Ever since Tigermania turned just about every sports fan into a follower of golf, people have been looking for places to knock it around. Joining a club is one possibility, but golfers who don’t want to pay that much need options—and there are options. Throughout the Main Line and Delaware, you’ll find plenty of public and semiprivate clubs. Here are 10 of the better courses anybody can play.
Deerfield Golf Club
Formerly a private course owned by the DuPont Corporation that opened to the public in 2014, Deerfield is the only Delaware layout on the premium Raspberry Golf Trail, which includes 13 clubs in four states. Part of White Clay Creek State Park and surrounded by forest, the 6,303-yard William Gordon-designed championship course is home to the University of Delaware women’s team and features a variety of “membership” options for those who want to play regularly. Deerfield offers discounted rates throughout the day, with fees dropping as the hours go on. The club’s Golf Academy provides both individual instruction and group lessons. The Junior Day Camp allows younger players to improve over the summer. Specials abound throughout the season—on the range, on the course and in the “classroom.”
Newark, Del., (302) 368-6640, www.deerfieldgolfclub.com.
Broad Run Golfer’s Club
Golfers looking for a historic venue should head to Broad Run, which sits on what was originally a 1700s farm. The stone wall that abuts the first tee was built with materials from the property’s former barn. Renowned designer Rees Jones created the layout, which extends 6,751 yards from the back tees and 6,080 up front. Broad Run has a robust program for juniors, including instruction and special rates, while adults who want to play regularly have a menu of options that include membership and special benefits. The club offers Wednesday-evening leagues that are open to all golfers, plus a Thursday-morning senior league.
West Chester, Pa., (610) 738-4410, www.broadrungc.com.
Honeybrook Golf Club
If a course is going to call itself “Pennsylvania’s Friendliest Golf Club,” it had better be pretty accommodating. Though semiprivate, Honeybrook offers all golfers a variety of playing options on a layout that’s far enough that it doesn’t get overused. The club has plenty of junior golf offerings, including after-school programs, camps, classes and individual lessons. Look for Family Fun Nights on Saturdays and Sundays May-September, featuring six holes of golf and ice cream. Family passes are also available. Beginning in April, women can take part in a program that helps them use golf to advance their business careers.
Honey Brook, Pa., (610) 273-0207, www.honeybrookgolf.com.
White Clay Creek Country Club at Delaware Park
This course wanders past White Clay Creek and offers a stout challenge for golfers, thanks to its 7,007-yard layout. White Clay has membership packages of all sorts, including ones for juniors and seniors age 62 and over. The club features half- and full-day youth camps, ladies’ clinics, and lessons for everyone from beginners to scratch golfers. There are many greens fee options—based on time of year, time of day and day of the week—so visit the website for the cost of a round.
Wilmington, Del., (302) 994-6700, www.whiteclaycreekgolfcourse.com.
Paxon Hollow Golf Club
â€‹Few courses have as rich and interesting a history as Paxon Hollow, which opened in 1926 as a private club and had various owners and operators. Almost named “Trout Run” after the stream that meanders through the course, Paxon Hollow became public in 1967 when Marple Township purchased it. Township residents get a $5 discount on greens fees, so a Tuesday-afternoon round would cost $37, including cart. Juniors play free with adults during twilight hours. There’s a variety of clinics and lessons, and the club offers nine-hole golf Monday-Thursday.
Broomall, Pa., (610) 353-0220, www.paxonhollowgolf.com.
The Golf Course at Glen Mills
Not only is this considered one of the best public courses in Pennsylvania, it’s also a training ground for students of the Glen Mills Schools. The court-adjudicated youth learn turf management, turf equipment repair, and golf course management as part of the school’s Career and Technical Education program. Net proceeds go to student programs and support. The course hosted a U.S. Open qualifier in 2006 and a U.S. Amateur qualifier in 2009. It plays to 6,646 yards from the tips and has received considerable acclaim for its design. Juniors are welcome, and all golfers can play nine-hole rounds.
Glen Mills, Pa., (610) 558-2142, www.glenmillsgolf.com.
Downingtown Country Club
It’s unlikely that movie star Mickey Rooney ever played a round at Downingtown, but for years he was the front man (and minor owner) in the Downingtown Motor Inn, which was built in the early 1960s. It debuted in 1967, and in April 2015, Ron Jaworski Golf acquired the club, which boasts a 6,642-yard layout designed by George Fazio. The course doesn’t have any dramatic features, billing itself as a “straightforward, fair test of golf.” Numerous membership options are available, from junior to senior, starter (ages 19-25) to young professional. One package allows access to all six Jaworski courses. Nine-hole rates are available, and juniors can walk for $20.
Downingtown, Pa., (610) 873-0800, www.golfdowningtown.com.
Jeffersonville Golf Club
â€‹When the list of top local courses is recited, Merion, Pine Valley and Aronimink golf clubs inevitably appear. But Jeffersonville deserves some consideration, due to its layout and tremendous value. Players can tour the 18 holes designed by Donald Ross in the 1920s for just $58—which led Golf Digest to name Jeffersonville one of the “25 Courses That Offer the Most Bang for Your Buck.” Built on an old steeplechase horse-racing loop, Jeffersonville is one of the best public courses in the state. Various season passes are available, as are greens fees based on age and time of day, plus lessons for adults and juniors.
Jeffersonville, Pa., (610) 539-0422, www.jeffersonvillegolfclub.org.
Rock Manor Golf Course
A recent redesign has added nearly 650 yards to this course, making the Lester George layout 6,405 yards. Among the other improvements are new tee boxes and greens, as well as an improved irrigation system. Rates are reasonable, especially after noon, and Rock Manor offers an app that provides GPS yardage readings, interactive scoring, and the ability to book tee times. The club also has a range of practice and lesson opportunities.
Wilmington, Del., (302) 295-1400, www.rockmanorgolf.com.
Turtle Creek Golf Course
Golfers won’t find playing conditions any better than those at Turtle Creek, which boasts some of the best grass anywhere. Golf Digest calls it “one of the best manicured courses in the area,” with “the best turf in the Northeast.” Opened in 1997, Turtle Creek sits on the Waltz Golf Farm, which features mini golf, a nine-hole layout and a driving range. The land itself was part of a William Penn grant from 1718. Rates are a little higher, but the excellent conditions make the cost worth it.
Limerick, Pa., (610) 489-5133, www.turtlecreekgolf.com.