioning in the summer heat make Clustered Spires a very good value for your golfing dollar.
Facilities (3.0 out of 5.0)
Clustered Spires has a good size clubhouse that encompasses a nice fully stocked pro shop, a walk up grill with a medium size indoor seating area, and a fairly large covered patio overlooking the 9th green and 1st tee. Separate practice putting and chipping greens are available, but the chipping green lacks an extended closely mowed area for practicing longer pitch shots. A good size grass driving range is available but was in very poor shape with hardly any grass remaining. Either the hitting area had not been rotated, the summer heat and lack of water had taken their toll, or both. As a result, I spent most of my warm up hitting woods and irons off a tee. Our only complaint with the course was the hard packed crusty condition of the sand. While consistent from hole to hole, it was too firm and hadn’t appeared to be groomed for quite some time.
Customer Experience (3.5 out of 5.0)
Calling ahead for a reserved tee time was easy and there were ample times available one week in advance. The staff in the pro shop and snack bar were friendly and helpful. Our starter seemed organized but tried to be too accommodating and sent a twosome off ahead of us and in our time slot. These guys had played nine holes on the back and were looking to squeeze in nine more. As a result, we were frequently waiting on our front nine until the twosome mysteriously quit and rode in after six holes. The pro shop staff should work to better ensure the integrity of the scheduled starting times. On the course, the beverage cart came by every five or six holes and there was a good supply of fresh cold drinking water. Starting in late morning, activity at the adjacent airport picked up with a fairly continuous drone of propeller driven aircraft and sightseeing helicopters. If you’re looking for quiet secluded golf experience, Clustered Spires is not it, but for a fairly inexpensive municipal golf course with pretty good conditioning at reasonable prices, you can’t go wrong. I’ll be back.