If Joyce Kilmer thought nothing lovelier than a tree, it simply proves he wasn’t a golfer. This year, we surveyed local golf pros (and one architect) to choose what they believe are our region’s most beautiful golf holes. From tantalizing and tart par 3s to broad and buxom par 5s, the pros truly came through with 36 hot and juicy picks. Call it the Golf Guide Swimsuit issue, but rated G for golf, of course. i We hope you enjoy reading this year’s selections, and that they will whet your appetite for whatever linksland fantasies you care to indulge yourself in this golf season. i Warning: contains golfers-only content, player discretion advised. Must be 18 or longer to play. Partial fairway nudity, suggestive approaches, naughty niblicks and tap-in temptresses. For swinging adults only.
OK, that’s about as far as a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for a golf guide should go—or allow. On a more factual note, you will be pleased to see just how much beauty our little corner of the golfing kingdom possesses. Enjoy.
No. 1 Aronimink Golf Club, Newtown Square, Pa. 414 yards, par 4: Soft and cuddly. White Manor’s Marc Levine likes the way this opening hole “rises before you along a treelined fairway that promises you a wonderful day of golf.”
No. 1 Manufacturers Golf and Country Club, Oreland, Pa. 385 yards, par 4: “A thing of beauty…” Kimberton’s Jim Maach says the “elevated tee makes the ball seem like it will carry forever.”
No. 1 White Manor Country Club, Malvern, Pa. 424 yards, par 4: A real eyeful. The Rookery’s Butch Holtzclaw calls the elevated view of this starter nothing short of “spectacular, simply because of the overall view from the tee.”
No. 2 Bayside Resort, Fenwick Island, Del. 614 yards, par 5: Looks good in anything. Bear Trap Dunes’ Brian Painter says this “long par 5 with water on both sides, the Assawoman Bay on the left and a second shot full of options along with the bay and Ocean City skyline in the background, makes this hole play and look different every time you arrive,” and gives the hole its constantly changing beauty.
No. 3 Cripple Creek, Bethany Beach, Del. 331 yards, par 4: A true beauty that needs no makeup. “Your drive is framed by a wonderful view of the bay,” says Back Creek’s Jim McGoarty. And water completes the attraction here, as McGoarty notes, “the green is surrounded by natural marsh, with the bay as background.”
No. 3 Wilmington (South), Wilmington, Del. 585 yards, par 5: A beauty to beware? White Clay Creek’s Ryan Kidwell likes the “frame of the hole, a true three-shotter, especially with the new changes. Your tee shot is through a corridor of trees, and your second is a layup if you want a real chance for a birdie putt.”
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No. 4 Bidermann Golf Club, Wilmington, Del. 176 yards, par 3: Winner of the swimsuit competition? Course architect Allen Liddicoat says this one-shotter “sits up on a plateau with a big bunker in front. Everything just fits.”
No. 4 Rock Manor Golf Course, Wilmington, Del. 562 yards, par 5: Just call her Angel of the Morning. Liddicoat notes the particular beauty of this long par 5 “especially in a morning sun glinting off the bunkering that extends all the
way to the green.”
No. 4 Stonewall (Old Course), Elverson, Pa. 370 yards, par 4: A Grace Kelly lookalike? McCall Golf and Country Club’s Ed Figueroa describes this wonderful hole as ‘Philly style.’ “It’s a traditional, tree-lined hole with beautiful foliage that is spectacular to look at from the elevated tee. The second shot carries a water hazard to a green surrounded by an old stone wall.”
No. 5 Links at Lighthouse Sound, Bishopville, Md. 218 yards, par 3: Chased by the paparazzi. The Rookery’s Holtzclaw wanted too make sure we didn’t overlook a favorite to win this beauty pageant. “It’s a par 3 with a forced carry over a marsh and the green is framed by the
Assawoman Bay and the Ocean City skyline in back.” The backup here is usually created in part by shutterbugs capturing this beauty for their foursome’s posterity.
No. 5 Stonewall (Old Course), Elverson, Pa. 197 yards, par 3: Out of your league. It seems this track has caught the aesthetic eye more than any other. Philadelphia Country Club’s Jay Horton says the fifth, while a short par 3, is a beauty by virtue of its surrounding water, and a degree of difficulty that makes a “five as possible as a three.”
No. 6 The Peninsula, Millsboro, Del. 395 yards, par 4: Bear Trap Dunes’ Painter points to the view of the Indian River and its bridge as the eye-catchers here. “The 3-acre bunker catches your eye as well as attention,” says Painter, making this beauty a beast where par is a “great score.”
No. 7 Llanerch Country Club, Haver-town, Pa. 393 yards, par 4: Built like a brick… Another classical tree-lined hole with surrounding stonework, McCall’s Figueroa says the high grass bearding the face of the bunkers provides a yellowish tint that gives the hole a “distinctive
No. 8 Fieldstone Country Club, Greenville, Del. 170 yards, par 3: Kidwell notes the elevation change of this par 3, “and how that serves to frame the hole, especially during the fall foliage.”
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No. 9 The Ace Club, Lafayette Hill, Pa. 546 yards, par 5: Kimberton Golf Club’s Bob Hays points to the hole’s decorative “boulder and waterfall” that makes this one a no-brainer for Best Eye Candy.
No. 9 Golden Oaks Golf Club, Fleetwood, Pa. 214 yards, par 3: Jim Wagner of Spring Hollow Golf Club points to the downhill carry over water of this par 3, along with “the fountain and the clubhouse behind it” that give the hole its
No. 9 Stonewall, Elverson, Pa. 215 yards, par 3: This Old Course standard-bearer features a big lake and bunkers to frame its particular beauty. Challenge adds to the attraction, as well, according to Philadelphia Country Club’s Horton, who believes the hole punishes “if played too conservatively.” In other words, confidence is very sexy to this seductive charmer.
No. 9 Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, Md. 478 yards, par 4: White Clay Creek’s Ryan Kidwell likes the risk and reward that comes with a dual fairway and a big drive. “You can play this one with a driver or lay up with a fairway metal and achieve the same result.” A rare beauty that can be pleased in more than one way.
No. 12 Rolling Green Country Club, Springfield, Pa. 362 yards, par 4: Aroni-mink’s Jeff Kiddie goes for the pert curves here, saying he “loves the shape” of the hole. “It’s a short par 4, framed by an old house behind it, and the hole’s short length brings the entire hole into view from the tee.”
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No. 13 Hartefeld National, Avondale, Pa. 581 yards, par 5: Casey O’Reilly of West Chester Golf and Country Club, perhaps provides the Pamela Anderson entry into our survey of most beautiful golf holes. “It’s the length and toughness of this long par 5 that makes this hole so attractive. From the elevated tee, you can view the entire sweep of the hole’s breadth and undulation.”
No. 14 Baywood Greens, Long Neck, Del. 425 yards, par 4: Too cool for the room. With the beautifully landscaped split fairway (one of them is an island), Michael Connor of Hooper’s Landing calls it a real “stunner.”
No. 15 Bayside Resort, Fenwick Island, Del. 207 yards, par 3: Embraceable you. The Salt Pond’s Art Whaley says the way the water “wraps around this hole and surrounds the green” is visible as you stand on the tee, giving it a full view to the golfer’s eye.
No. 15 White Clay Creek, Wilmington, Del. 550 yards, par 5. Odessa National’s Dale Loeslein describes this longish dogleg as a “picturesque risk and reward over water.” The hole features all carry on the tee shot, followed by a second shot with the water still very much in play. A Siren of beauty, but with her dangers as readily visible as they are irresistible.
No. 16 Bidermann, Wilmington, Del. 235 yards, par 3: “A natural aesthetic,” says course designer Allen Liddicoat, who particularly likes the way “the green sits on a knoll bringing all three vistas of sky, trees and ground into view simultaneously.”
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No. 16 Rum Pointe, Berlin, Md. 463 yards, par 4: Brandy, you’re a fine girl … A boat is permanently moored in a large bunker carved out of the beach running down the hole’s right side, adding a romantic maritime touch to this hole. “You’re looking at the Sinepuxent Bay the entire length of the hole,” says Buddy Sass, of Ocean City Golf Club. “Late in the day or early in the morning, the sun provides a golden hue that makes it almost impossible not to stop and take a look around you.”
No. 16 Broad Run Golfer’s Club, West Chester, Pa. 399 yards, par 4: Nothing left to the imagination. “From this elevated tee, you’re able to look out to virtually the entire course,” says Ingleside Golf Club’s Tim Kaufman.
No. 17 Wilmington Country Club (South Course), Wilmington, Del. 203 yards, par 3: Like Sophia Loren, maybe? White Manor’s Levine says this nifty par 3 tee shot over a pond “simply makes you go ‘ahhh,’ from the tee box.”
No. 17 White Manor Country Club, Malvern, Pa. 553 yards, par 5: Memorable décolletage? Radnor Valley’s George Foster describes this scenic downhill par 5 as “featuring breathtaking vistas that are on display the entire hole.” A walled pond guards the green and a creek runs down the entire right side of the fairway. Foster says these features “are in full view” the length of the hole, essentially giving this one an image that will stick with golfers long after the round is over.
No. 18 Baywood Greens, Long Neck, Del. 425 yards, par 4: Hooper’s Connor calls it one of the most beautiful in Delaware. “The flowers lining the hole and the clubhouse in the back-ground help make this one of the best looking.” With island tees, plenty of water and a backside green that looks like a beach, you can see why this easily made our list. Shelley Fabares singing “Johnny Angel”?
No. 18 Ocean Pines, Ocean Pines, Md. 415 yards, par 4: But don’t stare too long. Another one of those finishing holes that feature the course’s clubhouse in the background, Ocean City’s Sass believes it’s the hole’s physical beauty that also adds to its difficulty. “From the tee box, you face a 250-yard carry with a big old oak down the right side, that pushes you left and into more trouble.” But he adds, “with the treelined fairway and the water off in the distance toward the green,” don’t miss the opportunity to stop and take in the wonderful view.
No. 18 Rum Pointe, Berlin, Md. 444 yards, par 4: She’s just not that into you. “Water all down the left side of the hole, makes it hard to focus on your shot-making,” Sass says.
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No. 18 Moselem Springs Golf Club, Fleetwood, Pa. 456 yards, par 4: And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. Radnor’s Foster calls this “an old classic par 4, downhill from an elevated tee.” You hit short of the pond and then make your approach, allowing the golfer, according to Foster, to stop and take a moment, “especially in the fall when the leaves are changing.”
No. 18 Pine Valley, Clementon, N.J. 430 yards, par 4: Ingrid Bergman, please take a bow. Bayside Resort’s Bob Crowther likes the “raw beauty” of this world classic. “Penal, yet beautiful,” he notes, “the elevation of the green, the treelined fairway and the flag waving at the back of the hole,” is what Crowther remembers most of this classic, sort of the perennial Miss America entry?
No. 18 Stonewall (Old Course), Elverson, Pa., 451 yards, par 4: Is the ’Wall the Scandinavia of area tracks, or what? The 4th entry of this remarkable course, Edgemont’s Harry Heagy says this beauty offers “a very picturesque view of the old farmhouse-style club-house in the background and a pond in the foreground. “I don’t know,” says Heagy, “for some reason the hole always reminds me of the chateau scene in The Dirty Dozen.”
No. 18 Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, Md. 485 yards, par 4: Yeah, like Ann Margaret. White Clay’s Kidwell says the frame of the hole is where the beauty lies. “You tee off through a chute of trees with a big pond on the left and the clubhouse visible on a hill in the background.”
No. 19 Rehoboth Beach Country Club, Rehoboth Beach, Del. 147 yards, par 3: Belle of the Ball. Everybody’s sweetheart. The favorite of several of our pros, this “entry” is chosen simply for its location completely along the bay, according to Back Creek’s McGoarty. King’s Creek pro Kevin Wiest says the hole’s beauty is also contained in the wind that blows in from the bay, “which means you can play anything from a 3-iron to a 9-iron, depending on how it’s blowing. It’s a gorgeous hole.”