Well, I’m on a bit of an Ed Ault kick after reviewing a list of his courses that I found online one night. Yeah, exciting stuff I know! Anyway, a friend and I headed out early yesterday to check out Wicomico Shores. I had planned on us playing a course near Fredericksburg in the morning and Wicomico Shores in the afternoon, my Fredericksburg choice aerated last week. So, I moved Wicomico Shores to the morning and we found another course for the afternoon.
It took almost two and a half hours to get to the course from Charlottesville and we got going just after 10am, on what turned out to be an unusually quiet holiday weekend! Traffic was heavy going the opposite direction over the Harry Nice Memorial Bridge and the course’s parking lot was packed when we parked. But, we played under 4 hours trailing a twosome for much of the round. There was a foursome behind us so I was able to get plenty of pictures! I think everyone wanted to beat the heat by playing early!
The course, and the community that it is part of, is located on a bluff overlooking the Wicomico River. If you are like me and hadn’t heard of the Wicomico River before, it is a tributary of the Potomac. What is amazing is that from the clubhouse, you can see for miles as the river snakes across the horizon! For a county course, the clubhouse views are as good as it gets.
If we didn’t have to run to another course after our round here, I would have enjoyed getting some food and taking in the view. I know some courses are burdened with a poor piece of land, but Wicomico Shores is not one of them. The course’s location is going to be the biggest reason to give it a try! You get the nice views, some elevation change, and then flatter holes down in what I believe is the flood plain. The 1st and 10th holes drop down to the flatlands while 9th and 18th climb back up the bluff. Overall, I don’t think it would be a difficult course to walk (besides the 9th and 18th).
We played the blue tees which are 70.7/122/6397 and I found Wicomico Shores an enjoyable course to play! That shouldn’t be a big surprise since Ed Ault designed the course. The nice thing about Wicomico Shores is that it is a shorter course so the distance won’t wear out the faces of your mid irons like many of Ault’s other courses! That is, at least for those average length hitters. There are four short par 4’s that are between 320 and 334 yards where you will likely have wedges into the greens. The par 5’s also can be reached in two, and somehow I ended up with a 9 iron and a 6 iron into two of the par 5’s after cutting the corners perfectly with my drives! No matter though as the birdies eluded me and I made pars on both of them, sigh!
The biggest difficulties at the course are going to be its long par 3’s and a couple holes on the front with lost ball trouble. The par 3’s play 189, 167, 195, and 184 yards. The 8th, at 167 yards, is the best of the 3’s and a debatable signature hole. It plays over a pond to a green framed by a hillside behind it. That pond is definitely in play!
The 4th and the 9th are position holes where you’ll need to get a layup club in play off the tee. I suppose you could hit a driver on the 4th if it goes super straight! The 4th is 329 yards and features a narrow fairway with fescue down the left and a hazard to the right. If you miss right but don’t quite make it to the hazard, then there is a large oak like looking tree (that’s a very technical term) that will grab approaches. The 9th, at 365 yards, is a tough hole as it is on a hillside with lots of slope. You probably don’t want to hit the tee shot more than 220 yards as the fairway runs out into a hazard. You will also want to favor the left side of the fairway because the land slopes right. My friend’s drive landed in the right rough and the ball took a wicked bounce right into the hazard!
The best par 4 on the course is the 10th, which plays a couple stories downhill to the fairway! Take time to enjoy that view and don’t let the tees aim you too far to the left.
The conditions at Wicomico Shores were average at best. Because the course is county run, I wasn’t expecting perfect conditions but for $52 I would have expected more. Except for shaded areas the fairways were full. They are bermuda and because they were on the long side, the ball seemed to nestle down slightly in them. Just enough that I couldn’t contact the back of the ball cleanly. The greens were the best part of the maintenance and rolled smooth, they were just slower and soft. Typical greens in the Mid-Atlantic this time of year! Off the fairways things were more bare. The course was starting to show some summer fatigue!
While the course isn’t my favorite Ed Ault design with lots of layups, it was a fun place to hack it around with my friend as we had our share of par chances. But, for the price I paid I’d struggle to recommend it. If it was closer to $40 or $45 that would make it more appealing. If you venture this way for public golf, Swan Point is the best out of what I’ve played and I’d put Wicomico Shores next in line.
#1 (334 yard par 4):
#2 (383 yard par 4):
#3 (513 yard par 5):
#4 (329 yard par 4):
#5 (324 yard par 4):
#6 (189 yard par 3):
#7 (477 yard par 5):
#8 (167 yard par 3):
#9 (365 yard par 4):
#10 (358 yard par 4):
#11 (395 yard par 4):
#12 (553 yard par 5):
#13 (382 yard par 4):
#14 (195 yard par 3):
#15 (490 yard par 5):
#16 (439 yard par 4):
#17 (184 yard par 3):
#18 (320 yard par 4):