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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USGA Sr. Am to Hidden Creek

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, NJ --- The 61st annual United States Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship will be played just more than a year from now at Hidden Creek Golf Club. The event will feature the best amateurs in the world ages 55 and above battling the sparkling Coore-Crenshaw design over a week of stroke qualifying and match play.

It seems so easy, but holding a major championship is anything but as simple as hitting the easy button and opening the gates.

While the course is superb, it has to be in great shape. And the logistics surrounding the event, from registration to the championship ceremony, requires an attention to detail and a lot of luck.

“This will not be an easy assignment,” explains David Goddard, who is co-General Chairperson of the event along with Edwina Hansen. “There is so much to be done, and we will need a whole lot of help from the community to make this happen as a seamless, superb event.”

Goddard estimates more than 400 volunteers will be required. Many will be needed to help marshal and forecaddie during tournament play at the Egg Harbor Township layout, but of critical importance is the work that needs to be done prior to the event.

“The opportunities for volunteers are endless, and any help whether in person or financial will be appreciated,” added Goddard.

“We believe it will require about $300,000 to ensure a superb championship event,” stated Hansen at a kickoff meeting for the event. “There is a lot at stake. We believe the course is of championship quality, as does the USGA, but the behind the scenes efforts to make it happen will be voluminous.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Greater Atlantic City Charities First Tee DRIVE program.

The event will be staged September 26 through October 1, 2015. There will be 156 of the best players over age 55 from around the world in the field who will play 36 holes of stroke play qualifying with the top 64 advancing to the match play component.

One local player who knows a thing or two about USGA events and the Senior Amateur in particular is George “Buddy” Marucci, who earned his first and only USGA championship with a 2008 Senior Amateur victory. Marucci has competed in 50 USGA events over the years, with the highlights being his championship run at Shady Oaks GC in Texas over New Yorker George Zahringer and his winning captaincy of the US Walker Cup team in 2007 and 2009.

“The Senior Amateur is a unique championship,” said Marucci, a four-time Pennsylvania State Amateur Champion. “We all have jobs and families. Many have grandkids. But the thing that knots us together is our love for championship golf. This is an outstanding event and a sort of marathon. You advance through stroke play, but then have to win six times in match play.”

Marucci, a long-time Merion Golf Club member who was instrumental in directing the successful 2013 U.S. Open there, spoke at the kickoff to the Senior Amateur at Hidden Creek and implored those assembled to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Of course there will be great golf, no question about it,” said the former champion. “But seriously, it does not happen without a lot of work over the next year. If you can get involved, to any degree, it will help. I know first-hand that being involved with a USGA event will get you a wealth of satisfaction from that involvement.”

For Edwina Hansen, co-owner of the stellar layout with husband Roger Hansen, even a year of preparation is short.

“There is just so much to do in preparation for the tournament, we are so proud to be the venue,” said Hansen. “The USGA will help – they’ve sent us pages of guidelines – but we know the tasks are endless to have a great tournament.”

Hidden Creek Golf Club is “on the clock” for the 61st USGA Senior Amateur.

Senior Am notes: Marucci holds the distinction of losing to one Tiger Woods in the finals of the 1995 United States Amateur Championship…Hidden Creek, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is ranked as the 71st best Modern course in the United States by Golfweek Magazine...The Delaware Valley has seen four of its players earn the USGA Senior Amateur Championship: J. Willard Platt (1955), William Hyndman III (1973, 1983), O. Gordon Brewer (1994, 1998) and Marucci….Interested in volunteering for the event? Contact: Volunteer Chairman, 61st US Senior Amateur, Care of Ole Hansen and Sons Inc., PO Box 1020, Cologne, NJ 08213…The Hansens owned nearby Blue Heron Pines when it hosted the US Amateur Publinks Championship, won by now PGA Tour standout Brandt Snedeker...Hidden Creek has hosted qualifying tournaments for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open in recent years.