- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 24, 2008

A getaway to the beach means more than sand between your toes, sunburn on your skin, saltwater up your nose and strolling the boardwalk. It means a full-on aromatic experience.

Of course, there are the mouth-watering smells of French fries cooked in vegetable oil and drizzled with vinegar and of hardshell crabs steamed with beer and an overdose of Old Bay. But the delicious mingling of food aromas with the salt air is a separate olfactory story.

Instead, this is a story of the natural scents of the beach. The shot of ocean air, depending on the time of day, weather conditions and exact location, means different things to different people.

To me, there is no distinctive smell of the ocean - it’s a range of scents, all of which please my senses and refresh my spirit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a clean, crisp morning after a storm-cleansing breeze off the ocean or the still, dead-of-night fog filled with the inescapable odor of decaying marine life from the tidal marshes.

One gently chips away excess of life and time from your face while the other clings to your body like bad after-shave. And both smell delightful. The wet sand has a smell, the raw lashing rain has a smell, the wind off the ocean has a smell, the breeze off the land has a smell, and the beach house without air conditioning has a smell. Every season at the beach has a different smell. In fact, the number of different natural smells at the beach rivals the number of shrimp recipes Bubba recites for Forrest in the movie “Forrest Gump.”



So how does an olfactory adventure at the beach relate to golf? It’s simple. Playing 18 holes at a course at the beach multiplies the smells for nasal consumption, because now you can throw cut grass, pine forest, wildflowers, briny marshes and fresh-water ponds into the salt air mix.

Standing on the first tee of a beach course with the ocean wind in your face should get your blood pumping and make you tingle with energy. If it doesn’t, then do what most every golf instructor propounds about the virtues of a trip to the beach - take a deep breath and relax.

BAYWOOD GREENS GOLF CLUB

Long Neck, Del.

baywoodgreens.com

Baywood Greens is more than just a golf course. Some consider it the “Augusta National of the North.” Developer Rob Tunnell Jr. probably had more impact on changing the Delaware golf landscape than anyone. He did it by going the extra botanical mile at Baywood. His grounds crew planted more than 200,000 flowers, shrubs and trees and spread tons of Georgia pine needles across the course. They brought in truckloads of sand, many acres of sod for roughs and built more than 1,500 feet of wooden bridges. A full-time horticulturalist maintains the vibrancy of the course through flower and plant rotation. Baywood Greens, hence, has become not only a dramatic shotmaker’s course, but an artist’s one as well.

GLENRIDDLE GOLF CLUB

Ocean City, Md.

glenriddlegolf.com

Golf had already come and gone in Ocean City by the end of World War II. A nine-hole course called Ocean City Golf Club was located on what became Captain’s Hill, a residential community across the waters from the town. Opened in 1924, the club closed its doors in 1936 as one of the city’s first victims of sprawl.

Ironically, 10 years later, the owners of the historic racetrack property known as Riddle Farm off Route 50 were approached as a potential golf course site to help fill the void. They respectfully declined. More than a half a century later, not one but two courses now stand on the land where several champion thoroughbreds once trained. Turns out, the Riddle Farm acreage didn’t start the golf boom in Ocean City, it just put a cap on it.

Both of GlenRiddle Golf Club’s courses are named after legendary horses: Man O’ War and War Admiral. The Man O’ War, a public access venue, opened in 2006. War Admiral, a parkland-style course co-designed by Joel Weiman and Jim Furyk, debuted last year. It is the latest entry into the Delmarva arsenal, though after some preview time it will turn private.

MYRTLE BEACH GOLF TRIPS

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

MyrtleBeachGolfTrips.com

At Myrtle Beach Trips, they know what’s on your mind: great golf at great prices. Try their Golf Escape package, which is the best deal on the beach with two nights, four rounds with carts, daily breakfast and lunch and all taxes included. With this package you can play the area’s best-kept secrets, including Myrtlewood, Farmstead and Meadowlands.

Choose from their packaged golf vacations or customize one from scratch. Then, for even more information about premier accommodations, courses and entertainment along the Grand Strand, visit www.MyrtleBeachGolfNews.com, the official source for Myrtle Beach golf.

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