2017 Golf News and Notables
In Delaware and Pennsylvania, here’s what’s happening both on and off the course.
We’re sad to see the loss of another golf course this year. Marsh Island Golf Club in Lewes, Del., closed in January. Even venerable DuPont Country Club in Wilmington is up for sale in 2017.
White Manor Country Club in Malvern, Pa., had been facing capital challenges common to the golf industry and was recently acquired by Concert Golf Partners, a California-based firm that now has 14 similar golf properties in its portfolio. The new owners paid off the club’s debts and will be looking to pump more than $1 million in capital improvements into it, including greens renovations. We’re glad to see that the membership found a way to preserve the golf course and the other great facilities there. The Bobby Weed layout is a fine course—now that they took out the eyebrow bunkering.
Western Pennsylvania luxury resort Nemacolin will unveil a second 18-hole layout, Shepherd’s Rock, to complement the Mystic Rock track. Slated for an early-summer debut, the project is in the hands of Tim Liddy, lead architect for the Dye Group, who tells us the course offers “a collection of unique and stunning golf holes, with magnificent mountaintop views on many golf holes that will remain in your memory for years after.”
Red, Black and Blue
In Central Florida, Gil Hanse of Malvern follows up his Olympic course success with Streamsong Black. Streamsong joins the existing Red Course (Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw) and Blue Course (Tom Doak). Hanse’s newest offering rounds out the colorful who’s who of American golf-course architects at this property, elevating Streamsong to one of golf’s top destinations.
After having many notable golf tournaments in our backyard last year, the closest we come to a big event in 2017 is in New Jersey. Trump National in Bedminster will host the U.S. Women’s Open in July, and Liberty National in Jersey City will welcome the Presidents Cup in September. But we’re already looking to 2018, when the BMW Championship comes to Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa. The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings will tee off there next September. Head pro Jeff Kiddie and his crew are no strangers to hosting big-time golf, after the AT&T National back in 2010 and 2011.
Head Pros to Know
Tom Morgan (pictured) was named new head pro at Broad Run Golfer’s Club in West Chester, Pa., making the short move from Reading Country Club, where he served 16 years and helped transition the private club to a public facility. And Dave McNabb of Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern wasted no time after turning 50 to qualify for the Senior PGA Championship, which will happen in May at Trump National D.C.
He’ll join Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster, who will be playing in this event for the 12th time. This championship will mark McNabb’s third major, in addition to playing the PGA Championships in 2013 and 2014. During his qualifier round, he rolled in a 65-foot putt to save par and help him make the Senior PGA by a single stroke.
An Ace of a Movie
We had a chance to preview Tommy’s Honour, what may be the best golf movie ever, after its showing at the Palm Springs International Film Festival a few months back. Directed by Jason Connery, it’s the powerfully moving true story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, the father-son team that had a huge impact on modern golf. The movie is based on the book of the same name, written by Kevin Cook, former Golf magazine writer. Filmed in and around St. Andrews, Scotland, it’s a must-see for golf lovers and non-golfers alike.
Golf at Your Fingertips
Want to experience all the golf courses in Montgomery County in one place? Check out the recently launched Destination Montco Golf. The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board created the web portal, where you can get info and book tee times for all of the county’s 54 public and private courses. Last year, I played golf with Ed Harris, the organization’s vice president of marketing and communications, who was even more excited about this new resource than he was when he guarded Kobe Bryant as a hoopster at Germantown Academy. Legend has it, Harris held Bryant to under 40 points.