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

With host Tony Leodora will travel both near and far to bring viewers a look at some of the most spectacular golf destinations in the world!

03 Dec
2018

Hidden Creek ownership change

Written by Bob Oliver

One of the finest private courses to be played at the Jersey Shore is Hidden Creek in Egg Harbor Township. 

The Coore-Crenshaw design annually sits among the top-100 Modern Courses in America as rated by Golfweek Magazine.

The challenge of Hidden Creek have bedazzled players for close to two decades, and held up well in the USGA Senior Amateur Championship. Difficult yet fair, rough yet beautiful, Hidden Creek is a true walk in the Jersey park. 

Owner and developer Roger Hansen has decided to pass ownership on to a new group, the Dormie Club Network, once the deal is sealed. The concept is a nationwide group of clubs, wherein a membership in one course extends to membership at all. Included in the Dormie Club Network are such layouts at the Dormie Club in Pinehurst, another Coore-Crenshaw design, as well as the Tom Fazio gem at Victoria National and Ballyhack in Roanoke, Va.  Other clubs are in such locales as Atlanta, Nashville, Richmond and San Antonio. 

"The time is right, we wanted to pass the ownership of Hidden Creek on to someone with a passion for the game, and the Dormie Club Networks fits that agenda," explained Hansen in a telephone conversation. "We are very happy."

Hansen, who will remain a member of the club, is proud of Hidden Creek. "It is a very special place."

 

02 Dec
2018

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
2018

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
2018

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. 

CHIP SHOTS: Details can be found at www.rongarl.com