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‘Oracle’ Pete Trenham reflects on seven decades of service to the game in the Philadelphia region and beyond.
When Jim Finegan was working on a book to commemorate the first 100 years of the Golf Association of Philadelphia, he was able to land Arnold Palmer to write the foreword. Palmer chronicled GAP’s rich history. The competitions. Some of the region’s top players. But he didn’t have anything about the many golf pros who devoted so much time and effort to growing the game and serving golfers throughout the Philadelphia area. “He said he didn’t have time to research them,” says Pete Trenham.
So Trenham did it for him.
It’s not like Trenham wouldn’t enjoy it. Since he was 10 years old, hanging around Mount Dora Golf Club in Florida, he’d ask questions about golf’s history and its players. Golf was his passion, and he loved learning more about it. “I would ask the old players questions,” he says. “I should’ve asked more.”
Trenham’s curiosity has grown and developed over the past seven-plus decades. Now 86, he’s one of the region’s foremost authorities on the game. He’s also a former golf professional, a championship player and a Philadelphia PGA Section Hall of Famer. Since the early 2000s, his website, trenhamgolfhistory.org, has offered a wellspring of information about golf in the Philadelphia region.
This past October, Trenham became the first-ever golf professional to receive GAP’s Distinguished Service Award. There are others in the area who’ve accomplished a lot in the service of golf, but Trenham’s resume stands out among everyone else’s. “We rely on him heavily,” says Tony Regina, GAP’s assistant communications director. “Anytime we need a historical nugget or a piece of information, we turn to Pete. He has a tremendous amount of information, and he’s chronicled it. If there’s any brain to pick—especially about the golf professionals in the area—we go to Pete. He’s an invaluable resource.”
Trenham has been a golf professional in Ohio, Reading and Ireland. But the core of his career was spent at St. Davids Golf Club in Wayne, where he was head pro for 29 years and remains the “oracle” for the club. Ten times a year, he writes an article for the St. Davids newsletter about its history. In 2022, he helped Joe Logue write a book about the history of the club, which began in 1927. If it’s happened in the Philadelphia-area golf world over the past century, Trenham has chronicled it in some way. “I think he just wants to bring to the forefront how much of a hotbed Philadelphia is on the golf landscape,” Regina says. “We have had a lot of accomplished players and professionals over the years.”
Trenham’s website chronicles more than 125 years of the game in this region. Its countless categories create a mosaic of golf’s greatest moments, key figures and award winners. It’s an invaluable resource for players, journalists, club officials and anyone else interested in the history of golf.
Trenham was the golf team captain at the University of Florida, graduating in 1958. Two years later, he was the assistant pro at Aurora Country Club in suburban Cleveland. In 1962, he took over as head pro at Philadelphia Country Club. Three years later, he began his 29-year stint at St. Davids. While there, he became a fixture in the Philadelphia PGA and served on each of its committees. He was its treasurer seven times and its president in 1988 and ’89.
Trenham was also an accomplished competitive golfer. He tied for second at the 1972 Philadelphia Open and won the PGA Senior Championship in 1994 and ’95. He also competed in the 1997 U.S. Senior Open. He still plays often. “My drives don’t go too far, but I’m fortunate to be in good health,” he says. “I can walk nine holes and carry my own bag.”
Trenham’s website chronicles more than 125 years of the game in this region. Its countless categories create a mosaic of golf’s greatest moments, key figures and award winners. It’s an invaluable resource for players, journalists, club officials and anyone else interested in the history of golf. His coverage is complete, and his willingness to provide information—free of charge—is a big reason why he received the Distinguished Service Award. “The honor is reflective of someone who has serviced the game of golf in Philadelphia,” Regina says. “Pete is a shining example of that, as a professional and as someone who promotes golf’s history.”
For members at St. Davids, Trenham remains a fixture, as does his son, Mike. “The Trenham name is synonymous with St. Davids Golf Club and its history,” says Mark Mayock, a member there for 12 years. “From Pete being the longtime pro to Mike still walking the fairways and working the grill room to Pete showing up to play now and again—not to mention the incredible amount of research Pete has done to uncover and preserve St. Davids’ history, the body of work is amazing.”