Feature: Above Par: The Best Courses

Merion and Pine Valley grab all the headlines, but the truth is, there’s a lot of great golf — and folks who teach it — all around Philly. As TY WENGER roams fairways far and wide in search of the top 10 area courses, LUKE SIRINIDES tees up the 25 best local instructors. Fore!

Location: Pine Valley
Access: Private
Opened: 1921
Designers: George Crump and Harry Colt
Yardage: 7,009
Par: 70
Slope: 155
Contact: 856-783-3000

Some things in life don’t need to be improved: Sunsets. Puppies. The Pine Valley Golf Club. Thus, Pine Valley tops our list, as a reward for the fact that it has done … absolutely nothing. Why alter a blade of grass on a course that has consistently been rated the finest (and among the hardest) in the world? It’s all here: the immaculate greens, the astonishing variety of architectural challenges, the perilous islands of fairway, the surfeit of sandy hazards bearing such monikers as “Hell’s Half Acre” and “Devil’s Asshole.”

About the only thing new is that women are now allowed, at select times, to play the course. (Welcome to the 1910s.) Still, unless they, or you, can cozy up to one of the course’s lucky local members (there are said to be around 350), none of you will ever play here. You can, though, roam the grounds during the annual amateur Crump Memorial Tournament (this year on September 25th-28th), the one time each year the gates are open to riffraff such as you. But sorry: no cameras allowed.