GolfStyles Spring 2016 : Page 38

you and Bulle Rock is not easy, but it is manageable if you can keep the number of errant shots to a minimum. Take, for example, the par-5 second, where hazards line both sides of the fairway off the tee and then a cross-hazard tries to hinder your route to the green. It takes almost Tour-level skill to consider reaching in two, so the smart player makes two safe shots and a wedge to the green. But the elevated tee box and the fact that the entire hole lays out before you begs you to hit driver. Dye’s mean streak is nastiest at the par-4 ninth, where the view from the tee includes a small lake, three bunkers and a steep bank. He throws several options at you, including a dare to the mighty to launch a missle at the finger of fairway directly BULLE ROCK’S PAR-4 NINTH across the lake (again this takes Tour-level skill) and significantly shorten the hole but, in the end, it’s a straight solid drive that works best. “This golf course is tough, there’s no doubt about that,” Rounsaville says. “But it’s fair. There are no forced carries off the tee and almost everything is right in front of you.” Although sometimes the best view isn’t from the tee. “When you look back at the holes from green to tee, you can really see what a wonderful job Pete Dye did here. It reminds me of the times I’ve played Pine Valley, just looking back at the holes and shaking my head. I don’t ever get tired of doing that at Bulle Rock, this is just a great place.” What sets Bulle Rock apart is not just the fact that the golf course is exemplary in every respect. It’s that every element of Bulle Rock is exemplary in every respect. Silks Restaurant is not just a place to grab a burger at the turn (although it may well be the best golf course burger you’ve ever had) or wings and a beer après golf. Silks is the equal of any country club restaurant and as good as most city restaurants. It has been called one of the best restaurants between Wilmington and Baltimore, and there’s no reason not to believe it. If it weren’t for the view of the golf course, Silks could easily be mistaken for a bright and modern downtown location. The menu pays tribute to its Chesapeake Bay locale with traditional crab dishes and an interesting addition to the standard soup duo of cream of crab and tomato-based Maryland crab. Frosted crab is a unique fusion of chilled cream of tomato with sour cream, Bloody Mary mix, lump crabmeat and, of course, Old Bay seasoning. At almost any time Silks is populated with more locals than golfers, proving that it’s as much a destination restaurant as Bulle Rock is a destination course. The rest of the clubhouse is equal to most country clubs as well – a spacious and well-appointed locker room, one of the biggest, best and well-stocked pro shops in the public course arena and space for small group meetings or large wedding receptions. The outside service staff consists largely of retired men who are golfers themselves so they understand what the player willing to spend the high dollar for a round wants. They’ll grab your clubs from the trunk and load them on a cart without a lot of chit-chat. But when conversation does come up, their knowledge of golf and the Bulle Rock course are impressive and refreshing compared to the high school teens at other daily-fee courses who are just looking for a tip. A forgotten fact about Bulle Rock is that it was originally intended to be 36 holes. Pete Dye did the design for the second 18, and some of the initial clearing was done about 15 years ago. But the golf economy sputtered and the course never materialized. Yes, our loss, but Bulle Rock times two might be more than most of us could handle. And no one ever tires of playing the original. If you haven’t yet, it’s your loss. 36 GOLFSTYLES | SPRING 2016

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