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Schedule An Early Round And See Autumn Sunrise

September 14, 2010

By Matt Hombach

As the days shorten, you don't need to wake up at 5 a.m. to savor a sunrise on the links.(Matt Hombach)
While spring and summer are thought of as the prime golf seasons in the mid-Atlantic, autumn offers some excellent opportunities to enjoy the game during moderate temperatures and on less-crowded courses -- and make some great memories to carry through the cold winter months. If you're looking for some inspiration, here are five things to keep in mind this fall. 

• Treat yourself to a sunrise round on the water.
As the days shorten, you don't need to wake up at 5 a.m. to savor a sunrise on the links. Two Maryland courses featuring spectacular sunrises include Rocky Point on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay and Lighthouse Sound in Ocean City.

Rocky Point is less than a 20-minute drive from downtown Baltimore and holes 10, 11 and 12 offer a beautiful view of the sunrise over the water. Take advantage of Rocky Point's back nine early bird special for less than $25. Tee times start around 7 a.m. this time of year.

Not only is fall a great time to golf, it is also an ideal time to visit Ocean City. Hotel rates drop, the summer crowds are gone and a moderately early wake-up time can put you on the course at Lighthouse Sound in time for sunrise. Widely recognized as one of Maryland's best courses, many of Lighthouse Sound's holes offer sweeping views of Assawoman Bay and the Ocean City skyline.

• Get up close with top pros at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship. 
The final major of the Champions Tour season has migrated south this year to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm near Washington, D.C. While Baltimore-area fans will have to travel a bit to attend, tournament organizers offer free admission to the event running Oct. 5-10. Constellation's tournament consistently draws a strong field. Tom Watson, Nick Price and Hale Irwin are among those already committed to tee it up along with defending champion Jay Haas.

• Support top local golfers with a trip to the Baltimore City Amateur. 
While the pros compete in Washington this fall, closer to Baltimore some of the region's best amateur golfers will battle at Hunt Valley Golf Club in the Baltimore City Amateur invitational tournament Oct. 16-17. The event has a rich history dating back to 1955 and is modeled after the Masters with invitations going to Baltimore-area players qualifying by their performance in various Maryland golf tournaments. 

Newly-minted Loyola golf coach Chris Balogna was the 2009 champion with Brad Foxwell taking the crown in 2008 and Michael Fader winning in 2007, when the event was contested at Woodholme. The tournament was last played at Hunt Valley Golf Club in 1986 when John Terminella claimed the championship.

• Enjoy some "leaf peeping" during your round of golf.
While tourists from all over the world converge on the northeast to take in the changing colors of the fall foliage, the rolling ridges surrounding courses in the Baltimore suburbs and countryside offer the chance to enjoy splashes of fall color. Tree-lined courses like the Timbers at Troy, The Woodlands and Cross Creek provide the perfect setting for a fall round among mature hardwoods. Twilight rates and a number of fall specials at local courses offer further enticement to squeeze in one more round before colder weather sets in.

• Catch Ryder Cup fever. 
One of the finest fall golfing traditions in the world is the biannual Ryder Cup duel between the United States and Europe. The contest takes place Oct. 1-3 at the Celtic Manor in Wales.

The drama surrounding Tiger Wood's on-course performance and U.S. captain Corey Pavin's captain's picks only adds to the intrigue of this event. With a talented European team boasting home field advantage, chances of the American team's retaining the Cup is far from a foregone conclusion. Watching the best players in the world go at it in team competition including match play and alternate shot formats is always entertaining and makes for compelling TV viewing after a long PGA Tour season. 

Issue 153: September 2010