Best Golf Courses in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is a city of great history. The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Valley Forge Historic National Park, the Philadelphia Zoo (America’s first zoo), the Franklin Institute (a science museum), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and its ‘Rocky’ steps) and other attractions have been entertaining visitors for generations. Sports lovers can experience all four of the major professional sports – the Flyers (hockey), Phillies (baseball), Eagles (football) and 76ers (basketball) within the city, and golf is a part of that history as well.
The private Philadelphia Cricket Club, founded in 1854, is the oldest country club in the United States. Nine holes built in 1895 were quickly replaced by a new eighteen-hole course in 1897. This St. Martins course, now playing as a nine-hole layout, hosted U.S. Opens in 1907 and 1910. The PCC was one of four founding members of the Golf Association of Philadelphia in 1897, joining three other legendary private clubs – the Merion Golf Club, the Philadelphia Country Club and the Aronimink Golf Club.
Merion’s famed East course hosted the 2013 U.S. Open – its fifth, but the first since 1981. The club has a tradition of holding championship tournaments run by the United States Golf Association. Aronimink, a Donald Ross course in Newtown Square, played host to the 1962 PGA Championship, as well as the 2010 and 2011 AT&T National Championships, two playoff events of the FedEx Cup. The 2018 BMW Championship at Aronimink will determine the top 30 players who qualify for the Tour Championship. And don’t forget the prestigious Pine Valley Golf Club, situated just across the state line in New Jersey.
Best Golf Courses in Philadelphia (Public)
Public golfers have choices, too. Considered one of the best golf courses in Philadelphia, the Golf Course at Glen Mills, about 30 miles west of the city is a top public course. Tee times spaced 12 minutes apart ensure golfers good pace of play and holes all to themselves on this Bobby Weed design.
Ron Jaworski—former NFL quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and NFL TV analyst—has invested in the local golf business, buying six courses across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including the Downingtown Country Club in Downingtown, Pa., 35 miles west of the city. Crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey, golfers can chase down Jaworski’s tee times at the Ramblewood Country Club (see pictured) in Mt. Laurel, Riverwinds Golf & Tennis Club in West Deptford, Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood and the Running Deer Golf Club in Pittsgrove Township, all within 40 miles of Philly.
The Lulu Country Club, a Ross design in North Hills, 16 miles north of downtown, is on the comeback trail. The club lost its historic 1920s clubhouse to a fire in 2015, but construction of a new one is ongoing. And when you’re in the area, you can point a compass in any direction to find other public courses worth playing – The Wyncone Golf Club in Oxford, the Inniscrone Golf Club in Avondale, the Jeffersonville Golf Club in Norristown, Makefield Highlands Golf Club in Yardley and the Turtle Creek Golf Club in Limerick.