Secrets of Harford County

One of Harford County’s best kept secrets is beginning to get out. Right smack dab in the middle of ZIP code 21014, the town of Bel Air, is a beautiful 18 hole, PGA rated golf course, laid out on what was formerly a 200 acre dairy farm.  It has been there since 1973 and I would bet, if I were a betting man, that most Harford Countians could not tell you exactly where it is if they were asked.

Most know where the annual County Fair is held every year or where the County Dump used to be. They may even know where the Recreation and Parks Headquarters are located.  Sure, they are all on Toll Gate road, right behind the Harford Mall, but unless you live back there somewhere, you have little reason  to cross that one-car-wide iron bridge over on Winters Run Road.

While we are sharing secrets, here’s one you probably don’t know either.  That property, where the Fair Grounds and Rec & Parks are located was the site of the “poor house”.  It was the County Alms facility where the indigent from the County and the hoboes who came by on the Ma & Pa Railroad would stop off for a breather, a good meal and a goodnight’s sleep, courtesy of Clark and Mary Fitzpatrick, the keepers of the facility.  Across the road, is Potters Field where the remains of the unknown and lost were buried.

But I digress…back to the original secret I wanted to share.  It too, is located on Toll Gate Road and is known as Winters Run Golf Club.  Turning onto Toll Gate Road at the Mall, proceed past the Fair grounds, past the road to the old dump and past County Park Headquarters, blink your eyes once and then you will see an old historic red dairy barn on your left.  Do a left turn through those two stone gate posts and laid out before you is a full-sized, PGA rated 18 hole course.  Keep going down the drive, thru the mature White Pines, and you’ll come upon the Club House with a snack shop, dining area and a fully stocked Golf Pro Shop.

Inside the Pro Shop you will find several assistants, eager to help you. You will also find a PGA rated teaching professional by the name of Dave Bubb.  Dave will be happy to answer any questions you have about Winters Run and has the facilities to fit you with a set of clubs suited to your skills. As you look out the front of the Pro Shop, there is a refurbished driving range and practice putting green for your use, as a member.  It is a private club with limited membership, and as luck would have it, they are having a special offer being aired on the GOLF channel and other advertising outlets to fill some vacant membership slots that are now open.

For just $220.00 per month an individual can play unlimited golf  at Winters Run, twelve months of the year, weather permitting.  There are specially priced add-ons for your spouse and children. If you play golf every week-end, you are probably paying more than this already. With these days of high gas prices, Harford County golfers could save more than a “buck” or two just on travel, besides paying those high fees at the crowded public courses where you’ll usually find a long “wait-to-play” routine.

For our readers interested in some of the fine technical aspects of the course, it has been measured and rated by the PGA and is a par 72. It plays 6,750 yards from the longest tees.  The course rating is 72.2 and the slope is 128 on Rye grass.  It was designed by Raymond F Loving Jr, ASGCA., and Walter Smith (Smitty) is the University of Maryland trained agronomist who is greens keeper and who treats the course with tender loving care. With gently rolling greens and impeccable tees, the course accommodates players of every level. It has 7 ponds of various sizes that you’ll be hitting across or near and the course crosses Winters Run River two times. It is a walkable golf course and you may do just that if you so choose.

This is truly one of the secret spots in Harford county.  I intend, in future blogs, to uncover hidden or unknown spots in the County and surrounding areas so be sure to come back and maybe I’ll tell you about something or someplace you were not aware of before.

What is your favorite hidden spot in Harford County?

Don Langrehr

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4 Responses to Secrets of Harford County

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great summary of the golf club. It really is a great place to play and has been a hidden gem for many years. Like much of Harford County, there are a lot of nice, unpretentious people there who simply enjoy being outside playing golf on a beautiful piece of land. Thanks for capturing that in your story. I look forward to hearing about other hidden gems in the County.


  2. mike says:

    Great article about a nice golf course. I enjoyed playing it back in the days when you still played and I could play a lot better than I do now. Particularly enjoyed the bit about the “county home”. Great memories of when Paul and I stayed with Clark and Mary for a few months after Dad passed away. Clark Fitzpatrick was one of the best people I have ever met. He treated everyone with dignity no matter who or what you were.

  3. Dona says:

    Love hearing about things that “used to be”. I pass the course once in awhile and it is truly beautiful. Now I can pass it and imagine what it was prior to being a golf course. Great story!

  4. Pingback: A secret on the Harborside | The Zone Magazine

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