If you happened to be a regular member of one of its most exclusive main line private clubs, then Philadelphia was everything it was meant to be in the fraternity know as G-O-L-F. For unattached, unaffiliated players, the venues were generally mere after thoughts in most cases. However, the many dozens of top-daily-fee golf courses have debuted on Philadelphia’s outskirts since the late 1990’s. A handful of the finest and kindest newcomers around the nations’ fifth largest city come to hear and see the excitement of a town for public golfers. If you can learn how to be a champion or a prized golf player in Philadelphia, you can learn how to play golf like an expert anywhere.
Forty minutes southwest of Philadelphia is a 175 year old school for the troubled you with the most bizarre study aid on its campus: a golf course. The Glen Mills School, a privately-funded educational facility for nearly 1,000 court-appointed, troubled and wayward teenage boys from around the nation, boasts of a golf course specifically created to serve as an outdoor vocational classroom.
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At the Glen Mill s Golf Course, across a road from its Victorian-era buildings, students learn landscape, maintenance, golf course management, agronomy and maintenance mechanics. John Vogts, the school’s superintendent, declares that the goal is to turn out technicians who can command respectable pay on the job market.
Built by Florida-based architect, Bobby Weed, the golf course layout is rugged, parkland –style design with a wilderness, rough-hewn feel. He felt that open fields, wetlands, streams and even forested uplands was considered
Relatively short for a golf course at 6,636 yards from the scratch tees, this golf course has plenty of teeth as it can’t be overpowered. Bobby Weed built almost 170 bunkers, many of them quite nasty, sod-faced pits modeled after those on the old course at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Shot placement and course management are all vital on the tumbling track where slippery greens interwoven with walebacks and troughs are the ultimate equalizer. Creeks, bunkers and trees defend the corners of the dogleg par fives while the five par threes, well-varied in length, and play downhill up hill and over water. At eight and twelve, there’s a pair “drivable” par fours although the penalty for a miscue is very severe. Weeds advice is to keep the ego in check to achieve the optimum score. As far as the conditioning at Glen Mills, many feel that it’s first rate.