Travelin' Joe's guide to Ocean City, Maryland golf courses

Yet another Delaware design -- and another top-notch Arthur Hills creation -- is Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville. This is another classic Hills effort, playable by all, but a healthy test from the 7,005-yard tips, thanks to undulating fairways and multiple water hazards. A superb practice facility and Nantucket-style clubhouse elevate Heritage Shores, as does its puny price tag.

Still another Ruark property is Nutters Crossing Golf Club, located 25 miles inland in Salisbury, which differs from its Ocean City counterparts in that it features legitimate elevation change. We're not talking about nosebleed altitudes here, but Nutters Crossing serves up rolling fairways and gently sloping hills. The course is short overall, but is always interesting, its 6,163 yards defined by a mostly open front nine and a woodsy back, with water on eight holes. An excellent colonial brick clubhouse awaits after the round.

Ocean Pines Golf & Country Club bears the distinction of being the only Robert Trent Jones Sr. design on the Delmarva Peninsula, and it's blessed with many of the master's favorite design gambits, with strategically deployed water hazards and large, sternly bunkered greens. Formerly an exclusively private domain, this classic layout within the region's largest residential development zips seamlessly through woods and wetlands.

Another addition in the Troon Management stable is the Bay Club, whose East and West courses form a formidable tandem. The East, a 1999 creation, features Zoysia fairways, which makes for a great surface for all handicaps, because the ball sits up perfectly. The older West course, by 10 years, mostly weaves through scrubby oaks and pines and features a terrific group of par 3s, especially the 138-yard 12th and the infamous 189-yard 14th, called "Devil's Island," which plays to the first island green built in the region. Equally memorable is the "Green Monster," a 100-yard wide double green that services the par-5 9th and par-5 18th.

Dining Out
Ocean City and its surrounds are renowned for its quality, variety and value in the cuisine department. Here are five favorites.

-- Ristorante Antipasti in the heart of Ocean City is a legendary Italian eatery that features a vibrant, Old World Ambiance, superior pasta, and a garlic steak for two that's worth a day-long fast just to enjoy it all.

-- Ruth's Chris Steak House not only serves up melt-in-your-mouth steaks that sizzle at 1,800 degrees as they're being made, but are dished out at a historic structure at GlenRiddle Golf Club that once was home to America's greatest thoroughbreds. See the Man O'War, War Admiral and Seabiscuit memorabilia and stay for the steaks.

-- The Greene Turtle enjoys multiple locations throughout the mid-Atlantic, but I can vouch that the Ocean City locations offer convenience, atmosphere and value when it comes to burgers, beers and sports on TV. The Summer House in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware dishes out the best crab cakes in town and a lively environment.

-- Mio Fratello Italian Steakhouse in West Fenwick Island, Delaware, features superb home-made fare, with the sausages and meatballs in a beautifully sweet-spicy sauce a favorite.

Course Information
Links at Lighthouse Sound
Bishopville, Md.
Green fees: $55-$179

Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Links
Berlin, Md.
Green fees: $45-$149

GlenRiddle Golf Club
Berlin, Md.
Green fees: $39-$159

Eagle's Landing
Berlin, Md.
Green fees: $35-$95

Ocean City Golf Club
Berlin, Md.
Green fees: $35-$95

Bayside Resort Golf Club
Selbyville, Del.
Green fees: $85-$179

Baywood Greens
Long Neck, Del.
Green fees: $30-$119

Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club
Ocean View, Del.
Green fees: $39-$135

Heritage Shores Club
Bridgeville, Del.
Green fees: $40-$62

Nutters Crossing Golf Club
Salisbury, Md.
Green fees: $29-$59

Ocean Pines Golf & Country Club
Ocean Pines, Md.
Green fees: $25-$68

The Bay Club
Berlin, Md.
Green fees: $29-$85

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