Three area golf developments in various stages of operation are about to give golfers in general, public course players in particular, a selection with something for everybody.
The Easton Club and River Downs are 18-hole courses, considered by their representatives as "the missing link" between the private country club with all its amenities and a public facility. Mount Vista Golf Course is an 18-hole executive course, measuring about half the distance of the others.
Mount Vista, located on Raphael Road at Mount Vista in Bradshaw (northeast Baltimore County, east of Belair Road between Perry Hall and Kingsville) is the only one of the three with all 18 holes open.
This is the executive layout, which opened in the spring, with three sets of tees ranging from 3,078 yards to 3,652 yards. The longest hole from the middle markers is the 18th, 310 yards, with seven holes between 220 and 260.
The head professional is Fred Christian, previously an assistant at Sparrows Point CC, and Gil Fowler is the course superintendent. Although the driving range and golf course are open, construction on a large clubhouse is not expected to be completed until later in the summer.
Information is available at (410) 592-5467.
The Easton Club, located on Oxford Road (Route 333) just off Easton Parkway (Route 322) will celebrate its opening with a reception Wednesday, although the golf course is not expected to be open until late next month. At that time, all 18 holes will be available.
Robert D. Rauch, an Easton native who had his eye on the property as a golf course development as long as 10 years ago, designed the course with mounding and some elevation. There is a mixture of open space and tree-lined fairways, plus several ponds that come into play, and no two holes look the same.
There are four sets of tees, with yardages ranging from 5,230 to 6,703, and playing to a par of 72.
Rauch has gone through three developers and six site plans trying to come up with the right combination.
"We plan on being a full-service operation, giving the golfing public a country club atmosphere," said Rauch, the club's general manager, and president of the Whole In One Design Group.
Mike Kohn, a former assistant at Hog Neck GC, is the head golf professional, and Ken McFadden, formerly at Wyncote GC in Oxford, Pa., the course superintendent.
Information is available at (800) 277-9800.
River Downs, located on Route 91 in Carroll County, is similar in that a residential community is being developed around the golf course. This is an upscale facility, with fees to match, although the charges are comparable to similar projects elsewhere, including The Easton Club.
Where the two differ, however, is in their topography. It's the relatively flat Eastern Shore vs. the rolling Central Maryland countryside. As a result, architect Arthur Hills incorporated dramatic vistas in his layout, using ponds, streams and ravines.
The name says it all: River Downs Golfers Club. With four sets of tees, and yardages from 5,033 to 6,873, there is a course for all -- mostly a challenge.
The course is expected to play easier than it looks, which is fortunate, considering such holes as No. 1, where there is 4 4TC 140-foot drop from tee to fairway; No. 6, with a 2 1/2 -acre lake, or No. 8, with an imposing ravine. The front nine opened last week, and the other nine is expected to be ready by mid-July. In the meantime, some user-friendly fees are in effect.
Pace of play will receive a high priority for this course, one of 15 owned and built by GolfSouth (another is Lee's Hill in Fredericksburg, Va.). Tee times will be at 10-minute intervals and the course is well-marked.
Bob Bowen is general manager and head professional, and Tom Tuttle is superintendent. Information is available at (410) 526-2000.
This week's schedule
Tomorrow--MAPGA Championship (Qualifying round), Cattail Creek CC, 9 a.m. Tuesday--Women's Golf Association, Eagle's Nest, 9 a.m. Thursday--U.S. Senior Open, Congressional CC, Bethesda, 7 a.m.; Middle Atlantic PGA pro-am, The Bay Club, Berlin, 8 a.m.; Middle Atlantic PGA Senior Tour, Suburban Club, 9 a.m. Friday--U.S. Senior Open, Congressional CC, Bethesda, 7 a.m.; Middle Atlantic PGA pro-am, Wicomico Shores GC, 8 a.m. Saturday-Sunday--U.S. Senior Open, Congressional CC, Bethesda, 8:30 a.m.