Initial ThoughtsSouth River has a daunting reputation as a tough course. It is a resort course venue at a reasonable rate. From the moment you arrive, you are made to feel like a member of a country club. Greeted at your car, clubs are whisked away, carried off until you meet up with them later when you are ready to play. Tee times are generously spaced ten minutes apart giving you the feeling of solitude on the course. The course plays through rolling central Maryland countryside dotted with creeks and marshland, all environmentally protected. There are multi-million dollar homes within view of the course, most of which are out of play and in dreamlike wooded settings. This is a challenging course for a skilled player where course management comes into play and keeps you coming back to better your score.
Date PlayedSunday, March 25th, 2007
Value - 8.0South River is more pricey than other public courses in the area but a value compared to a country club. Beginning April 1, 2007, rates are $83 Monday - Thursday, and $94 Friday, weekends and holidays. Located 30 miles from Washington and Baltimore, South River is a very good value compared with similar courses in the region. Rated #3 in Golf Digest's Best Public Courses in Maryland, South River is a must play for the golfer who likes a challenge while enjoying beautiful vistas and scenery.
Pace of Play - 9.0I played this course on a beautiful early spring Sunday afternoon and as a two-some, we played the round in 4 hours, 10 minutes. We were behind a foursome, with a threesome in front of them. Everybody kept moving at a good pace, even with cart path only rules because of wet conditions. The front nine is wide open with generous fairways. This gets everyone moving and promotes a good pace of play. The back nine tightens somewhat into a shot makers course with numerous creek and wetland carries. The eighteenth hole is a challenging semi-island green and when youGÇÖve holed out, you look forward to coming back again.
Course/Maintenance - 8.5South River was built in 1996 and designed by Brian Ault. Bent grass makes up the greens and fairways. Greens are of average size and speed for Maryland courses. Cut through a hard wood forest, the 165 acre course is sufficiently marked both on the cart path and the sprinkler heads. Several tee boxes are elevated providing beautiful vistas of the fairway and green below. A few of the greens are two-tiered making you think about the approaching shot. Thankfully, a booklet is given to all golfers, outlining each hole with yardage and tips.
Women have a wonderful advantage from the forward tees, passing many creeks and environmental areas to arrive at the tee box. But donGÇÖt be fooled - there is a lot of trouble just waiting for the womanGÇÖs tee shot.
The course is in very good shape this early in the season, however divots need to be filled in on the fairways once the growing season begins. The back tees on #8 were under repair on this par 5, moving all the tee boxes up to the forward tees.
Hospitality - 10.0All of the Atlantic Golf courses (Queenstown, Potomac Ridge and South River) have the reputation of supreme hospitality. Guests are treated very graciously and are made to feel important. It is a pleasure to be in the staffGÇÖs company. The ranger even has kind words as he innocuously drives around.
Scenery - 9.5It is a treat to play at South River and to dream about living like GÇ£the other half.GÇ¥ Not only do you get to commune with nature, similar to most courses, but the mansions sitting on at least an acre lot dotting the countryside are spectacular. The landscaping is refreshing both on the course and in the backyard of homes. You get to see it all, from streams and brooks, to private swimming pools and tennis courts. The birds were extremely vocal on this spring day where we spotted woodpeckers and soaring eagles.
Overall - 9.0 (not an average)South River is a must play if you are in the Washington/Baltimore/Annapolis area. Although it is very difficult and challenging, it keeps players coming back for more. There is a certain class and charm about the place that makes any player feel comfortable and welcome. And, if you donGÇÖt hit fairways, bring plenty of balls.
Review by Tanya Rachfal. (HowDoIReview?)
[ comments ]
I belonged to South River for three years until my work kept me from playing enough to warrant spending the annual fee.
It's a beautiful layout, and pretty difficult. It tends to be fairly wet. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Don't play this course if you spray your shots. There are many areas where being just a bit off the fairway means an unplayable ball. It's target golf at its finest - you have to think your way around the course. Don't be surprised if you get killed the first time you play here - there's a huge benefit to knowing where to put your ball. It's probably not the best place if you're a high handicapper.
Overall, an excellent course, but starting to get up there in price.
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10.0 - 9.5 World Class
9.4 - 8.5 Awesome
8.4 - 7.5 Very good
7.4 - 6.5 Above Average
6.4 - 4.5 Solid
4.4 - 3.5 Below Average
3.4 - 2.5 Save Your Money
2.4 - 0.0 Pay NOT to go