Bayside Resort Golf Club in Fenwick Island and Bear Trap Dunes in Bethany Beach, Delaware have been recognized as the No. 1 and No. 5 respectively by Golfweek in the publication’s “2019 Best Courses You Can Play in Each State” list. Both properties are owned by Carl M. Freeman Golf, a division of Carl M. Freeman Companies, and are managed by Troon.
Bayside Resort Golf Club opened for play in 2005 and is the state’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The stunning course meanders along the Assawoman Bay coastline and winds through magnificent pine forests. Golfers enjoy three distinctly different golf experiences as some holes are richly tree-lined, others wind through marshland and some boast wide-open fairways.
Bear Trap Dunes offers one of the area’s most unique and memorable golf experiences on the East Coast. Designed by Rick Jacobson, a former associate of Jack Nicklaus, the 27-hole facility features three different nine-hole courses, named Grizzly, Kodiak and Black Bear. Winding Bent grass fairways are lined with native wetland grasses and natural sand dunes.
Among the criteria used by Golfweek’s panel of course raters include:
- Ease and intimacy of routing – The extent to which the sequence of holes follows natural contours and unfolds in an unforced manner.
- Variety and memorability of par 3s, 4s and 5s – Different clubs hit; extent to which the angles of play create interesting and varied playing options; and extent to which holes offer variety of options from the tee and on the second shot.
- Basic quality of conditioning – Variety of playing textures; extent of turf coverage; consistency and quality of bunker sand.
- Walk in the park test – Degree to which the course ultimately is worth spending a half-day on.