Baltimore (East) - Maryland - USA

Baltimore Country Club,
Five Farms Clubhouse,
11500 Mays Chapel Road,
Lutherville,
Maryland (MD) 21093,
USA


  • +1 410 561 3381

  • Michael Stott

  • A.W. Tillinghast

  • Greg Jones


Although the club was inaugurated in 1898, the East course at Baltimore Country Club was designed by the great genius of golf course architecture, A.W. Tillinghast and it opened for play in 1926.

“Five Farms, which was once just the suburban course of the Baltimore Country Club, is now the hub of the club. It sits amid the rolling hills of Maryland’s “hunt country”, where horses have always been the major sport but from which golf is fast taking over… the course is not overly bunkered and neither is is tremendously long. But those hills present numerous sidehill lies after mishit drives and the greens can get fearsomely slick, although remaining awesomely true.

Baltimore has hosted a number of major events, including the exciting 1965 Walker Cup matches in which Britain and Ireland tied the US team, so breaking a string of losses dating back to 1938. In 1988 the Women’s Open was held there.” Taken from the brilliant New World Atlas of Golf.

Keith Foster completed a restoration project in 2015. According to Tom Doak's Confidential Guide to Golf Courses - Volume 3: "It's still a wonder; Keith Foster's work softened the tilt in a handful of greens, but they are still treacherous after the changes. The most memorable holes are the dogleg par-5 6th, with the maintenance barns in play on the tee shot something like the railway sheds at St Andrews, and the very long 14th, with its Sahara cross-hazard that has to be cleared on the second shot."

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Description: Although the club was inaugurated in 1898, the East course at Baltimore Country Club was designed by the great genius of golf course architecture, A.W. Tillinghast and it opened for play in 1926. Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 2

Five Farms is a Tillinghast gem. It has two of the best par fives he has designed: the par five 6th hole and the par five 14th hole. Tillinghast's other great par five is the 4th at Bethpage Black. The 14th hole at Five Farms is not just one of Tillinghast's best par fives, it is one of the best holes in all of golf, regardless of par or the course architect.

There are only two par fives on the course, and both are world-class. All the holes at Five Farms have a name. The sixth ("Barn") is the only par five on the front and has similarities to the Road Hole at St. Andrews. There is a red barn on the left side of the fairway that a daring hitter can try to hit over to cut the corner, similar to hitting over The Old Course Hotel on the 17th at St. Andrews. It is a classic risk-reward decision. Going for it will leave you with a shot into the green for eagle. Missing the shot will either leave you O.B. or in deep trouble. The hole is a sharp dogleg left after you drive the ball. The fairway on the hole sweeps from left to right, and there is a cross-bunker in the fairway to catch second shots that are topped.

Hole #14 is a 603-yard par five known as Hell's Half Acre and is outstanding in every regard. The hole is a dogleg to the left and Tillinghast uses the terrain perfectly, following the contours of the hills. After hitting your tee shot, you have to hit over "Hell's Half Acre", which is a mix of bunkers, high grasses and mounds. If you hit a successful second shot your ball is at the bottom of a hill, leaving you an uphill shot to an elevated, well-bunkered green. The green is very fast with a big front to back slope.

The use of trees at Five Farms was done artfully throughout the course. They serve as focal points and backdrops and rarely come directly into play unless you are wildly off line. Baltimore has everything I like in a course: a fast pace of play, caddies, no cart paths to mar the beauty, and cell phones have to stay in your car.

John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs

5 / 6
Baltimore (East)
November 20, 2016


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Baltimore Country Club was designed by A.W Tillinghast, who had several courses on the Top 100. He is also credited with Bethpage Black, but recent evidence seems to refute that. He most certainly designed Baltimore and he did an outstanding job. Baltimore Country Club is over 100 years old, although this particular course was not built for the club until 1926 and has hosted five major championships. All of the holes have been named, and those names clearly (if not poetically) describe each hole. Number 4, a par 3 called Plateau, has a huge green sitting high on a plateau. A few holes later is a par 5 dogleg left called the Barn. In its June 2006 issue, Sports Illustrated rated 18 of Tillinghast’s best holes. Number 6 and Number 14 (called Hell’s Half Acre), both par 5s, made that list. The course is beautiful – definitely one of Tillinghast’s best – mostly because of the way it relates to the trees (something that Tillinghast probably had very little to do with). Greens are set in forested amphitheatres that frame the holes, but you never feel like you’re on tree-lined fairway after tree-lined fairway. Number 17, the final par 3, is called Picturesque. Enough said. Larry Berle
3 / 6
Baltimore (East)
December 12, 2014


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Keith Baxter
December 12, 2014
The above review is an edited extract from A Golfer’s Dream, which has been reproduced with the author’s kind permission. A Golfer’s Dream, by Larry Berle, tells the story of how a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses (following Golf Digest’s 2001/2002 list). Larry has exclusively rated for us every course in the hundred, using our golf ball rating system. However, Larry did not rate the 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the hundred. Consequently, in some cases, his rating may seem rather low. A Golfer’s Dream is available in Kindle format and also on Kindle Unlimited via Amazon... click the link for more.