Joe Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber and owner of Nemacolin, lured the PGA Tour into making Pete Dye's Mystic Rock a PGA Tour stop -- The 84 Lumber Pennsylvania Classic -- through 2006. An hour west in the Pittsburgh suburbs lies Oakmont Country Club -- home of the 1994 U.S. Open and the dreaded "Church Pew" bunker.
Oakmont is a private club, as are some of the finer clubs in eastern Pennsylvania. Golf history, championship or otherwise, is just as strong in this region especially the Philadelphia suburbs. Merion Golf Club in Ardmore has hosted the U.S. Open. It's where Bobby Jones polished off his grand slam in 1930. Pine Valley, on the New Jersey side of the city, is considered one of the greatest courses in the world.
Playing any of those storied clubs is a rare treat, but the Philly area is full of great public tracts. In the Jersey suburbs, Scotland Run Golf Club in Gloucester County is a tough course that weaves through an old sand and gravel quarry. In Burlington County, Deerwood Country Club has a Carolina-wetlands feel because a marsh is prominently featured. Royce Brook in Somerset County has 36 holes, but only the East 18 is open to the public. There are so many sand traps here, it feels like Oakmont minus the lightning greens.
On the Pennsylvania side, the Golf Course of Glen Mills in Delaware County is a narrow, tree-lined design on the property of the Glen Mills School for Boys. The school is made of troubled youths trying to get back on the straight and narrow path, something every golfer should strive to impart on his ball at this course.
In the horse farm country of West Chester, Rees Jones -- The Open Doctor -- designed Tattersall Country Club. On a monstrous 350-acre plot, Tattersall is known for its steep elevation changes and a tough collection of par 4s. Downington Country Club in Chester County is fine parkland design authored by George Fazio. It's one of a few golf courses that discourages using carts, mostly to protect its facelift in 1995. Oxford is home to the Keystone State's best effort for a Scottish Links style course -- Wyncote Golf Club. The terrain features moguls, tall grass and deep bunkers.
Moving north along the New Jersey border, the Lehigh Valley is home to affordable vacation golf. Golf in Lehigh Valley is located primarily in Allentown, Easton and Bethlehem, places that were known as factory towns. Most of those industries have long since moved, and golf has become part of the landscape.
Olde Homestead, just north of Allentown in New Tripoli, is known for hits hilly terrain. On the south side of Bethlehem, water hazards and bunkers await at Center Valley Golf Club -- named ninth best public course in Pennsylvania in 1996 by Golf Digest.
In central Pennsylvania, the town of Hershey is home to more than a chocolate family. The Hershey Golf Club, a 36-hole course open to Hershey Resort guests only, hosts PGA and LPGA tourstops. The fairways have been walked by the legends: Jack Nicklaus, Palmer, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan.
That's history worthy of the birthplace of American golf.
Pennsylvania Destination Guide
- Lemieux Celebrity Invitational a golf vonanza for fans, superstars
- The Poconos offer stunning golf, but so few know
- Philadelphia boasts some of country's most highly regarded courses
- Philadelphia has plenty to offer, even for those who aren't members
- Loch Naire Golf Club of Avondale: A Civil Taste of History & Golf
- Jericho National is a gem built to stand test of time
- Glen Mills offers second chances, big challenges
- Rally 'round Roanoke when you're in Western Virginia
- Olde Stonewall Golf Course: Simply the Best for Pennsylvania Golfers
- Nemacolin's Mystic Rock quite an experience, and plenty satisfying
- Lehigh Valley Packs Punch as Golf Destination
- Best of the Mid-Atlantic starts in Colonial Williamsburg
- Laurel Highlands is Mr. Palmer's Neighborhood
- Cranberry Highlands is breaking all the rules
- Grand View Golf Course completely out of place, but that's the attraction
- PGA parties 'Hardy' at Fabulous Nemacolin Resort
- Hunter's Station is home to prettiest hole you've ever seen
- Gettysburg's Hallowed Ground a dual draw for many
- Hitting the sweet spot in Hershey is a short drive away
- Wyncote Golf Club built in heathland tradition