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!

20 May
2020

ShopRite Classic delayed until fall

Written by Bob Oliver

Just when you thought it was safe to pencil new dates for the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer into your calendar, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a second change. 

The LPGA Tour has announced the event, played annually at the Stockton Seaview Golf Resort, will be moving to the fall.   First the event was postponed from June to July dates, and now it will be held October 2-4.

"We appreciate the flexibility of the management of the event," said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. "The LPGA is looking forward to returning to the shore in October."

It has been a wild ride for professional golf.  All tours went on hiatus with the pandemic, and changes are still being made.  There is a possibility the October dates may allow the tournament to be played with fans in attendance.  Time will tell.

"Given the challenges of today's environment (with the disease) we are excited to move to the fall," explained Tim Ehrensen. "Autumn golf in South Jersey provides great conditions and we know Seaview's staff will continue to do an outstanding job on the course."

There's another great thing with the move in timing, in that instead of heading overseas after the original new dates, the October dates will be the week before the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. "That's being held at Aronimink (in Newtown Square) so we are excited to be a part of a couple of weeks of great golf in the Delaware Valley," added Ehrensen. 

Given the uncertainty of the COVID response, the rescheduling of the event to October is great news for the tournament, fans and players.  

CHIP SHOTS: THe event generates more than $1 million annually for charity, having generated more than $35 million since its inception...While it's too early to think about player commitments, it's expected the ShopRite will have its usual outstanding field 

05 May
2020

Area was part of Nelson's 11-win streak

Written by Bob Oliver

It's a rainy day and the mind was wandering before settling on the Delaware Valley's history with professional golf.

The area has been lucky to host United States Opens, PGA Championships and a few tour events.  These days such efforts are few and far between.

Did you know Torresdale-Frankford (Union League Club) down the road from Bensalem hosted a PGA Tour event? Absolutely. The year was 1944 and Torresdale saw Sam Boyd post a 10-under-par 274 total to score a 7-shot win over Craig Wood who had claimed the 1941 US Open and Masters.  

The event at the time was the Philadelphia Inquirer Open Invitational, and was in the first year of a six year event on the tour. The event was also held at Llanerch, when Byron Nelson won its seventh straight PGA Tour event that extended to 11, as well as Cedarbrook and Whitemarsh Valley. 

Whitemarsh Valley was also host to the longest lasting PGA Tour event played in the area, as under numerous names (Whitemarsh Open, Philadelphia Golf Classic, IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic, and IVB Bicentennial Golf Classic.  That event regularly drew great players and scores of fans. Winners included Jack Nicklaus (three times), Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Tom Kite and Tom Weiskopf in its 18 years from 1963-1980. 

Merion has hosted five United States Open Championships, while Aronimink hosted both the PGA Championship and Senior PGA Championship.  

Pennsbury grad Nick Napoleon played in the PGA Tour's SEI Pennsylvania Golf Classic at Waynesboro. 

Chester Valley hosted numerous Senior PGA tour events, and occasionally White Manor filled in. But since 2001 the men have evaded the area other than for a major or a one-year run of Tiger's tournament when normal host Congressional was undergoing renovations and Aronimink substituted. 

These days, with the COVID dominating most of our thoughts, one doesn't think about tour golf, but on a rainy day it happens. 

02 May
2020

LPGA revises Shoprite dates

Written by Bob Oliver

In a COVID world everything is upended, changed, revised.

The states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey have reopened ability to play the game - under social distancing guidelines - but the professional game in on hold. At least for now.

As "the curve" has turned better, there is hope. The LPGA has revised its schedule, eliminating many tournaments previously scheduled for this year and has issued a preliminary new schedule of events for the remainder of the year.

For area fans there is some great news.  The ShopRite LPGA Championship, presented by Acer, remains on the schedule with new dates.  The tournament iwill be played at Seaview Golf Resort's Bay Course as planned, but with the dates moved to July 27-August 2.  

Much is not finalized.   The tournament hopes to have fans allowed, but tournament officials indicate "fans are still an option that has not been finalized." Much will depend on where the South Jersey area is in the way of COVID-19 response next month. 

THe important thing is planning is there for a full reopening of the event at the latter date. 

That's good news to area charities, as the ShopRite annually contributes more than $1M to charitable causes. In its history the event has generated more than $35M to charity.

Players love coming to the area. Many have stayed with the same families for years. And the players will be incented by a purse boost to $2M for this year's event.

So far, so good.

 

 

27 Apr
2020

Golf courses opening

Written by Bob Oliver

Today area pro shops reacted to something they hadn't in more than a month --- their telephones were ringing at a brisk rate.

Governor Tom Wolf removed the restrictions on play, reducing the rules which had been in place for the last five weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To be clear, social distancing remains critical, and courses will be implementing policies that allow their courses to be open while enforcing various procedures.

Some of the restrictions could mean a longer distance between tee times, limits on players using golf carts, keeping flagsticks in the hole at all times and keeping gathering areas closed. 

Representatives of Bensalem, Northampton Valley and Neshaminy Valley said tee times are available for the weekend, but that all procedures are being reviewed for the reopening. To a person they said safe rather than sorry is the message.

NVCC will make tee times at 20 minute intervals to ensure spacing of golfers. It's driving range will not be open this weekend. Flagsticks may not be removed and other protective methods will be enforced.  

THe Governor cited residents physical and mental health as being atop the reasons for reopening, along with the drop in COVID-19 cases in general. He had been giving through to reopening portions of the state but in the end went with the blanket removal of restrictions on certain industries.

"As we start to take measured, limited steps to reopen the Commonwealth, reopening some industries will help rebuild our economy and strengthen our mental health," explained the Governor.

The Center for DIsease Control reminds all that one should NOT play golf if your sick or recently were diagnosed with COVID-19.  It also recommended not to take part in organized events (e.g., leagues where multiple people would be on hand).   Social distancing remains critical.  But it did not recommend playing with a mask, although one could.

Still, with practicing in the basement may be nice for a while, playing the game is much better.

Swing away!