You get the idea that you have arrived at a special place when you turn into the long driveway of Nutter's Crossing Golf Course and drive toward the elegant clubhouse at its end. This is a course open to the public with a plush private club feeling.
And for vacationers, it is well worth the 35-mile drive from Ocean City out U.S. 50 toward Salisbury. I can also see some real golf buffs making Nutter's Crossing a stopover on the way into Ocean City or on the way back home.
Conceived by Thomas H. Ruark, a custom home builder in the Salisbury area, it was designed by Ault, Clark & Associates, the same firm that created Avenel at Potomac, the PGA Tour course that annually hosts the Kemper Open. Ault also designed the Beach Club Golf Club in Berlin.
Mr. Ruark plans a residential community around the golf course but the course itself is planned as a public course, a most needed commodity for folks in the Salisbury area.
The course at Nutter's Crossing belies its typically level Eastern Shore setting with a combination of rolling fairways, ponds and more than 50 sand bunkers. The greens are excellent and all were built to U.S.G.A. specifications.
For more enjoyment and playing pleasure, there are contrasting nines. The front side is reminiscent of an old European style and the home side is scenically tree-lined. There is water on 11 holes.
It has already established a reputation as a real fun place to play, especially for women. The blue tee distance total is 6,033 yards and the whites a modest 5,668, with the women's red tees set at a comfortable 4,851 yards. Par for everybody is 35-35--70.
This is a course designed with the average golfer in mind. It also has not been dominated by low handicappers.
The stately, all-brick, colonial clubhouse offers a restaurant with seating for 80 people, including a lounge and bar. Plenty of gas carts are on hand to carry you on your merry way and the fully stocked pro shop is complemented by both men's and women's locker rooms.
There is an expansive driving range, which opened well before the course itself did, and it is lighted for evening practice, open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lessons are available by appointment from golf director Willis Johnson and assistant pro Rob Bailey.
From Ocean City you drive west on U.S. 50 and get up on the Bypass South to the first exit for Snow Hill. Coming off that ramp make a left turn and go under the bypass a short distance to the entrance for Nutter's Crossing.