Hyatt River Marsh Golf Club: Elegance on the Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Maryland

Along the 90-minute stretch from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Ocean City, Maryland, three evenly spaced towns -- Easton, Cambridge and Salisbury -- are noteworthy only as geographic mileposts.

Sometimes it seems that the only way to tell them apart is by their fast food. The one with a Jimmy John's is Easton. The one with a Five Guys is Salisbury.

Golfers, however, have little trouble identifying Cambridge. It's the location of Hyatt River Marsh Golf Club, consistently rated among the top 10 golf courses in Maryland.

And what a location it is. Holes play along the Choptank River and Shoal Creek, traversing wetlands, open meadows and forests of hardwood and pine.

"River Marsh truly takes the surrounding land features and blends them into a great golf experience," wrote Tom Crain on

With many forced carries and a lagoon system that winds its way through the golf course, River Marsh might sound like a severe test for the wayward. But this is a player-friendly track with wide fairways and sprawling greens that undulate gently. River Marsh has a stroke rating of 72.5 and a slope of 127 from the back tees, which measure 6,801 yards.

"The course offered a few challenging holes but none extremely difficult," wrote Tallman, who played the course in April 2014. "I'm a 20 handicap and found the course very playable."

Opened in 2002 and designed by Keith Foster, River Marsh Golf Club can be a bit of a surprise considering it sits on the eastern edge of town, its entrance juxtaposed from the gas stations, eateries and convenience stops of bustling Route 50.

Once inside it's clear why River Marsh ranks among the top courses on Maryland's Eastern Shore, a list that includes the Links at Lighthouse Sound, Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Linka and Queenstown Harbor.

Sculpted, white-sand bunkers give the course elegance and definition. Considering the scenery and stellar conditions, River Marsh is an appropriate centerpiece of the luxurious Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina.

The perfect way to end a day at River Marsh Golf Club is with dinner at one of the resort's waterside restaurants, especially those who played golf for a cut rate.

"I was very happy with the overall condition of the course and how maintained the greens and fairways were," wrote uscg23black. "The signature holes, 17 and 18, are amazing and make a great ending to your round."

Foster, indeed, saved the best for last at River Marsh. The par-3 17th is 203 yards of beauty and terror, playing over Shoal Creek, with the graceful Choptank in the backdrop. The par-5 18th, all 562 yards of it, plays along the banks of the river and toward the hotel. With sand all the way up the left side, separating the water from the fairway, the hole calls to mind the iconic 18th at Pebble Beach, minus the crashing waves and rocks.

Kevin Dunleavy is a longtime resident of northern Virginia, a graduate of George Mason University, an award-winning reporter covering golf, colleges, and other sports for the Washington Examiner, and a single-digit handicap still seeking his elusive first hole-in-one. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KDunleavy.

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Hyatt River Marsh Golf Club: Elegance on the Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Maryland