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18th At Mountain Branch Presents Strong Challenge

October 13, 2010

By Matt Hombach

As one of the top public tracks in the Baltimore area, scenic Mountain Branch Golf Course in Harford County offers 18 distinct holes to challenge golfers. 

The par-5 18th hole exemplifies the Mountain Branch experience.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Hombach)

"That's what I like most about this property," said Damon Klepczynski, PGA professional at Mountain Branch. "No two holes are the same and very few holes are perfectly straight. It gives you the chance to be aggressive, but you have to play smart."

The par-5 18th hole exemplifies the Mountain Branch experience. It offers long hitters the chance to get home in two, presenting an exciting finish in tournament play or for settling Nassaus. All golfers will appreciate the aesthetic beauty of 18 as it meanders toward the course's stately clubhouse.  

The hole measures 519 yards from the tips and plays uphill all the way. It presents a risk/reward conundrum right from the start. Guarded by hazards and fescue-covered mounts on both sides, the well-designed hole doles out swift punishment for sloppy tee shots or second shots, which can lead to double bogeys or worse.

Klepczynski encourages golfers to take a more cerebral approach when attacking Mountain Branch's final hole, using brains over brawn to score par or better.

"It is a tough driving hole, so pick a club that will put your ball in the fattest part of the landing area in the fairway, giving you more room for error," he said. "For most golfers, that would be a 5-wood or 3-wood, whichever they hit straightest. From there, they can lay up with an easy 5- or 6-iron, leaving a short iron to the green."

The par-5 18th hole exemplifies the Mountain Branch experience.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Hombach)

A high short iron shot is an ideal approach on this hole. The tricky green slopes back to front and has two tiers separated by a fairly severe 3-foot grade. A water hazard holds a defensive position to the front left of the green and deep rough surrounds the back and sides.

"Laying up on this hole will help you make a pretty safe par and maybe a birdie, but the best part is it takes big numbers out of the equation," Klepczynski said.

While 18 is a memorable challenge, Klepczynski doesn't like to call it Mountain Branch's signature hole.

"We have a lot of standout holes here," he said. "All our shorter par-4s look very different and can come up and bite you if you're not careful. No. 16 is a neat little dogleg right that lets you go for the green, but is no easy hole. A lot of people like the first hole as well. The tee shot there is one of the toughest you'll ever face."

Courses Host Fundraisers
Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation hosts a series of fundraising events to raise awareness and money for the American Cancer Society during October.

Early in the month, BMGC held a closest to the pin contest and discounted golf lesson event with all proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society's Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign.   

For the remainder of the month, each course in the system (Mount Pleasant, Pine Ridge, Forest Park and Carroll Park) will be offering a unique guessing game to raise funds. At each clubhouse, there will be a container filled with pink golf balls, assorted colored balls and tees. For a $1 donation, golfers can guess the number of items. The winner at each clubhouse will win a free round for four at that course. 

$2,500 Scholarship Set
Again this year, the George E. Sonnefeld Foundation will award a $2,500 scholarship to a Baltimore-area high school senior golfer. Students interested in applying should contact their school's athletic director or golf coach, their local golf professional, or Susan DiLonardo at 410-841-5670 or DiLonardo2@aol.com.

Issue 154: October 2010