Merion Golf Club has a rich history as a champion golf course with 18 USGA Championships. It’s been ranked 7th on Golf Digest’s 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and takes the number 2 spot in the state of Pennsylvania.
When it comes to golf courses, Merion (East) is considered a masterpiece. Designed by Hugh Wilson, this course is limited to less than 120 acres but never feels short. In fact, it offers one of the most challenging golfing experiences in America.
This walking only course features bunkers known as the “white faces” — the first to have raised lips on the back side so they appear to be looking at the golfer as they approach.
Greenside bunkers beside the putting surface also feature deep, elevated lips which have built up from sand flying out of the bunker over time.
Walking Only Course with Time Limit
The Merion Golf Course is a walking-only course and the play guidelines require players to complete their round in four hours.
While this may sound impossible to some, another requirement which is strictly enforced is that players never take a mulligan. And the time restriction becomes part of the challenge.
Merion is also well-known for the wicker baskets on top of the flag sticks instead of flags. These baskets are red on the front nine, and orange on the back nine, and they offer no hint of wind direction or speed.
Hole number 17 is probably the most talked about hole on the Merion links, but it really is difficult to choose one hole to be the signature hold of the course.
While some claim the 18th hole should have the honor of the title because of its 1-iron approach shot made by Ben Hogan, the 17th hole at Merion is a long 220 yard, par 3, one-shotter which plays to a tiered green and a challenging slope at the front of the putting surface, which many think earns it the place as the signature hole.
While people talk about the 17th and 18th holes, there isn’t a bad hole on the entire course. Sloping greens, short holes that challenge golfers to flirt with trouble to make par, and features like tight tree shots will test your skills with excellent variety.
Golf doesn’t get any better than this.
Photo credits: Jamie Patton