First Cut: Nearby Golf News and Notables
Updates in Pennsylvania and beyond.
BY JIM FINNEGAN
- Back Creek Golf Club in Middletown, Del., is now under new management (the ownership remains the same). According to Frank Horton, the managing partner for the property, his team will focus on core values, great greens, tees, fairways and managing pace of play. Lots of new loyalty plans will also be offered, and a bolstered Player’s Club is being billed as a “health club for your golf game.” The Grille at Back Creek has always been top-notch, rivaling many area restaurants, so it’s nice to see chef Miguel Rivera will still be running the kitchen there.
- There was a time when the former Torresdale-Frankford Country Club was included in the pantheon of classic area golf courses like Pine Valley, Merion and Aronimink. With its Donald Ross-designed course, TFCC struggled financially in recent years, until another venerable Philadelphia institution came to the rescue: the Union League. After purchasing the property in 2014, the Union League tapped golf architect Stephen Kay to undertake the extensive renovation, with design help from consultant Brian Klein, a noted Donald Ross expert. The course closed in October 2014 to begin the bulk of the work, and the new Union League Golf Club at Torresdale was unveiled to the membership in June of 2015. Since then, the facility has also undergone some upgrades to the clubhouse and grill/dining areas.
- Reading’s Chip Lutz, who plays out of LedgeRock Golf Club in Mohnton, Pa., finally captured the only major title that has eluded him: the championship of the U.S. Senior Amateur, held at Hidden Creek Golf Club in New Jersey last fall. Lutz is one of the most dominant and decorated senior amateurs in the world, an inductee of both the National Senior Amateur Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He’s also the first player to win Philadelphia’s Junior (1972), Amateur (1977), Mid-Amateur (1998, 2007) and Senior Amateur Championships.
- White Manor’s John Dunigan was recently named the 2015 Philadelphia Section PGA Teacher of the Year, while Wilmington Country Club’s Bob Lennon was chosen as the best teacher in Delaware by Golf Digest.
- And let’s not forget that your local PGA professionals are competitors as well as teachers. Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster will be playing in his 11th major contest/event on the PGA Tour Champions when he tees it up this month in the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Mich. Forster will have participated in nine Senior PGA Championships and two U.S. Senior Opens.
- AppleBrook’s Dave McNabb may be the rare soul who is actually looking forward to turning the big 5-0 this month. That birthday milestone opens the door to qualifying for this year’s U.S. Senior Open—with a “home cooking” qualifier held at the Applebrook course. McNabb will also be playing in the PGA Professional National Championship at Turning Stone in New York in late June, earning his ticket there by winning the Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship this past Sept. 17 at Concord Country Club with a 9-under-par 204.