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!

26 Aug
2019

Fall Golf in Ocean City, Md.

Written by Bob Oliver
 
It had been a slow day at the office, that day when summer was soon ending and my mind was on a much needed fall golf trip. 
I love fall golf, when the courses aren’t crowded, conditions are superb and the weather pretty darn good.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time off, and the office was badgering me about a big project due by the end of the year. I could surely tack on a couple days to a weekend and head with the guys on a golf vacation, but time was of the essence.
As a Pennsylvania guy, I have to admit trips to Myrtle Beach or Pinehurst were attractive. Shoulder season meant lower rates and deals could be found. But time, well, that was another story. Couldn’t get more time off, and the drive alone would take the better part of two day. Ugh.
Brainstorm.
What about a getaway to Ocean City, Maryland, where golf courses are plentiful, there’s nightlife and great accommodations? Where some of the game’s top golf course architects have samples of their work? Where value is abundant?
Problem solved. An OC long weekend means great golf at the beach and, if desired, golf on the way down and on getaway day.
The Ocean City drive is relatively easy, and the courses are challenging. It’s a win-win situation. Off season golf means less crowded fairways and excellent conditions. Plus, if you haven’t visited in a bit would be undoubtedly be surprised at the quality of golf courses in the area.
“We are blessed with good weather, wonderful amenities and of course some very challenging and fun golf courses,” explained Steve Cooper, Director of Golf at the Pete/P.B. Dye designed Rum Pointe Seaside Links course. “Fall golf is outstanding, as the course conditions are wonderful and from a golfer’s perspective the rates are cheaper. Your dollar goes farther while the drive from Pennsylvania is shorter!”
Rum Pointe is part of the Ruark Golf Group, which also oversees outstanding sister courses the Links at Lighthouse Sound, Nutter’s Crossing and two courses at Glen Riddle, Man O’War and War Admiral.
Also in the vicinity are the Ocean City Golf Club, Eagles Landing, River Run, the Bay Club and Ocean Pines among others. Just beyond the Delaware State line are outstanding tests such as the beautiful Baywood Greens, the Jack Nicklaus designed Bayside, The Rookery (North and South courses), The Salt Pond and Bear Trap Dune.
Suffice it to say, there is superb golf available within the friendly confines of the greater Ocean City destination. There’s also ample accommodations, stellar dining, fishing and a boardwalk to boot.
“The area has so much to offer and we’re an east drive from just about anywhere in the Northeast,” added Cooper. “We have a great array of course options designed by superb architects and some unbelievable scenery. It’s a great destination.”
Rum Pointe offers great views of Assateague Island across the bay, with many offering views that one just has to say can be breathtaking. Of course, those water views mean difficulty for players who don’t pay enough attention to placement of their shots.
“But I have to say our course can be tough, but it’s fair,” added Cooper. “We have players who visit year after year.”
Bayside is a Jack Nicklaus signature design ranked number one on statewide places to play by several golf magazines, and rightfully so.  It winds through magnificent pine trees and features simply stunning holes along the Assawoman Bay coastline. Golf shots can be made difficult by Mother Nature’s best hazards, like salt marshes, ponds and of course the seemingly ever-present winds.  
Nearby Baywood Greens is, in a word, unique. The awesome, beautiful flowers alone will awe you! The course is challenging but fair, and has been described by some as an “Augusta of the North”. Its course has been named among Delaware’s best by Golfweek and Golf Digest, and offers excellent practice facilities including chipping and putting tests.
The Woodside nine is carved out of beautiful hardwood trees. The Waterside nine features ponds on nearly every hole. Add in strong bunkering, mounds and hazards and one has to play a thinking, strategic game to score well.
The Gary Player designed River Run Golf Club prides itself as being in pristine condition throughout the year, and Fall is a great time to sample. Player’s designs are always pleasing to the golfer, and River Run is no exception.
The Links at Lighthouse Sound, an Arthur Hills design, is among the top-ranked courses to play in Maryland not only because of its architecturally sound course but spectacular views. Just across the bay from Ocean City, there are 10 holes bordering marshlands. Play runs through stately hardwoods, and the courses gives one a links feel.
The fourth hole (stretching to 430-yards) offers obstacles such as marshland all the way down the right side while strategically placed bunkers guard the left. A true challenge, as is the par-3 fifth which can play anywhere from 100-220-yards and features guarding three sides of the green. Throw in prevailing winds and trouble is everywhere.
It’s interesting to note that the longest cart bridge in the US – some 1,500 feet – can be found heading to the back nine.  Challenges await! And to send you home smiling is the reachable par-5 18th hole, a true risk-reward test. Play it right and hit a couple good shots and birdies are there for the taking. Mishit a shot and, well, a dreaded big number awaits.
Eagle’s Landing overlooks Sinepuxet Bay and offers views of Assateague Island National Seashore, but unless you have binoculars you won’t see the wild horses who frolic in the area. What you will see is a series of well thought out challenges that will bedazzle you. The Signature hole is the par-4 18th, with its salt marshes and tight landing areas. A true test. 
Ocean Pines features a design by Robert Trent Jones, one that has matured since its opening in 1972. The course is nestled between natural wetlands and scenic woodlands and has five sets of tees as well as tees for the PGA of America’s Family Course program. A par of 72 awaits.
The Ocean City Golf Club offers 36 championship holes on its Newport and Seaside layouts. Located a short drive from the Boardwalk, these courses are filled with challenge.
There isa cornucopia of options when thinking of golf in the greater Ocean City, Md. vicinity, and when you combine this with all the accoutrements of the area as well as its proximity to Pennsylvania it must be considered or a fall golf destination. The courses are outstanding, and Fall is a great time of year to sample.
The weather is superb, the courses memorable and the value of the dollar works for most wallets. It’s a can’t miss destination. Fall golf at its finest.
07 Aug
2019

Delcher 4th in Pa. Seniors

Written by Bob Oliver
 
Bucks County native Duke Delcher, who resides in South Carolina, returned to the Keystone State to compete in the Pennsylvania Senior Amateur Championship.  Good move!
The former Richboro resident carded a sweet 70 in his opening round at the Butler Country Club, and when inclimate weather cancelled the final round he found himself in 4th place in the 60th state senior championship. 
Sean Knapp won the event with a 67. 
Richboro's Glenn Smeraglio carded a 73. 
21 Jul
2019

Sterbinsky soars in Am qualifying

Written by Bob Oliver
Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you. But everyone once in a while, after Yogi gets you, one picks himself up and teaches the bear a lesson.
Okay, that's dramatic. But for Yardley's Kyle Sterbinsky there was some truth to the story.
Sterbinsky, a red shirt Wake Forest University senior, opened United States Amateur qualifying with a pedestrian 73, well away from a qualifying score for the Amateur, being held Aug. 12-18 at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Nothing seemed to go right.
Whatever he had for lunch did the trick. 
In the second round Sterbinsky scored an electrifying 9-under-par 63 - a course record at Cedarbrook - and claimed medalist honors and one of two spots in the Amateur after finishing at 136 for the 36-hole event. 
It will be Sterbinsky's third trip to the national championship (2013, 2016).
Failing to qualify was Langhorne's Daniel Charen (72-71--143). 
30 Jun
2019

Renovations continue at Shore Club

Written by Steve Gordon

 

 

A recent visit to The Shore Club revealed that the rebranding from the name of Wildwood Country Club is much more than just a new name.

In a long term process it is continuing to improve both the club house facility and the golf course. The club has a history going back to it’s opening in in 1923. Walter Hagan played there and Arnold Palmer, when he was serving in the Coast Guard in nearby Cape May, was a frequent visitor.

Even as construction of the Garden State Parkway disturbed the original course, it has retained much of its character with adapting and putting in new holes.

Part of the renovations to the golf course is to restore the bunkering. Over time the bunkers developed higher faces than they had. The work on the front nine is complete and those high faces have been modified with the turf growing on the slopes and running down to the bunker edges, back to how Wayne Stiles originally constructed them.

This is not a long golf course by today’s standards playing 5829 yards from the white tees and 5262 yards from the more forward green (senior) tees.  It can play longer than the listed yardages so don’t let the numbers fool you. The club is focused on being family orientated and attracting more women and junior players and it has a 3765 yard course in that regard. Now all that said it can stretch out to 6,714 yards which will test the best players to challenge par.

The biggest variable is the wind, which can briskly flow from the bay and cause a one or two club difference to expected carry. This makes the Shore Club a little different each and every time one plays.

In addition to the bunker restorations tree removal is an ongoing process. Courses used to think tree line fairways were the thing to have because a lot of the old courses were built on properties that didn’t have a lot or trees. Case in point is Oakmont near Pittsburgh which a number of years ago brought the club back to its roots by removing nearly all trees.

The most notable area where trees were removed come on the par 5 12th hole. It’s one of the replacement holes and it just never quite fit into the overall look and feel of the rest of the course. Twelve is a moderate to short par 5 that plays 501 yards from the tips and 441 from the white tees.

Before tree removal it was a driver, short iron and a wedge. Now with a big drive it can play as a long par four because of a massive tree removal project that opened up an avenue to the green. However that long shot to reach the green in two must carry water that caresses the front of the green complex. Think Tin Cup and ultimate risk reward.

The illustration below shows the hole and where the cart path runs was surrounded by trees forcing a layout to about 90 yards out. The next phase on the renovation of this hole is to add tall fescue for aesthetics near the pond.

The addition of fescue isn’t limited to this one area however as several other areas have been identified to grow in areas that would not normally be in play but in areas that would just add some character of a shore course.

In that vein, on holes that are up against the bay there is a desire to open the vista to see the water and the view of Wildwood on the other side. That is going to take time as those areas are sometimes not accessible and too wet to get to. Standing in the club house with Director of Golf Fred Reidel pointed to one big tree on the 7th hole and several in the distance they would like to clear to have a clear view of the bay from the MacKissic’Pub.

Marketing and Membership Director Amanda Ruhl said it best. “Some places make promises and don’t follow up on them. At The Shore Club we are doing it.” Membership is on the upspring as The Shore Club offers a fine practice facility, golf course, food and beverage.

For more information go to www.myshoreclub.com.