Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

The Traveling Golfer

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27 Dec

2018 Cavalcade of Champions

Written by Bob Oliver

The weather may be awful for golf, but 2018 saw a storm of great golf in Bucks County. 

Highlighting play were the often rain-delayed club championships. In between the raindrops area players garnered prestigious club championships.

Here's a familiar name: Glenn Smeraglio. The local stalwart claimed the LuLu Country Club's men's title, adding to a career which has seen him win men's titles at Yardley (9), Mercer Oaks (2) and Commonwealth National. Like fine wine, Smeraglio gets better with age. Friend Terry Sawyer claimed the senior men's title. 

Another familiar champion again excelled at Northampton Valley Country Club, Jonathan Radick, who won for the eighth time. Jeff Hilton added a senior men's title. 

Ryan Pfeifer successfully defended his men's crown and has three overall, while Keith Wilson took home the senior men's title. Ron Davis was the super senior men's winner while Liz Wojcik claimed the women's title.

Dan Charen successfully defended his Makefield Highlands men's title, while Rich Driscoll claimed the senior crown and Bob Woods the super senior title. 

Another repeat winner was Griffin Smith at Jericho National, where Mike Cavanaugh claimed another senior men's crown and Joan Redeyoff the women's championship. 

Dave Gardener won his fifth men's crown at Middletown, while WD Horan added the senior title and Ed Congdon the super senior title. At Yardley Mike Lam won the men's crown and Greg Buliga the senior men's title as Samantha Krier took the women's title. 


Bucks Club: Curt Biehn (men), Fred Porter (senior men), Janice Visconto (women).

Doylestown: Russell Hartung (men) Rick Payne (senior men), Peter DiMaggio (super senior men), Maggie Sivak (women).

Five Ponds: Neil Gordon (men), Brian Rothaus (senior men), Drew Endy (super senior men), Chrissy Palmeri (women). 

Lookaway: Mike Anton (men), Mark Hutchinson (senior men), Martha Robinson (women). 

Trenton: ANdy Strock (men), Mike Moonan (senior men), Denise Viola (women).

Spring Mill: Bryan Keeling (men), Ron Zemnick (super senior), Kathleen O'Dell (women). 

Other notable wins were recorded by Neshaminy grad Fred Snow, who claimed the Stonewall men's crown. 



02 Dec

Rain, rain go away

Written by Bob Oliver

It has been said, many times, many ways, that the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.

Okay, I believe it.

On the east coast of the good old United States, it has been emphatically shown in 2019 that there was no lack of precipitation.

I don’t believe it, I KNOW it.

Courses were closed more often than any year in recent history as in some areas of PenJerDel there were more than 110 days of rain in 2019. Some of those days meant courses were closed because of the monsoon which caused flooding, lakes moved into bunkers and soaked fairways.

The typical year sees 41 inches of rain in this area. With time left in the year, the area has received over 60 inches of rain thus far.

“No question that 2018 will be remembered as a year of poor weather,” explains Shore Gate Director of Golf Harry Bittner. “We were hit hard, but not as hard as what we’ve heard from courses located along streams. They’ve had flooding and washouts. We’ve been down about 9 percent in rounds played this year given solely to the weather.”

Oh, golfers will play in a drizzle, but unless they have access to a float couldn’t play some of the area’s courses.

“Of course, we’ve been hit hard by the weather,” said Ron Jaworski golf VP B.J. Jaworski, whose course Riverwinds is along the banks of the Delaware River but situated on land well above the river but still lost play days to water issues. Still the course was closed due to conditions on numerous occasions.

“Our rounds (at Jaworski courses) were down about 10 percent. A linked problem was the slowing of play due to the wet conditions.”

Water wasn’t the only thing hurting courses. The wetness brought grey hairs to superintendents as grass diseases were able to flourish with the wet conditions.  

“We are in a consistent fight with the elements to maintain our wonderful golf course,” explained Damon Klepczynski, GM at the Bulle Rock Golf Club in Maryland and Neshaminy graduate. “There are courses in our area who have lost the majority of its fairways.

Rain, rain go away, please come back next year with less gusto is the cry of area golf course operators.

19 Nov

Collegiate Play

Written by Bob Oliver

Not to be missed was some fine play by area collegiate golfers in their fall seasons. 

Penn State University's Lukas Clark posted rounds of 78-73 and a career best 72 in the Bank of Tennessee Classic.

Penn State's Madelein Herr was 20th in the Princeton Invitational held at Springdale with rounds of 77-74--151.

Drexel sophomore Stephen Cerbara, of Langhorne, was 11th in the City Challenge played at Galloway National.

Makefield Highland's Dan Altieri playing for Swarthmore was fifth in the Anton Memorial.

Washington Crossing's Ambrose Abbracciamento was 16th in the Pioneer Creek Classic playing for San Diego University. 

26 Oct

Innovative Garl designs are fun, playable

Written by Bob Oliver

It is raining - again - and not a time for fall golf. Cleaning out the reporter's notebook, I noticed 2018 saw a number of new courses played on my drive for 1000.

That is a lot of golf courses. Heck, 81 of those I've played have been closed, but through no fault of mine.

In looking at 2018 I realized that one of my friends, a golf course designer who continually comes up with stellar works, bedazzled me with several wonderful opportunities.

Ron Garl is a guy who simply designs fine layouts that are challenging, interesting and definately playable for all levels and abilities.

This year saw a return visit to a course played a couple years ago, Golden Ocala, which features 8 "replica" tests among it's 18 finely manicured holes. Simply loved it!

Got to play Money Hill Plantation with the "Man" himself, and was so very impressed with his outstanding knowledge of how golfers view a course and its challenges. This layout is superb. 

While on that same trip we played Lakewood Country Club, which Garl refined and refurbished. The course had been site of New Orleans Open on the PGA Tour for years, and Garl brought back and improved endlessly. 

Two Orlando area courses, Eagle Creek and Victoria Hills, found their way on to my list of courses played and the only thing I can wonder is how I had not sampled their challenges before. These are superb tests. 

"Every course design is different, because every parcel of land is different. I don't have a cookie cutter approach," said Garl. "We strive to make the best use of land, challenge the player by offering multiple tee boxes and such, but in the end we want not only challenge but playability."

Playing a Ron Garl designed course is always a pleasure. We highly recommend you do so. 

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