Bayside Resort Golf Club, Fenwick Island, Del.
A signature hole reaches up and grabs you. It’s the one front and center on the cover of the scorecard. It’s the one you mentally play in your head, lying in bed the night before. It’s the one where you remember every birdie and curse every bogey. It’s beauty, intrigue, exasperation, risk and reward.
All that in mind, we asked area golf pros to share their courses’ signature holes.
Wild Quail Golf and Country Club, Wyoming, Del.
Our signature hole is a 160-yard par 3 with a beautiful pond that spans from the tee box to the approach area of the green. It’s a wonderful view, with all the nature that surrounds the pond. At the same time, it’s a challenging golf shot.
—Rick McCall Jr.
St. Davids Golf Club
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St. Davids Golf Club, Wayne, Pa.
It’s 404 yards from the member tees and a pretty severe dogleg to the left. With a new tee built several years ago and some selective tree removal, the hole now provides some options off the tee for players to play to the dogleg and have a longer shot to the green, or they can risk it and try to turn their tee shots around the corner, avoiding the tree line and bordering out of bounds, for a much shorter approach. Due to the severity of the green that slopes from back to front, the shorter approach shot allows players to control their shots and play to a safe part of the green. From the longer distance, when laying back off the tee, any shot on the green is a well-played one, but can easily leave the player in a difficult position to get down in two.
Deerfield Golf Club, Newark, Del.
The 10th tee showcases the dramatic elevation changes that are indicative of the course. The lake on the left of the fairway is blind from the tee, creating a true risk-reward shot for any golfer who takes an aggressive line. The second shot will call for an accurate lay-up to the left side of the fairway to leave you with a straightforward approach. Any putt above the hole will require a steady putting stroke. The 10th at Deerfield has both characteristics of a good signature hole: a view that you remember, and a hole that is fair but challenging.
Applecross Country Club, Downingtown, Pa.
It’s a reachable par 5, playing 512 yards. With ample landing area off the tee, the real question that the longer hitters face is whether or not they’ll hit it through the fairway, requiring an approach shot from the rough. The fairway runs out at 280 yards, and it’s bunkered left and centered beginning at 260 yards on the left and 285 yards in the center. The perfect tee shot would be 260-270 yards off the tee anywhere in the fairway. The approach shot should be a 5- to 7- iron from there, leaving you a short wedge to the green. Once on the green, navigating the subtle but treacherous undulations will be a test.
West Chester Golf and Country Club, West Chester, Pa.
One of the best par 3s in the region, our seventh hole can play anywhere from 115 yards to over 190 yards from three separate teeing areas that create different angles to the green, which is well defended by deep bunkers on the left and right. Putting is always challenging on this large, sloping green that features a false front. If you get a little too bold with the front-right pin position, you could find yourself with a 20-yard chip back up the hill.
Turtle Creek Golf Club
Turtle Creek Golf Course, Limerick, Pa.
This par 5 presents a challenge for both high and low handicappers alike. Ball position for the approach shot to the green is the determining factor. For a single-digit handicap, a golfer who can fire a drive 280 yards or farther, a well-struck 250-yard fairway wood presents an opportunity to putt for eagle. For the majority of the field, it is critical to place the second shot 135-150 yards out on the level crest of the hill overlooking the pond. Either way, executing the over-the-water approach shot to the green is a satisfying way to finish your round.
Baywood Greens, Long Neck, Del.
This island-fairway hole gives you two options for how to play it. You can go the hard way up the middle with a tee shot to an island fairway, or you can go the easier way down the right side that is a long dogleg left. The green is protected on both sides by two bunkers. Add in the views of the bridge with beautiful landscaping, and you will know instantly why this is our signature hole.
Moselem Springs Golf Club, Fleetwood, Pa.
Our 18th is a classic. The breathtaking view standing on the tee, with the clubhouse in the background, is a great way to end the round. The hole plays 456 yards long from the back tee. From this elevated tee, a solid drive is required to reach the fairway.
The second shot must travel over the pond and avoid the water to the right of the green. Long hitters can reach the pond with a drive of 290-plus yards, and laying up with a 3-wood or hybrid works fine. This, however, leaves a longer shot into the green. Shorter hitters are laying up left of the pond and wedging into this green. The crystal-clear stream to the right of the green is home to many native rainbow and brown trout and a few golf balls.
Bayside Resort Golf Club, Fenwick Island, Del.
Our par 3 13th plays with five sets of tees, ranging from 174 to 99 yards, with an elevated green surrounded by bunkers. Due to the trees and marsh that border the hole, the wind is always swirling, which makes club selection tricky. Nature is evident everywhere you look on this hole and, combined with Jack Nicklaus’ signature deep-face bunkers, all that is what makes it our signature hole.
Downingtown Country Club
Downingtown Country Club, Downingtown, Pa.
The 12th is a beautiful par 3, which requires a shot over water to a well-bunkered green. This hole can play 120 yards from the front tees and all the way up to 175 yards from the back tees. Wind can be a huge factor on this hole, so club selection is key. It’s a favorite of our players and also a prime spot for pictures for our wedding guests.
Phoenixville Country Club
Phoenixville Country Club, Phoenixville, Pa.
Over the years, our members have named this hole “Looks Easy.” This drop-down par 3 plays 136 yards, with a 40-foot elevation drop. The left side of the green is your target, as the ball will release down the slope to the right fringe. This hole does look easy, but it’s not. This planar green slopes from left to right and front to back. Any shot from the left of the green is very difficult. Make sure you get the ball below the hole from the left to minimize the damage. Lots of big numbers are made on this hole, if you try to get cute. Some members call it the shortest par 5 in Chester County.
Stonewall (Old Course), Elverson, Pa.
The tee shot starts with a sense of anticipation and crescendos as you reach the top of the hill, where a view of an old dairy farm meets your eye. Tom Doak did a wonderful job designing the green to be receptive to multiple shots. The second shot is downhill, with a green that slopes left to right and favors a fader of the ball, but it can also be played with a lower- running shot or a high draw, if the player wants to stop the ball.
Heritage Shores Golf Club, Bridgeville, Del.
It’s a diabolical par 5 from the tee to the green. The hole plays 578 yards from the back tees. You want to hug the left side of the fairway with the tee shot to set up the second shot, but be careful. That side is guarded with a water hazard. Players bailing out to the right will risk a poor angle for their second shot and the possibility of finding a deep fairway bunker. From there, it’s decision time. You can lay up short of the hazard that splits the fairway, leaving an approach of 135-150 yards. The longer hitter can choose to go for it, but the hazard also winds around the right side of the approach fairway and green. The approach shot is hit into a sliver of a green, in which the front half slopes toward the golfer and the back half slopes away from the golfer. The difficulty of this hole makes it stand out, and par is always a great score.
Applebrook Golf Club, Malvern, Pa.
One of our most intriguing holes is the third, which is a short par 4 at just 310 yards. It offers the player a wide variety of options off the tee, including driving the green, but also puts an emphasis on having a strategic plan before beginning play of the hole. Someone attempting to reach the green with their drive faces a difficult up and down if not successful, and they can just as easily end up with a bogey as a birdie, as trouble lurks around the green—the putting surface is deceptive in both slope and speed. If choosing to lay up off the tee, you must negotiate the pot bunker in the middle of the fairway, as well as the bunker guarding the right side of the fairway, in order to set up an ideal short approach shot to the green and a chance at birdie.
Radnor Valley Country Club, Villanova, Pa.
This one’s a monster straight- away par 4 at 453 yards. Standing on the elevated tee affords the golfer of a gorgeous view of the entire hole. Reaching this extremely undulating green in two shots is a rarity. Once on the green the challenge isn’t over, as this green slopes severely from back to front and right to left. Walking away with par will make even a professional happy.
Honeybrook Golf Club, Honey Brook, Pa.
It’s a long par 5 that measures 561 yards from the back tees. What makes it unique is the Amish farm that spans the majority of the left-hand side. Occasionally, you will even get the privilege of herding an escaped horse or two back into the field. Long hitters can get close in two
shots. But, for the average handicap, it’s a three-shot approach. The green is surrounded on the left and back by protected wetlands as well. Don’t leave your approach above the hole, or you will run the risk of a three-putt.
White Manor Country Club, Malvern, Pa.
White Manor’s signature is the eighth, both for its beauty and its challenge. It’s only 165 yards, but the water surrounding the front and left of the green, combined with a devilish bunker to the right of the green, makes for a stern test of nerves and shot-making skill. Par on this hole is a very good score.
Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.
Finishing Stretch Holes 14-18
Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.
We have a few signature holes at Merion that always vie for the notoriety, but I must say that the “Back Five” (14-18), as a collective, trump any individual hole.
Moccasin Run Golf Club, Atglen, Pa.
Our signature hole is a dogleg right. From the blue tees, you hit your tee shot 200-240 yards, and you are perfect. You’ll have around 150-yard shot to the center of the green. It is important that you are in the fairway because your second shot is all carry over water to the green with a bunker surrounding the back of the green.
Garrisons Lake Golf Club, Smyrna, Del.
It can play to a distance ranging from 160 yards to well over 200 yards from the tips. Conquering the hole requires a long, accurate tee shot over a water hazard, late in the round. It provides the biggest challenge on the layout and can often make or break a round. The true challenge is the undulations on which the pin can reside in many precarious spots.
Mainland Golf Course, Mainland, Pa.
With our par-5, 521-yard severe dogleg right from the back tees, you’re forced to lay up on the second shot to get around the bend. Hit it too far (or straight), and you’re blocked by trees or rolled out of bounds. The third shot is 100-150 yards to a small green, which can often catch a downhill lie.
From Left: Hole 7 on Wissahickon Course, Hole 3 on Militia Hill Course.
Hole 7 on Wissahickon Course, Hole 3 on Militia Hill Course
Philadelphia Cricket Club, Flourtown, Pa.
The seventh at Wissahickon is one of the most talked-about holes since our restoration in 2013-14, mainly because a “hell’s half-acre” feature, something architect A.W. Tillinghast was known for, was put back in after years of it being missing. The result is a soft double dogleg, with the second shot having to clear the 13 bunkers that make up HHA.
At Militia Hill, the third hole is a reachable par 5 that wraps around a beautiful pond to a green that’s tucked at the base of old limestone quarry walls. A great drive to a narrow landing area almost always means an attempt to hit the green in two; of course, a mediocre drive can turn into a big number. In events we host that have lots of great players, it’s not uncommon to see every score, from a 3 to an 8, recorded here—a testament to its quality and challenge.
White Clay Creek Country Club, Wilmington, Del.
We have a few signature-worthy moments here—Holes 9 and 11 are in the running—but 17 is the most photogenic, with just enough challenge to make it interesting. It plays only 150-180 yards from elevated tee boxes to a green that slopes right to left, with water defending the left-hand side. The hole sits in an amphitheater-type bowl, and players looking to make up some ground can make birdie here. But if the pin is back left and you don’t navigate the water correctly, the easiest (and prettiest) hole on the course could cost you a stroke or two.
Hartefeld National Golf Club
Hartefeld National Golf Club, Avondale, Pa.
Our sixth hole could be one where you lose a ball or two. Featuring the only water hazard on the course, it’s an uphill, 153-yard par 3 challenge and the most photogenic of our layout, with the clubhouse perched above the green. The undulating putting surface makes for a tough par or birdie here, even if you find the green with your tee shot. If players aren’t careful, this visually stunning hole could become a bogey.
Radley Run Country Club, West Chester, Pa.
The 18th is one of the toughest finishing holes in the Philadelphia area—and it just got a little tougher. Measuring 432 from the White tees and 441 from the Championship tees, this hole plays longer since it is uphill from the tee to the green. Your drive is framed by a fairway bunker on the left side and mounds on the right. The fairway slopes slightly left-to-right in the landing area. Challenging the bunker requires a very long and accurate drive. The green is protected on the right side by an extremely deep bunker.
Concord Country Club, West Chester, Pa.
It’s a long par 4—434 yards from the black tees, which requires a strong tee shot to make it to the bottom of the fairway, where a creek bisects it. A downhill approach shot to an uphill green makes it that much more difficult, especially with the swirling winds around the green complex.
Back Creek Golf Club, Middletown, Del.
This hole plays at 500 yards for most players (470 for seniors) and has a body of water beginning in front of the tee box and continuing down the left side of the fairway until about 150 yards from the pin. It’s a challenging hole, with a beautiful rolling fairway that will test your power and accuracy. It rewards you with a forgiving green to finish out your hole.