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.

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There is no question that Bucks County has a long and storied history for the game of golf. 

Gary Player represented what is now the Middletown Country Club at one point in his career, Johnny Miller played Bensalem Country Club and Middletown numerous times while he dated his future wife. Ben Hogan competed in an exhibition at the Middletown Country Club as did two-time PGA Champion Leo Diegel. More recently, tour players Jay Sigel and Ed Dougherty played in Golf Association of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Section events in Bucks County.

Jericho National served as a qualifying site for a Champions Tour event, Doylestown, Lookaway and Yardley have served a sites for premier Golf Association of Philadelphia competitions.

Most courses were developed in the 1950s and later, with numerous changes and enhancements over the years to allow for a first class golf experience. The "Granddaddy" of local courses is the Middletown Country Club, which dates back to 1912 at its current location.

Scotsman Alexander Findley, he of Aronimink fame, is credited with Middletown's original design, while William and David Gordon collaborated to design the Bucks Club, Bensalem and Fairways. More recently Rees Jones (Lookaway), Rick Jacobson (Makefield Highlands) and Hurdzan/Fry (Jericho National) have designed local courses, while Stephen Kay has spruced up several others. ,

There are a full range of price points to fit the pocketbook of all players. Numerous golf leagues are present, with information readily available from pro shops.

Over the years area players have competed in the United States Open, United States Amateur, and numerous other state, regional and national events.  

So if you want to play golf, Bucks County has a wide array of courses at various price points to suit your taste and wallet. Here's a listing of area courses to get you started on your quest.

Bensalem Municipal Country Club: A classic William Gordon design, Bensalem opened as a private course in 1960. Gordon, who also designed the prestigious Saucon Valley Grace Course, is now operated by Bensalem Township. The par-70, 6,131-yard challenging layout, has 3 sets of tees, has a restaurant and practice facilities on site. The dean of area pros, Jim Bogan, presides over the operation. The robust Bensalem Golf Association hosts numerous tournaments at the club. See the "Couree Review" on this site.  

The Bucks Club: This semi-private design in Jamison was originally designed by William Gordon and remodeled several years ago and the result was a challenging par-70, 18-holes layout of about 6,300 yards. Former site of the Bucks County Amateur, the course features rolling hills and challenging, undulating greens. A driving range, spa, fitness and restaurant facilities are on site. Located on Route 263, 215-343-0350.

Doylestown Country Club: private, 18 holes, 72 par, 6,566 yards, driving range, Green Street, Doylestown, 215-345-8996.

Fairways Golf Club : A fun course for beginners and experienced, players, this public 18-hole course has a par of 65 and stretches to about 4,500-yards. A fun course to hone one's short game. Located on Country Club Lane in Warrington, a practice facility is on site. Phone: 215-343-9979

Fox Hollow Golf Club: public, 18 holes, 71 par, 6,198 yards, driving range, 2020 Trumbauersville Road, Quakertown, 215-538-1920. Originally the Thunderbird Golf Club, this David Gordon layout had its name changed when a den of red foxes was discovered near the 11th hole. Undulating fairways with numerous challenges.   

Heritage Creek Golf Club: Semi-public. The newest addition to Bucks County Golf, this Kelly Blake Moran  design in Warwick (215-674-8283)  offers nine regulation golf holes at a reasonable price. Two hole locations/flagsticks on each green, so those who make two trips around the course get different "looks" of holes. See our review in the "Course Review" section of this web site. Moran has worked on numerous award-winning layouts around the world. His Hawk Pointe Golf Club design in Washington, N.J. has been a U.S. Open qualifying site.

Jericho National Golf Club: private, 18 holes, 72 par, 7,217 yards from back tees, stellar practice facility, 250 Brownsburg Road East, New Hope, 215-862-9101. A true player's course, designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry and opened in 1999, offers numerous challenges and outstanding views. Its undulating fairways uses the existing Bucks County terrain subperbly. Home of the Dom DiJulia School of Golf.

Makefield Highlands Golf Club: Located on rolling hills of Lower Makefield, Makefield Highlands presents a unique set of challenges for golfers of all abilities. With five sets of tee boxes, designer Rick Jacobson has given the player the opportunity to pick the right length of course to play, keeping in mind numerous hills, bunkers, ponds, trees, tall fescue grasses and undulating greens are there to challenge your game. A complete practice facility is on site. 18 holes, par 72, 7,058-yards. Located on Woodside Road just off Route 95. 215-321-7000.

Country Club: Originally a Alexander Findlay design circa 1913, this public layout has changed names (was Langhorne Country Club) and routing over the years but is still a pleasurable par-69, 6,217-yard 18 hole layout. Not real long, but many challenges as over the years George Fazio and Stephen Kay have worked their magic on the land to enhance the original design. Bouyed by a new irrigation system to keep grass green longer through summer months, Middletown consistently seeks to upgrade its facilities. Located on North Bellevue Avenue just off the Route One bypass in Langhorne, 215-757-6953. Read more in a review of the course...

Neshaminy Valley Golf Club: Built in 1969 and operated since then by the Schneider family, this pleasant course isn't real long but offers a good, inexpensive, round of golf. Mature trees and winding streams traverse the course. Owners have made continuous improvements over the years. Open to the public, 18 holes, 70 par, 6,014-yards, at 440 Almshouse Road, Jamison, 215-343-6930. Read more in a review of the course.

Northampton Valley Country Club: One thing is a sure bet at Northampton Valley, the Sklar family is consistently attempting to improve the golf experience (see related story in Golf Course Review section). This public, par-70, 6,377-yard 18 hole facility also offers a driving range and practice green. Edmund Ault did the original design work. Located on Newtown-Richboro Road, Route 332, Richboro, head pro Vin Ciarlone and his staff can be reached at 215-355-2234.

Oxford Valley Golf Course: Players of all abilities can have a fun round on this public, 9 holes, 31 par, 2,025 yard course. Work on the short game here. Practice putting green, 41 S. Oxford Valley Road, Falls, 215-945-8644

Snipes Golf Farm: public, 18-hole pitch and putt, two 18-hole miniature golf courses, driving range, golf lessons available, 860 W. Bridge St., Morrisville, 215-295-1337

Spring Mill Country Club: private, 18 holes, 72 par, 7,350 yards, driving range, miniature golf, chip and putt course, 80 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland, 215-672-6110. Interesting fact: Had several names over the years, including Hi-Point Golf Farm, where it hosted the Delaware Valley Open. Hi-Point referred to a point on the course that had the highest elevation in Lower Bucks County. Although private, there is a public driving range and mini-golf facility.

Warminster Five Ponds Golf Course: Opened in 1988, this 18-hole, par-71 layout held the distinction of being the newest Bucks County public course until Makefield Highlands came along. Stretching to nearly 6,700 yards with a par of 71 the course weaves through rolling hills and has several ponds and streams which must be evaded. Five Ponds has a driving range, practice putting green and is located on Street Road. Phone: 215-956-9727.

Yardley Country Club: private,18 holes, 72 par, 6,122 yards, driving range, teaching facility, home of the 7-Time Golf Association of Philadelphia Men's Team Championship squad. Frederick Findlay, whose older brother Alexander designed numerous courses, was the original architect at Yardley (1929). Not overly long but very challenging. Located at 1010 Reading Ave., Yardley, 215-493-4531