Tag Archives: Prospect Bay

The Hand Wedge Open

The first tournament of the year is in the books and it went very well, sort of.  We were playing a charity event for the United Way of Anne Arundel County, which is a very worthy cause.  The site:  Prospect Bay Country Club in Graysonville, MD.  The format:  Captain’s Choice scramble.  The goal at these events is to raise as much money for the charity as possible.  Normally, the team’s entry fee is the main contribution, but it’s not uncommon to use silent auctions, run other contests, and allow the players to purchase packages of little rules modifications that enhance the competition.  This was no different, and every one of the 80 players purchased a $30 package which included raffle tickets, two mulligans, two sandies, and one tee shot from the forward tees on a par-five.

The good news:  we made everything we looked at and shot 18-under to win, three strokes clear of the two second place teams.  The bad/weird part was how we used the sandies.  These little “enhancers” allow you to throw your ball out of a bunker, which we did three times and resulted in two birdies and an eagle.  Now, everybody was playing by the same rules, but it got weird for me throwing the ball.  I think the game ceases to be golf when you advance the ball with anything other than a club.  I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, but on one occasion, we had one ball on the green about 25 feet putting for birdie.  Another ball was in a greenside bunker which we knew we could throw closer and did.  On another occasion, we deliberately hit our last ball at a bunker to be able to use the throw.

These events are about making money and not necessarily winning.  Some folks construct their teams with ringers and play these things to win every time.  Our team is constructed with good players but built to participate.  Once in a while we win, but our goal is to have fun and fundraise.  This victory felt kind of empty and it’s been bugging me a bit for several days.  I’m not sure why.  Has this ever happened to you after winning with some funky rules?


Prospect Bay Country Club – Course Review



We played Prospect Bay Country Club in Graysonville, MD on Sunday, November 3, 2013.  When you look at the scorecard, the course doesn’t appear to be that challenging, at least from the white tees which measure 6,196 yards and play to a course rating of 69.5/125.  We played with temperatures in the low 50s and a sustained 1-2 club wind which made it feel colder, and the little track played difficult.  I’m going to file away one key thought from my first round:  you must position your tee shots to the correct length for comfortable approaches.  Prospect continually tempts you with seven par-4s between 290 and 370 yards.  My driver was out and wailing all day but after leaving myself with odd yardages on flip wedges that I haven’t practiced, I failed to get any close and was left with the distinct impression that this course could be had from your favorite distance.  Mine is 100 yards, but it’s difficult sitting on the tee of a 290 yard par four knowing you should lay up with a four iron.  After botching approaches in the 40-70 yard range, the strategy became clear.

Par-4 8th at Prospect Bay
Par-4 8th at Prospect Bay

The front nine is out in the open and exposed to whatever winds are blowing in off Prospect Bay but the back is extremely tight off the tee and the holes are well protected.  Despite the sqeeze on the inward half, I preferred it as the shots fit my eye well and I enjoyed the challenge without being buffeted by the gusty winds.

Keep these two tips in mind and you’ll be fine.  Unless you practice partial wedge shots and are comfortable from all distances, layup to your preferred yardage on the little par fours.  On the par five 4th, keep your approach below the hole.  If the pin is cut in front, do not leave your ball on the upper part of the mammoth hump in the green – you will three putt.

The beautiful 10th hole at Prospect Bay
The beautiful 10th hole at Prospect Bay

Value (3.5 out of 5.0)

Prospect Bay doesn’t publish their greens fees because of the semi-private nature of the facility however I found information on the 2012 fees on Golf Digest and based on these figures ($55 weekeday / $65 weekend) that include a cart and complimentary range balls, this is a pretty good value.

Facilities (2.5 out of 5.0)

Prospect had a nice clubhouse and restaurant that was a medium cart drive away from the pro shop, but I wouldn’t say it was convenient.  The pro shop is not much more than a small double wide trailer with a few retail items for sale.  The driving range was all grass and was in good shape but only had room for about a dozen players.  There was a medium sized putting green and a small chipping area at the end of the range.

Out on the course, we found a mixed bag.  Playing conditions through the green were excellent, with the bentgrass greens running very smooth and fast, and the fairways in very good shape.  Unfortunately, the cart paths were in need of major repairs.  Seems like they hadn’t been worked on for quite some time and were fraught with crumbling concrete and holes galore.

Customer Experience (3.0 out of 5.0)

When we arrived at the course, we were met at our car by an attendant who loaded our clubs on a cart and then left it there for us.  Not the usual drop at the curb service, but effective just the same.  There was no food available in the pro shop and we drove our cart to the clubhouse only to find it just opened for business at 11:00 a.m.  So we shoveled down some decent tasting pre made sandwiches and were on our way.  I imagine the full service grill would have been open on a nicer weather day and earlier in the golf season.  Our round was paced only by our struggles with the wind, and we navigated a mostly empty golf course in 4 1/2 hours.

I’d like to come back and play Prospect Bay armed with my local knowledge, and in some calmer conditions.  For the record, I played the white tees at 6,196 yards and shot a 10-over par 82.

Overall Rating (3.0 out of 5.0)

The range at Prospect Bay
The range at Prospect Bay