Bulle (pronounced "Bully'') Rock Golf Course takes its name from the first thoroughbred horse brought to America. The course is spread over 235 acres of land in the D.C. area about 40 minutes north of Baltimore near Chesapeake Bay.
Designed by legendary course architect Pete Dye, Bulle Rock is said to lack any gimmicks, simply providing a straightforward test of golfing skills over 18 very different holes. Trees, bunkers, swales, and a punishing rough are the most prominent features and hazards golfers will encounter, along with a bit of water coming into play on a handful of holes. The hazards tend to be huge, however, protecting wide fairways and good-sized greens.
From the Black tees, the par-72 course plays to a hefty 7,375 yards, with a USGA rating of 76.4 and a slope rating of 147 on Bent grass fairways and greens. The course plays through rolling terrain, and the holes have been described as being "built on a massive scale.''
A good example is Hole No. 2, a par-5 that plays to 572 yards from the back tees. From an elevated tee, this picturesque hole plays downhill to a fairway lined on both sides by trees. From there, golfers must contend with a stream that crosses the fairway just short of the green, which is small, elevated and guarded by a pot bunker.
Hole No. 4 is considered to be as "demanding a par-4 as you'll want to play.'' The hole plays 483 yards from the back tees and is a dogleg left that plays uphill right from the tee. Even a long drive will leave most golfers with a long iron approach to a long, narrow green guarded by two bunkers on either side.
Hole No. 11 is another par-5 and the longest hole on the course, playing to a monstrous 665 yards from the tips. The hole is a dogleg left and golfers must also contend with the winds from Chesapeake Bay, which are said to be fierce at times. The fairway also continues to narrow as golfers get closer to the green, which is guarded by eight bunkers.
The finishing hole at Bulle Rock has been described by course designer Dye as "the most difficult finishing hole I've created.'' The hole is a par-4 that plays to a hefty 459 yards from the Blue tees, and 485 from the Black. From the tee, golfers must favor the right side as trees line the left and then give way to water that plays all the way to the green. Complicating matters, a large knoll on the right often does not allow for a realistic approach shot to the green, which may intimidate further with the ample water hazard that snuggles around the left and back of the putting surface.
Since opening in 1998, Bulle Rock has received a number of raves and awards, with Golf Digest proclaiming it "Marylands #1-Rated 5-Star Golf Course.'' GolfTest USA also gave the course it's highest award, rating it an "Elite Course'' in the D.C. area and one of the finest courses the reviewers have ever played. The course is also home to the McDonald's LPGA Championship, which is an LPGA Tour Major event.
Practice facilities at Bulle Rock include a driving range and short-game area. The course also features a 23,000-square-foot clubhouse with views of Chesapeake Bay and a redesigned restaurant and new dining room, bar and lounge.