And closer to home ...

The Baltimore Sun

Don't have the time to get the college golf experience in North Carolina, Pennsylvania or Virginia? You might want to try the University of Maryland's golf course in nearby College Park.

Located on University Boulevard near the Stadium Drive entrance to the campus, this George Cobb-designed course is celebrating its 50th season of operation and will be undergoing a $3.5 million renovation scheduled to begin in mid-July. Cobb designed more than 100 courses, including the par-3 course at Augusta National with Bobby Jones.

The Maryland course, which plays to a more-than-challenging 6,759 yards and par-72 from the yellow tees (6,319 yards from the whites, 6,025 from the blacks and 5,525 from the reds) is one of the best buys for its quality, convenience and accessibility in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Yearly memberships are available for $2,000 (seven days a week) and $1,575 (Monday through Friday). Members pay an $8 cart fee for nine holes and a $15 cart fee for 18. Greens fees for nonmembers are also reasonable, ranging from $20 to walk after 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday to $62 with a cart Friday through Sunday.

There will be a number of tournaments between now and July 15, when the course is scheduled to close for about 10 months. Once it reopens, there will be a one-time $1,000 "friend of the course" fee, but that will be waived for those who join this year. Upon the course's reopening, fees will return to the 2007 structure of $2,250 for the yearly seven-day membership and $1,575 for the five-day membership.

From personal experience, this course is every bit as demanding as college courses such as Finley (another Cobb design) and others in the Mid-Atlantic. While the greens have gotten a little less severe in their slope, the course itself is a terrific test of golf.

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