Baltimore Country Club (Five Farms East)

Baltimore Country Club (Five Farms East) – Played April 2018

  • Rankings: Golf Magazine #94
  • Location: 11500 Mays Chapel Road, Timonium, Maryland
  • Year: 1926
  • Original Architect: A.W. Tillinghast
  • Additional Work By: Brian Silva & Keith Foster
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Caddies & Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 7,181 yards, Par 70, 75.1 Rating/141 Slope
  • Blue: 6,664 yards, Par 70, 72.9 Rating/136 Slope
  • White: 6,201 yards, Par 70, 70.6 Rating/129 Slope
  • Gold: 5,948 yards, Par 70, 68.8 Rating/128 Slope
  • Red: 5,725 yards, Par 75, 73.6 Rating/140 Slope

The second of my Maryland double dip was the East course at Baltimore Country Club.

I was really excited to play here due to the Tillinghast design and the competition history of the club.  The club has played host to a murderer’s row of tournaments including the 1899 US Open, 1928 PGA Championship, 1932 US Amateur, 1965 Walker Cup, 1988 US Women’s Open, 2007-2009 Senior Players Championship.  BCC is one of only two clubs to host this lineup of events.

The original location of the club was the Roland Park location.  In the 1920’s the club made the decision to have the East course built at the Five Farms location.  Golf no longer exists at the Roland Park campus, but it is still home to tennis and squash.

With two courses the Five Farms location is the club’s golf hub.  It is one of only 12 clubs nationwide that operates on two different campuses.  The club has been recognized as one of the most prestigious clubs in the country. It is also recognized as one of the first 100 clubs established in the US and has been a USGA member since 1898.

Once I got to the course I got to meet the head pro, Greg Jones, who was an excellent host.  I was set up with a cart and range balls to warm up.  I was playing solo late in the afternoon so I was able to take my time with photos and enjoying the course.

I played the white tees so all yardages are listed from those.

Hole 1 – 408 yards – Par 4 – Gateway

You get no easy introduction here with a longish par 4 to start.  The landing area is open for a big drive.

Due to the slope uphill to the green the hole plays longer than the yardage.  More club is needed to reach the putting surface.

The green here is absolutely massive.  I was struck by the scale right from the start.  The surface is relatively flat, but you may have trouble with distance control.

Hole 2 – 418 yards – Par 4 – Poplars

The tee shot here is set up to be a long one.  Drives will land on a downslope and get big bounces forward.  The road and trees run tight along the left side so err on the right.

The second shot is an awesome visual.  The tabletop green is raised from the bunkers surrounding it and provides a great target.  You definitely want to avoid the bunkers on the left that sit well below the green.

The putting surface has slopes around the outer edges making accuracy on the approach imperative.

Hole 3 – 361 yards – Par 4 – Orchard

This is a truly interesting hole.  The fairway slopes heavily from left to right.  The tee shot needs to be carefully played to avoid having it run through the fairway on the right.

The approach shot plays back to the left and up the hill in direct contrast to the tee shot.  With a short iron into the green the spin will need to be controlled.

I liked this view of the green as I approached.  It gives a good idea of the scale and sloping.

The view from behind the green shows the slope from back to front.  You don’t want to be back here.

This final angle shows the true severity of the contouring.  Short putts here can break as much left or right as they are long.

Hole 4 – 138 yards – Par 3 – Plateau

This is the type of hole I was waiting for when I got this course booked.  I love the raised green with bunkers surrounding it at lower elevations.  This look just makes me think of classic architecture.  Up and downs from the sand are going to be super difficult.

The bunker behind the green is hidden from the tee, but is ready to scoop up long shots.

Hole 5 – 391 yards – Par 4 – Lookout

The tee shot here plays uphill to a blind landing area.  The trees on the left are in play.  The fairway is pretty wide so driver is the play here.

Once you get to the fairway the green comes into view.  This is another huge green.  The fairway dips down on the way to the green that is open in front.

Here is a closer look at the green.  You can see the putting surface is squared off.  I loved this touch and it was my first experience with it since I haven’t played any Raynor courses yet.

Hole 6 – 566 yards – Par 5 – Barn

This is a very interesting hole.  Per the GPS system is was well under 500 yards to the green.  However, the area to the left is occupied by a huge barn.  You can see the corner of it below.  Big hitters can take aggressive lines over the structure, but it you play out to the right the hole plays its full yardage.

Here is a look at more of the barn.

The rest of the hole plays slightly downhill.  For the second shot you must take into account cross bunkers.

The green is guarded by a deep bunker on the left.  Shots that go long will be in trouble.  As you can see the green seems to fall off on the back side.

This following photos show the slope of the green from back to front.  You can also see the scale of the putting surface.  You can face some long putts here.

Hole 7 – 331 yards – Par 4 – Dogleg

The first time around it may be tough to find a good line here.  Long players can challenge the trees on the left for a shorter second shot.  However, the angle is not as good from there.  A good line for most players will be just right of the bunker in the distance.

This is a spectacular setting for a green.  The large, sweeping bunker in front is joined by the smaller bunkers around the rest of the green.  It is framed really well.

The view below shows the elevation difference even 10 yards from the green.

On this final photo, the slope of the green is revealed.  It is essentially two tiers.  Downhill putts will be extremely quick.

Hole 8 – 307 yards – Par 4 – Sidesaddle

This shorter hole still provides plenty of challenge.  The fairway slopes more to the right than it seems.  Drives should favor the left side for flatter lies.

I didn’t take my own advice on ended up on the right side.  Overall it looks like a flattish shot.  I enjoyed the look of the infinity green.  Misses will need to be short here.

Hole 9 – 151 yards – Par 3 – Spectators

This extremely uphill one-shotter is difficult to get right.  The distance needs to be spot on.  You can see the outline of the large bunker that is in front of the green.  It really shouldn’t be in play.

From behind the green, you can see the putting surface sloping from back to front.  The contour is actually pretty severe and requires deft touch on putts.

 

Hole 10 – 348 yards – Par 4 – Pond

This was one of my favorite holes on the course.  A large hill occupies the right side with rough transitioning to the fairway.  Shots up the side should get kicks back to the left.  There is a creek up the left side to be aware of.

The main obstacle to the approach is the pond that guards the front and left of the green.

The square-shaped green is canted from back to front.  Accuracy is important here since over the green is no picnic.

Hole 11 – 383 yards – Par 4 – Willows

I played through a group on this hole so I only got a picture from the tee.  The tee shot plays to a flat landing area that moves on to an uphill approach shot.  The green is guarded by a large bunker front, right.

Hole 12 – 369 yards – Par 4 – Creek

While it is a shorter hole there is plenty to keep your attention.  A creek runs up the right side around the corner of the dogleg.  The bold line is to play a fade off the hazard.

The second shot plays a good ways back uphill.  A wedge is probably all you need into the green, but make sure to get it there.

The bunker shown here provides an interesting visual challenge.  From a playing perspective, it shouldn’t affect anything.  It is not in the driver landing area and is well short of the green.

Hole 13 – 145 yards – Par 3 – Dogwood

Playing back into the grove of trees the green here is shrouded in shadows.  The target is pretty big considering the short distance.  A miss long is the worst outcome.

Here is a closer look at the green contouring.

Hole 14 – 559 yards – Par 5 – Hell’s 1/2 Acre

This just might be the best hole here.  The tee shot is blind as you can see below.  Due to the length of the hole you’ll want to save your best drive for this one.

As you get to the top of the hill the rest of the hole reveals itself.  This is the start of Tillinghast’s “Great Hazard’.  Andy from The Fried Egg gives a good explanation of the Great Hazard here.

The Great Hazard is made up of bunkers and mounds with long grass.  You truly want to stay away from here.

The green is raised and protected in the front by a bunker.  Distance control is important as shots over the green are pretty difficult.

Here is the view from the right of the green.  I was amazed at the scale of this green site.  Staggering.

The next two photos are some of my favorite vistas.  You really get a sense of the fairway contours and scale of the hole.

Hole 15 – 411 yards – Par 4 – Evergreens

I’m starting to get the feeling that Tilly liked his blind tee shots.  If you can bomb one here it will get a lot of roll down the fairway.

This approach is quite picturesque.  The two interestingly shaped bunkers guard each side of the green.

Hole 16 – 397 yards – Par 4 – Knoll

With a fairway canting to the right tee shots should be played up the left side of this hole.  The longer the better.

After the tee shot the fairway goes downhill and plays back uphill to the green.  More club will likely be needed.  A deep bunker lurks on the right side of the green.

Hole 17 – 156 yards – Par 3 – Picturesque

It was starting to get to the point in the day with long shadows.  I love the way a golf course looks at this time of the day.

This tee shot plays slightly uphill with a large slope in front covered in rough.  The omnipresent bunkers provide an additional challenge.

The large green has plenty of movement throughout.

 

Hole 18 – 362 yards – Par 4 – Apple Trees

The final hole plays up to its name with a small orchard on the left.  The sun washed out a bit of the view, but a fade plays well here.

The short approach is inviting with the bunkers quite a bit off of your intended target line.  Beware of hitting over the green, which is definitely a theme of the day.

Here is a closer look at the green.

The experience at BCC was awesome from start to finish.  It was everything an old-school, Golden Age gem should be.  I loved the bunkering throughout the course and the greens had incredible charm.

The members here are truly blessed with an awesome golf course.  I also applaud the restoration work throughout.  I’ll leave you with the view of the clubhouse below where plenty of members were enjoying their Sunday afternoon.

 

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