Published by The Wave
LEWES — For many visitors to the Delaware Coast, golf doesn’t sound like the ideal sport.
This is an area known for its openness to visitors and affordable options in a wide range of activities. Golf is known as a sport with a prohibitive price and an exclusive attitude.
However, you don’t need a fat wallet and a country club membership to enjoy some time on the links in southern Delaware.
Midway Par-3 is one of those options. For $14, golfers can enjoy the relaxing short course, which takes about two hours to complete. If two hours aren’t enough, that small chunk of change functions as an all-day pass — you can play six rounds if you so desire.
“We try to keep the price low so everyone can enjoy it,” said Barbara Moore, who operates the course, which her parents built, with her husband. “The average person can play and not put a dent in their pocketbook.”
Bethany Bay’s golf course is a few miles south in Ocean View and offers a bit more of a challenge for the experienced golfers looking to hone their short game.
“The course is not your typical nine holes,” said Patrick Donahue, chairman of the golf committee at Bethany Bay. “It’s designed to give you the feel and play of a regular 18-hole golf course.”
Those looking for a spot a little off the beaten path can visit Stenger’s Shamrock Farms Par 3, an 18-hole golf course in Milton, co-owned by Wendy and Bob Stenger, who built the course themselves several years ago.
“If you have a family of four, it’s a pretty inexpensive day,” Wendy Stenger said of her $13-unlimited-play course. “They can pack a lunch and eat under the pavilion.”
It can cost upwards of $100 per person to play a full round of 18 holes at a golf course, and beginners will spend five or so hours wondering how anyone could love the sport as they move from the tall grass to the sand traps.
Those problems don’t exist at Midway or Shamrock farms, where first-timers, children, wives and grandparents can all have some fun, while honing their putting skills on well-kept greens.
“We have people come in and out and tell us that these are the best greens around,” Moore said. “When they hit it, it stays where it’s supposed to. That’s why the better golfers like playing here, too.”
If you’re on the Delaware coast for an extended period of time, and looking for a change of pace from lounging at the beach, these golf options are the perfect solution.
More people are realizing that, too. Bethany Bay had record attendance this season after a massive course renovation — Donahue said he’s had countless people tell him the course is worlds ahead of where it was –and Moore said that despite the record heat, people still came out more this summer than last.
All of the par-3 courses have golf club and cart rentals available as well for less than $10.
“When people come to the beach, they have their clothes but they don’t bring their golf clubs with them,” Moore said. “We have everything they need right here.”