A friend and I hit the road early Saturday morning to play some golf. The Frederick area has quite a few courses and I’ve only played two. It is a short enough drive so we could do our own thing on Friday while still getting out of town on Saturday and Sunday. It took about two and a half hours to get up there and unfortunately it rained most of the way!
Our first stop was at Glade Valley which was going to be our “value” course for the day. The rack rate is $55, but I found a mid-morning time on Golfnow for $35 which saved us some cash. I love a deal! It felt like an even better bargain because the the rain hung around for the first few holes and chased away some other golfers. It wasn’t too busy, and even though we ran into some foursomes on the back, we played in about 4 hours. In an area of expensive golf, paying full price to play Glade Valley would be just fine in my opinion!
Glade Valley is a few minutes north of Frederick in the farmland and rolling hills. There is nothing urban about the course! There aren’t any homes, even on the perimeter holes, and there aren’t any distractions from shopping centers or major roadways. The only things out there are some cows and corn. That’s it! The setting allows for a relaxing round.
Glade Valley is a parkland style course and the perfect course to walk. If you look at the satellite image of it, you’ll see that there are lots of back and forth holes separated by trees. These aren’t the golf ball gobbling trees that line many of the Mid-Atlantic courses either! There is basically a row or two of trees with rough underneath from which someone can play. That means you can bring the aerosol off the tee and use the same golf ball all day! That doesn’t mean you can shoot a career round playing from the trees all day though. The fairways are on the narrow side and the trees are large enough to get in the way of a swing or preferred line. So, a wild tee shot could mean a pitch out.
The rest of the course isn’t the most challenging either so that could be a knock against it. There isn’t any elevation change, the fairways are flatter, and there are just a few elevated greens. There are two tee shots that have to be played through a chute of trees and the water that was in play, could be avoided for the most part. Almost every hole is straight from tee to green and I noticed that the bunkers were flatter than what is found at most courses. We played the tips (the blue tees) which play 72.5/123/6866 so the scorecard reflects that it is an easier place to play.
Considering that the course took on plenty of water recently, it was in excellent shape! The greens rolled great and were much faster than I expected given the all the moisture. There weren’t any footprints on them and I never had to worry about a putt bouncing offline. The fairways and tees were full, albeit a tiny bit long. That’s understandable though considering that the mowers might not have been out recently. The rough was playable, but on the thicker side. The conditions were definitely a surprise considering the price!
I liked Glade Valley a lot and would recommend it. I found it forgiving, fun to play, and even though the routing wasn’t the most interesting I didn’t think every shot was the same. I played long irons into greens, there were reachable par 5’s, and a terrifying, short par 4. It is a course that let me swing away with the driver, but I still had to think about the best spot from which to play the next shot.
#1 (392 yard par 4):
The tees were up when we played which made the 1st, one of the easier holes on the course, even easier. I still found a way to miss the fairway and three putt it, but there shouldn’t be too many problems on this opening hole. It moves right around some fairway bunkers which should be avoided and the trickiest thing to be found is the right to left sloping green. It is an opportunity to make a par to begin the round!
#2 (400 yard par 4):
The 2nd is the #2 handicap and it is a good test. A fairway bunker up on the right ~270 yards pinches the tee shot for the bigger hitters. I missed the fairway to the left and had to hit a great shot just to find the surface with my approach. The green angles from front right to back left around a pond which can easily come into play. I’d suggest favoring the right side of the fairway and the right side on the approach. However, don’t miss too far right as some trees can affect the pitch!
#3 (184 yard par 3):
The 3rd, at 184 yards, is the longest par 3 on the course. I think it is more difficult than it looks. The green slopes severely from back to front and there is a hazard short right of the green. I didn’t think the hazard would come into play, but it almost did. That means controlling the distance early on in the round is important.
#4 (411 yard par 4):
The 4th is the longest par 4 on the front nine and plays straight away to the green. My only piece of advice is not to miss the green long because the ball could end up lost in a group of trees.
#5 (404 yard par 4):
The 5th doesn’t look all that interesting on the scorecard, but there is more going on than there seems. The tee shot plays downhill to a valley before the approach plays uphill into the green. There are some pines down the left side ~250 yards from the tee which narrow the fairway. The green is deep and slopes from back to front. I’d suggest keeping it below the hole.
#6 (528 yard par 5):
The 6th starts a stretch of potential scoring holes. The tee shot is downhill so it could run out under the proper circumstances. Even though it played as a three shot hole for me, it was still a good chance for birdie with a short iron into the green. There is out of bounds down the right side and the green is a bit elevated which obstructs the view and it has a small false front.
#7 (363 yard par 4):
The 7th is one of the shortest par 4’s on the course. If someone can get through the chute of trees off the tee without incident, it can be an opportunity for a good score. Thankfully the trees don’t extend more than 50 to 100 yards. Pine trees run to the left of the cart path and mounds run down the right side of the hole. A fade is probably the best shape to find the fairway. Two hazards come into play around the green, one is off to the right while the other is long and left.
#8 (168 yard par 3):
The 8th is a mid-length par 3 that plays a little uphill into a green that cannot be seen from the tee. There are bunkers short and long of the back to front and left to right sloping green. You are going to have to know your distance to knock one close!
#9 (490 yard par 5):
The 9th played as the easiest hole on the course for me! It is a short par 5 and one of the few doglegs at Glade Valley. A mound to the left and a bunker to the right narrow the fairway ~225 yards off the tee. I took an aggressive line over the mound and must have got a nice bounce because I was able to go for the green in two with a long iron. Similar to the 8th, there are greenside bunkers short of and over the green. I had to try to thread the needle around the front one with my 3 iron. If laying up, a fairway bunker to the right should be avoided.
#10 (474 yard par 4):
The 10th is listed as the longest par 4 on the course, but it played closer to 450 yards when we were there. The fairway is a bit on the narrow side considering its length and there is a pond short and right of the green. I couldn’t see the pond from the fairway, so if your miss is right (like mine), take that into consideration.
#11 (505 yard par 5):
The 11th is another reachable par 5, but I had to think more than I did on the 9th! The tee shot is should be played between two bunkers to a fairway that has a rise in it. That rise is ~230 yards to get to and a shot short of it will land into an upslope. If someone can carry the ball at least to the top of the rise then they can get a nice kick and get some roll. From there, it is a chance to go from the green but the best shot is going to be a hook from a downhill lie. The green angles from front right to back left around a bunker and there is water off to the right. Playing to the front right part of the green isn’t a bad idea.
#12 (436 yard par 4):
The 12th is a long par 4 that plays to a blind landing area. There isn’t any hidden trouble and the fairway is larger than it looks from the tee. The only bother is going to be a downhill lie for the approach which at best is probably going to be a mid-iron. Making good contact on the approach is important because the green is slightly elevated. There is a grass bunker short and right of the green which shouldn’t be a bad spot to bail out.
#13 (171 yard par 3):
The 13th is a mid-length par 3, but it was only playing ~150 yards when we were there. The green complex is brilliantly designed for a mid-iron and made it fun trying to play the perfect shot. The green slopes from left to right towards a pond (which also guards the 7th green). Anything landing to the right of the green is going to kick in the water so make sure to favor the left side. I tried to cut my shot into the green and use the slope to get it close. I missed left of the green and had a speedy chip which I ran well past the flag. I think there were some bunkers to the left of the green which had been filled in making it more playable. All sorts of numbers can be made here which I think makes it fun.
#14 (327 yard par 4):
The 14th is a short par 4 that drove me nuts! I was happy with my bogey and I even hit the fairway! The tee shot plays through an extremely narrow opening to a rather large fairway. I’d like to see those trees trimmed back to make the tee shot a bit easier. It was just a layup club off the tee and I found myself on the right side of the fairway after slicing it more than I wanted. That worked out well because I had just a pitching wedge firing up the gut of the narrow green. If playing from the left side then the angle is going to be much tougher. There is water to the left of the green and the right side drops off into rough that is below green level. I thought the best play from the low area was a bump and run into the mound with water lurking long. Scary!
#15 (168 yard par 3):
The 15th plays a bit uphill into a green that is partially hidden by the terrain. The green is larger than it looks and again there are bunkers short and long.
#16 (530 yard par 5):
The 16th is the longest par 5 on the course, it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. The tee shot plays a bit uphill to a fairway that narrows near the left bunker (~240 yards). I fanned my tee shot out by the cart path and had no trouble finding it. After the tee shot the rest of the hole plays slightly downhill into a green with a small false front. That makes controlling the spin for the third important.
#17 (455 yard par 4):
The 17th played about 400 yards and I didn’t even see a tee box where it could play the full 455 yards. It was a bit downwind so I hit driver and a short iron into the green. The fairway slopes some from right to left, but even with a bunker off to the right I found the tee shot to be inviting. The green is deeper than it looks from the fairway so that might throw off some second shots.
#18 (460 yard par 4):
The 18th is the longest par 4 on the course and the #3 handicap! A creek cuts across the fairway ~260 yards so laying up might be needed depending on the wind and how firm the course is playing. From there it should be a long club into the green. I missed the fairway and the best I could do was slash my hybrid out short of the green. It still gave me a chance for a par after a good chip so there is a chance to recover.