Monday, July 27, 2009

Tournament Time - Philadelphia Country Club Flynn

As a COF (Certified Old Fart in the golf world that's over 55), one gets to play Senior Amateur events. Occasionally you get a dog but you sometimes get real nuggets. Best of the year will be Philadelphia CC and CC of Scranton with not-so-bad at all Galloway National and a notch below to Huntsville.

Philadelphia CC is a Flynn course, one of many in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania. Many of the greens were modified (for the better) by Perry Maxwell, a good example being the current first in which several pimples are added to a Flynn potato chip green. Flynn's original routing was such that the current third, a really wonderful mid-length to long par 5 was the famous 18th that Sam Snead chopped up to lose his first USGA Open and perhaps set the tone for the future Opens that he outright lost or gave away. The remains of the old clubhouse are still there and the current 18th hole was greatly altered to allow construction of a functional but unattractive new clubhouse. The Gordons, who never learned a single thing from Flynn, were responsible for the anticlimactic sore thumb that is now there.

I think Philadelphia CC stands out as the best design or at least my choice as best design of Flynn in the area. Along with my home course Lehigh CC, and not being a homer I promise, there are notable problems with all the other Flynn designs well-known to top 100 seekers. Philadelphia has a wonderful set of threes including the severely uphill 15th which requires a wooden type club from most players, two redan variants and a lovely dropshot hole over and around a creek.

The par 5 third is where Sam met his Waterloo, trying to make a birdie when a six would do, he wound up with the proverbial snowman. The par 5 sixth played as a par 4 of basically 500 yards for the Penna Golf Association Amateur two years ago, we'll see what happens as a par 5 of 492. Byron Nelson's famous holed 1-iron for eagle to win that 1938 Open that Mr. Snead lost was on the hole that is now 17. Biggest problem there is that you have to cut your high-tech tee shot to keep in the fairway.

Lots of interesting architecture and history are at the Philadelphia CC and it is always a joy to play. There are uphill, sidehill, downhill and perfectly flat holes of character, and yes even the 18th isn't a bad hole, it just a Gordon, not a Flynn. It shows by just not being as remarkable.

You can find it all in the link below

Live Scoring

Well, Philadelphia is in the books and I actually had a chance to win with five to go. Never won a real important tournament and I'm trying before I fall apart completely. I tried not to think of it, but I did and loosely putted my way to equal ninth. First top 10 anyway, believe me with all that talk you hear o you have to get there to try and fail before you can do it, it's true. I really cruised, calm and cool, no muss no fuss, just golf shots and fun. After a birdie on 13 and going to level par, I knew no one had torn it up. I made a conscious attempt to not look at the scoreboard on the teeminders cart. Seeing the cart I thought about it and instinctively knew one birdie might do it and two would. I did make a near birdie on the very difficult par three 15th, nearly holing a very makeable bunker shot. 1-under was indeed the winner, our local BMW dealer Gary Daniels, of SVCC. He has qualified for the USGA Senior Open in 2000 when it was at his home course, so not getting to Gary was not in itself a disappointment and I beat about 10 guys I really wanted to. I'm still very happy with what happened and especially because it was fun. Anyone can zip around in a cart and shoot 72 at their club and say "I left 8 shots out there" but there's something to be said for really getting it done. I'm maybe bragging, yeah, but I'm overcoming a couple of things that could have ended my golf and I am limited to how I can do it, but mostly I enjoyed it and that's the most satisfying.

Big thanks to Susan, my teacher.

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