Bulle Rock – home to the McDonalds LPGA Championship from 2005 to 2009 – is one of the most successful daily fee courses to have opened in the US since the mid-1990s.
Pete Dye was given an enormous 560-acre estate high on a hill overlooking Chesapeake Bay to route an 18-hole layout and he is reported to have made well over fifty site visits during its construction.
Bulle (pronounced Bully) Rock is named after the first thoroughbred horse brought to the US from England in the 18th century and when the land at Blenheim Stud Farm was sold on for the golf course, it only seemed right to name the new facility after the famous equine specimen.
No wonder the club’s marketing mantra is “named for a thoroughbred, designed by a legend, your Country Club for a day.”
The course is very long from the back markers (7,375 yards) with a course rating and slope that are the highest in the Old Line State of Maryland.
Then again, who, apart from the top pros, would want to aim for par at the 483-yard (uphill) par four 5th or hope to make a par five at the 665-yard 11th, where the fairway bottlenecks to a green protected by twenty bunkers?
Instead, most golfers will tee it up from one of the other three less severe tee positions at every hole, allowing them to enjoy an expansive layout with generous landing areas, few forced carries and open-entry greens. Just be careful at the (stroke index 2) 18th, as the water to the left of the fairway wraps itself round the rock-rimmed home green, providing a really tough end to a round here.