Musket Ridge Golf Course Review
Overall Grade: B-
Value: C ($80 weekdays)
Course Conditions: A
Course Design: A
Practice Facility: B+ (Range)
Set on a ridge in Maryland’s historic Middletown Valley, just west of Sugarloaf and Braddock Heights, Musket Ridge offers an enjoyable and challenging golf experience in a beautiful mountain setting.
From the back tees, Musket Ridge measures a very respectable 6,902 yards. That’s not going to win it a US Open visit, but it’s plenty for the amateur. The course rating is 73, with a slope of 140.
Musket Ridge was designed by Joseph Lee, who began his career working alongside Dick Wilson, and has designed or renovated more than 250 courses, including Doral’s Blue Monster, LaCosta, Bay Hill, Cog Hill and Warwick Hills.
From the first tee, it’s obvious that Musket Ridge is going to be an exercise in club selection. Driver on this course should never be your first choice. With the dramatic elevation changes and strategically placed hazards, golfers need to think carefully about where they want to place the ball, not just drive it as far as possible.
The eleventh is a case in point. Measuring just 319 from the blue tees, it’s a dogleg left with the interior and exterior of the bend guarded by deep bunkers. The tee is set high above the fairway, and the widest spot is well short of the bend. An accurately placed mid iron is the smart tee shot here.
It took me several holes to appreciate Lee’s course design. I started out thinking that I could take advantage of elevated tee boxes by hitting monstrous drives. But by the fourth (I’m sometimes slow), I realized that the course encourages more strategic thinking with its elevation changes, clearly defined landing zones and hazards. I ended up using every club in the bag at Musket Ridge.
Course conditions were terrific on the day I visited—with one notable exception. The bunkers were filled with a sort of of hard red clay that made it very difficult to play the usual sand shot. The stuff also stains golf gloves.
Walking is a non-starter at Musket Ridge. I don’t’ believe they allow it, and it would be too difficult even for a hard core walker like the GolfBlogger.
My only real complaint with Musket Ridge was the price. At $80, it’s far more expensive than I’m used to paying for a round of golf. A similar course in Michigan would be half that fee.