Back Creek Golf Club Review
Course Name: Back Creek Golf Club
Location: 101 Back Creek Drive, Middletown, DE 19709
Date Played: March 2022
Course Type: “Inland” Links
I recently had the opportunity to visit the lovely Back Creek Golf Club in Middletown, Delaware. The course is an “inland” links-style that broke ground in 1996. Since then, the David Horne and Allen Liddicoat designed course has earned several accolades, being named one of Golfweek’s “Best 100 Modern Courses in the US” and one of Golf Travel Magazine’s “Top 40 Public Courses in the US”.
The layout of this very walkable course is quite impressive. The course is routed through a housing development although this doesn’t really detract from the experience as the houses aren’t too close to the playing area. The majority of the holes are fairly separate so you won’t have too many occasions where other players will be straying onto your fairway! The 8th and 17th holes do crossover although they are both par-3s played over water. This allows you and your playing partners to be in a position where those on a neighboring hole shouldn’t interfere in any way with your shot. Similarly, you and your partners are able to speak freely without the fear of interrupting anyone else’s experience. When looking at the two nines separately you find that the back nine will demand a little bit sharper play than the front. Not by a large margin, but the back nine does have a few more holes that require more accuracy, than the front.
While on the course you can quickly see that the awards (Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Golf Week and Delaware Today) were earned and not given. Especially when you arrive at the signature hole number 13.
This 462-yard par-4 requires all aspects of your game to be up to muster. Standing in the teeing area you must reach an isolated fairway with several fairway bunkers to your left and very thick rough and dense natural grass to your right. In addition to the hazards along the way, the green itself is shielded by three deep, heavy-lipped greenside bunkers.
Behind the hole is a water hazard that the green and rough drain towards. As you access the hole and determine that the safe play is towards the left of the green, you are immediately faced with the rolling terrain of links-style golf. A mishit in that direction will surely leave you with a tough lie looking at a water hazard beyond the green. Living up to the status of its title, hole 13 will require several well-executed shots if you are looking to walk away with a par or better.
Luckily not every hole carries the same high standard of play that the signature hole does. In fact, the easiest hole on the course comes at the very first tee box. This opening par-4 is very generous and straightforward and just what is needed in order to pencil in a good number on your scorecard. At 417 yards, your round begins with a look down a very wide fairway with a small bunker about halfway down on the right side. From there a fairly flat green sits between two small, shallow greenside bunkers. There is plenty of room along this entire hole to get your game on track if you didn’t get a chance to hit the range prior to your tee time.
I was very impressed with the overall condition of the course. The area has seen the sun a little more over the past few weeks and the warmer weather has done great things for the course. Coming out of the winter months and playing on a mostly green fairway and nicely rolling bent grass greens is an amazing change in pace. Most of the teeing areas were in great condition; however, the par-3 boxes were in need of some repair as they did not have a sand and seed mixture to combat the divots. The fairways were filling in quite nicely and there were very few spots that were bare dirt or patchy grass.
To expand on the greens, as I know that this is the big talking point for all golfers, I was absolutely impressed. Not only were the greens maintained and rolled consistently but the fringe and surrounding rough were well-manicured as well. There was only one green that had the “ground under repair” designation, but the starter and gentleman in the Pro Shop were sure to let us know prior to our round.
Overall, the course itself was very consistently laid out when it comes to difficulty. While some holes offered quite small areas to land your ball, others had wide sweeping fairways that offered the chance of a rebound from some of your hooks or slices. No matter which hole you were on, you could almost always count that you would be looking at a wavy green that had at least two greenside bunkers. For this round specifically, I believe that the groundskeeper was upset with a member because the pin locations were tough, to say the least!
Each pin was placed near a hazard or slope and left you contemplating how best to play the approach shot. Either play conservatively and face a long tricky putt or be aggressive and hope it holds the green or face a tough short-sided chip.
Off The Course
If you are looking into the other aspects of the club, there were equal compliments to give. The Clubhouse was pristine, the staff was welcoming and the food options were fantastic.
Offering hearty, freshly prepared items like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches to crisp salads and nachos. It made the decision at the turn a fairly easy one as everything looked delicious from what we could see coming out of the kitchen. They also had tons of options if you were just visiting the course for dinner.
Outside, they have a really nice range area that consists of both grass and turf options to warm up. The condition of the range was surprisingly good as you could see that a lot of work had been going into prepping it for the season.
Back Creek Golf Club Review: Summary
Overall, the course was worth a visit if you haven’t played it before. It is challenging and forgiving in places, but almost any skill level of golfer would be able to enjoy their time spent. I would suggest finding a day where they are calling for lighter winds, as this course tends to be exposed at times. Be sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy a meal or even a drink after your round as they offer outdoor seating that gives you a great view of the 9th and 18th.
I thought the green fees were pretty reasonable and if you are able to take advantage of their afternoon or evening rates then you could get some pretty good value golf.