The 16th at Merion Golf Club

The 16th at Merion Golf Club

* Denotes RGV Tour course

Applebrook Golf Club - East Goshen, PA

Aronimink Golf Club - Newton Square, PA

Since the course first opened in 1928, Aronimink has hosted the PGA Championship, the Senior PGA Championship, and the US Amateur. in 2018, the course will play host to the BMW Championship as part of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

It was in 1926 that the current course was designed by Donald Ross.  After designing the course, he would return 22 years later in 1948 and state "I intended to make this my masterpiece, but not until today did I realize that I built better than I knew."  Upon walking to the first tee, one will find this quote engraved on a rock welcoming guests and members to the start of their round.

in 2017 Gil Hanse completed a renovation project that focused on Donald Ross' original features.  After studying aerial photographs from 1929, several changes were made to the course.  The changes have been well received and we are finally golfing like its 1928 all over again.

Bedford Springs - Old Course - Bedford, PA

Fox Chapel Golf Club - Pittsburgh, PA

French Creek Golf Club - Elverson, PA

Gulph Mills Golf Club - King of Prussia, PA

Gulph Mills was founded by members of St David's Golf Club in 1916.  Regarded as one of the state's most exclusive clubs, Donald Ross' goal was to create a masterpiece of an inland course that would be superior to any of those in the Philadelphia area.

It was a fine day of ball striking and missed opportunities for me.  I missed 5 birdie putts and 1 eagle attempt inside of ten feet. I did manage to finally roll one in on the 13th hole to avoid the total shutout.  Sean Ogle rolled in a serious boss putt on 18 for par.  The fist pump was over the top, but necessary.

Huntingdon Valley Country Club - Huntingdon Valley, PA

Lancaster Country Club - Lancaster, PA

Laurel Valley Golf Club - Ligonier, PA

Makefield Highlands - Yardley, PA

Merion Golf Club - Ardmore, PA

Merion Golf Club was founded in 1896 and in 1910, the East course, designed by Hugh Wilson, opened for play.  It would not be until 1941 that the club officially separated from Merion Cricket Club.  After studying the great courses of the British Isles, this would be Hugh's first attempt at building a golf course.  His maiden voyage struck gold on a very small parcel of land.  Built on only 126 acres of land (typical championship layouts are around 160-190 acres), the course has earned high praise.  Jack Nicklaus even said "Acre for Acre, it may be the best test of golf in the world."

Merion East has hosted 18 USGA championship events, more than any other golf course in the world.  Most notably, Bobby Jones would complete the "Grand Slam of Golf" or the "Impregnable Quadrilateral" in 1930 on Merion's 11th hole.  No other golfer has ever won all 4 major championships in the same calendar year.  He would retire from golf later on that year at the ripe age of 28.

One of the most famous pictures in all of golf was taken on the 18th fairway as Ben Hogan struck his 1 iron onto the green to force an 18 hole Sunday playoff in the 1950 US Open.  Hogan would go on to defeat Magnum and Fazio for the victory and a plaque on the 18th fairway commemorates the site of the shot.

The most recognizable aspect of the golf course is it's use of wicker baskets instead of flags for the pins.  Although, it has never been fully verified, the general consensus is that the baskets were used in order to conceal the direction of the wind from the golfer.  Each night the flags are collected to prevent thievery and the only way to take one home is to win a USGA event hosted at Merion.  

For a full recap of my Merion visit, be sure to check out the golf blog.

Nemacolin - Mystic Rock - Farmington, PA

Nemacolin - Shepherds Rock - Farmington, PA

Oakmont Country Club - Oakmont, PA

Philadelphia Cricket Club - Philadelphia, PA

Founded in 1854, the Philadelphia Cricket Club is the oldest country club in the United States.  As the name suggests, the original focus was the playing of cricket.  Other games such as lawn tennis, squash, and golf were added later.  It was AW Tillinghast that would design the current layout for the Wissahickon course, which opened in 1922.  The club operates 2 other courses as well, Militia Hill and the 9 hole St Martin's course.

Fun fact:  An abandoned section of the Reading Railroad runs along the 2nd and 6th holes.  As a matter of strategy, it is wise to avoid these during play and in Monopoly.

As you can see in the pictures, the club house runs so close to the 2nd green that it is actually possible to bank one off of the clubhouse and onto the green.  I took the predictable route and just hit it on the green.  The Wissahickon course is also home to the final resting place of the legendary AW Tillinghast as his ashes were spread into the Wissahickon creek that runs in front of the 18th green.

Rolling Green - Springfield, PA

Founded in 1926, Rolling Green is one of the Philadelphia area's top country clubs.  The course was designed by William Flynn.  Williams intent was to "... make it a shrine where the skill and ingenuity of the lover of the game could have full play."

As an architect, Flynn was a trail blazer in coining the term 'forward tees' instead of 'ladie's tees' to encourage play by both men and women.  Flynn also designed a reversible course for John D Rockefeller Jr that could be played both forward and backward.  This idea has since been revitalized by Tom Doak at Forest Dunes.

One of the course's unique features is the walking bridge that takes the golfer over a valley on the 250 yard par 3, 14th hole.  Those taking a cart to navigate the course's hilly terrain won't get to experience this fantastic bridge.  Just another reason to walk when you can!

Stonewall - Old Course - Elverson, PA

Sunnehanna Golf Club - Johnstown, PA

The Golf Course at Glen Mills - Glen Mills, PA