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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27 May
2020

New and improved Middletown CC

Written by Bob Oliver

 

The Middletown Country Club has been a Lower Bucks County staple for nearly 110 years, providing area golfers challenge and opportunity at a reasonable price. 

Over the years it's lost some land to growth of the community, but one think it's always kept is it's hometown course feeling and strong customer service.

Reopened a month ago after the Governor removed restrictions due to COVID-19, Middletown has been bustling with activity.

"Of course we are doing our part to social distance and follow CDC guidelines," explained head professional Dan Hoban. "The players have been enthusiastic about our reopening, and our tee sheets have been bustling with activity. The course is in good shape, and we are doing our best to make this a fine experience for our customers."

Over the last year architect Tyler Raw has provided his expertise in sprucing up the course, originally opened in 1913. 

New greens were installed on holes 11 and 13, allowing for more playability and options for hole placement.

"With the change came more usable hole positions, giving us options we didn't have before.  We cleared our a few trees, improved overall conditions and are very happy with the response," added Hoban.  "Also, we purchased 75 new carts, a wonderful addition."

The 6,100-yard, par 69 Langhorne layout is fun for players of all abilities. A very nice place to play a round of golf. 

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.