By Ethan McLeod | Baltimore Business Journal
Exclusive Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., is already well-equipped to host the world’s top 70 golfers at the BMW Championship in August 2021.
“It’s a great championship course,” said George “Buddy” Marucci, the PGA event’s general chairman and a longtime Caves Valley Golf Club member. “I think the golf course will hold its own. … It is one of the most beautiful golf courses you’ll ever walk.”
But it will be undergoing some modifications to prep the course for the professional tournament.
“Some of those are playability alterations for the players, and some of them are logistical so we can make sure we have the crowds in the right spots,” Marucci said.
First and foremost, players will tackle the usual back nine holes first, so holes 10 through 18 will be played as the first nine holes in the PGA event. The normal 1 through 9 will be played as 10 through 18 in the tournament.
The other changes coming in the next year and a half include:
- Adding seven or eight teeing grounds to “give it some distance,” Marucci said, with 250 to 300 yards of extra playing space, if needed;
- Installing three new bunkers;
- Some “enhancement of the rough” to make it more demanding;
- And some infrastructure work, including upgrades to the irrigation system and restoration of existing bunkers.
Marucci, a well-known amateur golfer and a Fox Sports golf analyst based out of the Philadelphia area, said the infrastructural changes “would have been done anyway” in the next three to four years, “but we’re going to be pushing it forward in anticipation of the championship.”
The greens themselves will stay the same. The front and back nines are being switched in part to allow for better views for attendees as well as hospitality options catering to the crowd.
“That’s really it. We’re not doing a tremendous amount of work,” Marucci said. “By and large, the golf course is gonna play the way the golf course plays.”
The 962-acre Caves Valley Golf Club opened in 1991, designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio. Membership is capped at 600 people and comes on an invite-only basis. The course previously hosted the U.S. Senior Open, the 1995 U.S. Mid-Amateur, the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s golf championships and the inaugural LPGA International Crown, among other tournaments. The BMW Championship on Aug. 17-22, 2021, will be its first PGA Tour event.
Photo Credit: Clay Blackmore/Caves Valley Golf Course