From now until next spring, I have simple requirements to schlep clubs to nearby or getaway golf courses. The temperature has to be north of 50 degrees with calm winds and a hint of sunshine. Beginning in November many area courses are offering deep discounts over their published rates. So, as a few of us retirees with KYW-Newsradio ties get together to play when fall begins to morph into winter, here are the likely choices. – Jay Lloyd
1921 Ludwig Rd.
Gilbertsville, PA 19525
Open space is alive and well in northwestern Montgomery County. That means golf courses can thrive. At Hickory Valley you'll find two-18 hole courses, each with their own unique characteristics. Both are fun to play. The Ambassador course offers the challenge of a few tighter holes on the front nine. The Presidential, while generally more challenging combines expansive fairways with scenic but ball-drowning water hazards for the casual player.
READING COUNTRY CLUB
5311 Perkiomen Avenue
Reading, PA 19606
Once the home turf of railroad barons and Reading industrialists, this once exclusive club is now owned by Exeter Township and operated as a public course with a private course environment. It's a scenic layout that takes you through wooded terrain, crisscrossed by flowing streams. The course offers the challenge you would expect from its historical roots while maintaining fees at a reasonable level. The restaurant and lounge is a prime stop for a 19th hole lunch and toddy. The eatery is undergoing renovations, but will be re-opening on November 16th.
MACOBY RUN GOLF COURSE
Green Lane, PA 18054
Macoby Run is the kind of laid back course that reflects the family operated nature of its setting. It's clear that everyone seems to know everybody else. You'll notice a strong local following for its well maintained fairways and pristine setting The Macoby Creek and changing elevations provide a scenic backdrop and the challenge. Rates are on the low end of reasonable and special deals are often available. Ask. The Wetlands Bar and Restaurant is comfortable stop here after a round. The course is accessed right off route 29 at Green Lane.
CENTER SQUARE GOLF CLUB
2620 Skippack Pike
Norristown, PA 19403
Center Square gives me only one opportunity to deep six a ball. I like that. The single water hazard is on the 18th hole and the vision of a cold beer ahead at their Champs Sports Bar takes the edge out of driving across the pond. The fairways are wide and forgiving. Changing elevations and rolling terrain provide unique challenges. Last week the fairways and greens were in top-notch conditions and the fall colors offered a brilliant backdrop. Winter rates are now in effect and posted on the Center Square web page. After a round, Champs scores with an extensive menu and good beer selection. The fried chicken basket was a lure.
CARROLL VALLEY GOLF COURSE
78 Country Club Trail
Fairfield, PA 17320
If you're planning a 2 or 3 day golfing getaway, the Carroll Valley Golf Course is nestled at the base of Liberty Mountain Ski Area, about 15 miles outside of Gettysburg. In early winter and early spring, it's not unusual to see visitors on the mountain, skiing in the morning and then golfing down below in the midday sun. It's a course with varied degrees of challenge and a spectacular mountain backdrop. Open, expansive fairways give way to wooded settings, rising elevations and rushing streams. A hotel and a trio of eateries is part of the Liberty Mountain/Carroll Valley complex. Packages are available that include golf, lodging and meals. It's about a 2-1/2 hour drive from the Philadelphia suburbs.
Note: Many courses do not have winter rater posted on their web sites. Ask about them when you book a tee time. It's a good idea to dress in layers at this time of year, especially at mountain resort golf courses. Temperatures can be downright chilly in the early morning, but rise with the sun.
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