Timbers at Troy

Location » Elkridge, Md.
Phone »
410-313-GOLF (4653)
Rates » Mon-Thurs, $55; Fri., $60; Sat.-Sun, $67
Web » www.timbersgolf.com

Description » The 14-year-old municipal course has lots of elevation change and forced carries, traversing woodlands and wetlands on a surprisingly pristine piece of property just off I-95 in Howard County. This shot-maker's course favors accuracy over length.

Reasons to play » Great location at the intersection of I-95 and Route 100, eight miles south of Baltimore, and an interesting, modern layout. No two holes are alike.

Course ratingConditions » 2Layout » 4Facilities » 3Value » 3— rating out of a possible five

Downside » Course is heavily played and shows it. When it was built, Timbers satisfied a need for a moderately priced, quality course in under-served Howard County. But now a much better nearby option is privately owned Waverly Woods.

Management » Timbers at Troy is run by Illinois-based KemperSports. Other Washington-area courses under the Kemper umbrella are Whiskey Creek, Swan Point, Marlton and Goose Creek.

Dramatic hole » No. 14, Par 3, 166 Yards
The shortest par 3 at Timbers is a serious drop shot. From an elevated tee, the hole plays to an ample green, guarded on either side by bunkers. Don't miss long -- the slopes will kick the ball into the woods.

Best hole » No. 13, Par 4, 332 Yards
One of a few blind tee shots at Timbers as players fire to an uphill-downhill fairway. A well-struck drive down the left has a chance to bound off the downslope all the way to the left side of the ample green.

Worst hole » No. 12, Par 5, 559 Yards
With a downhill approach to an uphill green, No. 10 could win this award. But we'll take No. 12, the only par 5 at Timbers that can't be reached in two. Sources of aggravation include a fairway that kicks everything left, an environmental strip that splits the fairway and the lack of a clearly defined area to lay up.

Prettiest hole » No. 11, Par 3, 211 Yards
Timbers has a strong collection of par 3s, which range from slightly downhill to off a cliff. No. 11, from an elevated tee, plays to an expansive green, which wraps around a bunker on the left. Trees offset from the elevated green frame the hole.

Designer » Timbers was created by Ken Killian, former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects who passed away in September. Killian designed the course to look hard from the tees, but the landing areas are generous. Other courses in the Killian portfolio include Bristow Manor and his masterpiece, Kemper Lakes (Ill.), which has hosted PGA Tour events.