Pennsylvania has three large, international airports in the cities of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Other regional airports of note are the University Park Regional Airport in State College, the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Westmoreland County and the Lehigh Valley Regional Airport in Allentown.
Pennsylvania has been considered to have one of the worst highway systems in America. However, it has been given credit over the last few years for its improvement effort. The mountains ranges and valleys make getting around the state a bit of a chore.
From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia its 300 miles (roughly 5 hours) east on I-76 (portions of I-76 are toll). Harrisburg a little more than halfway in between on I-76 at 180 miles. To get to Philly from New York City, it’s a 90 mile drive south on I-95, which is a turnpike through New Jersey.
1) Is it true Pennsylvania was the birthplace of American golf?
On record, the first course to ever open was in 1795 by Samuel Fox in the small northeastern town of Foxburg. The land was originally slated for cricket tournaments but after Fox saw a golf tournament in St. Andrews the land was converted to mimic the game he saw overseas.2) How does Philadelphia stack up when it comes to metro area golf?
Philly has always been rich in private clubs, but in the past ten years the metro Philly area has seen a public course boom. Recent favorites include Tattersall Golf Club, the Golf Club at Glen Mills, Wyncote Golf Club and Center Valley Golf Club. Older, historic courses can also be played in the area: John F. Byrne Golf Club, Franklin D. Roosevelt Golf Club and Cobbs Creek.3) Isn’t Pennsylvania just made up of steel mills, angry sports fans and chocolate factories?
Something many don’t know is how much natural beauty Pennsylvania has. Pennsylvania has 4.5 million acres of public parkland and 112 state parks. In fact, Pennsylvania means “Penn’s woods” and the vast woodlands and rivers explain why. Philly’s surrounding Lehigh Valley is very scenic, pleasant getaway from the downtown hustle and bustle. The Allegheny National Forest in the central part of the state is a wooded treat as well. Hunter’s Station in Tionesta is home to one of the prettiest views in golf, overlooking the Allegheny River valley.4) What other courses not in Pennsylvania surround the Philly area and are worth a play?
Bordering states New Jersey and Delaware are a short jaunt from the city and have several courses of note if you are on that side of Philly. Scotland Run and Deerwood in New Jersey are must plays. In Delaware, Back Creek and Frog Hollow are the two of the best in the First State and about a half hour from the city.5) Where can I stay and play in Pennsylvania?
The Lehigh Valley’s setting is one of the finest for a golf getaway in America. The towns of Easton, Allendale and Bethlehem have all beefed up their golf resume over the past decade. Stay and Play packages are available at six courses and its surrounding hotels in the Lehigh Valley region. The “Olde” in Olde Homestead in Tripoli doesn’t come from its 1995 opening date, but from its rustic, classic feel. When the winter comes, golf is replaced with a variety of Ski-n-Stay packages.6) What about golf resorts in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has a good amount of full-amenity golf resorts lie throughout the state. These include Fernwood Hotel and Resort, Heritage Hills Resort and Conference Center and Caesar’s Palace Resort, all in the Pocono Mountains. The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is home to Mystic Rock, a course that hosted the inaugural Lumber Pennsylvania Classic7) Can I play where Arnie played?
Yes and no, Arnold Palmer grew up in western Pennsylvania and played most of his early golf at Latrobe Country Club. The hilly Laurel Highlands make for some unique terrain and creative shot-making. While Palmer’s Country Club is private, other area courses are worth the visit to Palmer’s neighborhood. Champion Lakes Golf Club, The Golf Club at Hidden Valley, Seven Springs Golf Club and the renowned Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa are the cream of the crop in Laurel Highlands.8) Off the course, Pennsylvania has been home to some of America’s most important history. Can I visit any of these historic war sites?
The head honcho of any war site is Gettysburg. Hour long tours are available, but anyone could spend a whole day or more marveling at the site’s extensive historical content. Gettysburg is located west in the Dutch/Hershey region west of Philly. More battlefield sites can be found throughout the state. For more information: http://www.experiencepa.com/experiencepa/contentarea.do?name=Battlefields9) What and where is Happy Valley?
The Happy Valley is better known for Joe Pa and Nittany Lion football than golf. The Happy Valley is centered in State College and is the site of Penn State University. Believe it or not, this hilly and hard-to-get-to region is golf-worthy. Penn State is one of four college hosts for the PGM program and is home to two full-length 18-hole courses. State College also has a full service golf resort, Tofttrees Hotel and Resort, central Pennsylvania’s only golf resort.10) Where can I golf in Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh’s reputation as the “Steel City” doesn’t bode well for large acreage of green set aside for golf. The Laurel Highlands are a short drive from Pittsburgh, but if you are stuck within the confines of metro Pittsburgh, don’t fret. All courses in the western part of the state remain extremely hilly, and coincidently many courses are shorter than 6,500 yards. Cherry Creek, Butler’s 36 hole facility and Carradam Golf Club are all within a half hour from downtown.