HUNTINGDON VALLEY CC
Course Architect: William S. Flynn (1928)
Year Opened: 1897
Location: Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
Slope: 132. Rating: 73.5
Yardage: 6,936 TOOMEY FLYNN
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 385 Yds 1 - Par 4 400 Yds
2 - Par 4 447 Yds 2 - Par 4 372 Yds
3 - Par 3 233 Yds 3 - Par 4 404 Yds
4 - Par 4 366 Yds 4 - Par 3 184 Yds
5 - Par 3 184 Yds 5 - Par 4 467 Yds
6 - Par 4 450 Yds 6 - Par 5 571 Yds
7 - Par 5 556 Yds 7 - Par 4 400 Yds
8 - Par 4 412 Yds 8 - Par 3 211 Yds
9 - Par 4 460 Yds 9 - Par 4 434 Yds
Par 35 3,493 Yds Par 35 3,443 Yds
Key Events Held: Lynnewood Hall Challenge Cup (1901-39, 1982-present),
Pennsylvania Amateur (1909, 1911, 1923, 1939, 1964, 1975,
1984, 1995, 2005),
Pennsylvania Open Championship (1923),
Pennsylvania Senior Amateur Championship (1966, 1971, 1978,
Mason-Dixon Matches (2001),
GAP Tournament of Champions (2005).
Awards Won: Ranked 6th by Golf Digest - Best in State (PA) (2005-08),
Platinum Clubs of America (2014-16).
HISTORY: Although the present site of Huntingdon Valley Country Club dates
back to 1928, the golf course originally got its start in 1897, the first such
club formed exclusively for golf in the region. In fact, HVCC was one of the
first five clubs in the area to join the Golf Association of Philadelphia in
Scottish professional John Reid laid out the original nine holes in a location
just a few miles from the present site. Most historians credit Reid for
bringing the game of golf to the United States, and he was one of the founding
members of the oldest, continuously existing golf club in America, Saint
Andrew's Golf Club in New York.
The club grew in stature quite rapidly and its hierarchy included such local
heavyweights as Elkins, Wanamaker and Widener. With the influx of members, an
additional nine was laid out and Huntingdon Valley became one of the longest
courses in the country for its time, 6,326 yards and a par of 77.
The Lynnewood Hall Challenge Cup, held annually at Huntingdon Valley, became
one of the United States' most popular amateur events. In fact, it's the
second oldest amateur competition in the country behind only the U.S. Amateur
Championship. A proverbial who's who of amateur champions have captured this
coveted title, such as Walter Travis, Jerome Travers, William Hyndman III, O.
Gordon Brewer, David Eger and Jay Sigel.
In the fall of 1909, the first Amateur Championship of Pennsylvania was held
at HVCC. The format was 36 holes of qualifying, and the top 16 advancing to
match play. Local player H.B. McFarland won the qualifying Gold Medal with a
161 total and then defeated celebrated course architect A.W. Tillinghast of
Philadelphia Cricket Club, 8 & 6 in the final match.
Sigel, the 1975 PA amateur champion, won the fourth of his five consecutive
Pennsylvania Amateurs by three shots at HVCC. Sigel, from nearby Bryn Mawr,
PA, captured many local and national amateur events, including back-to-back
U.S. Amateur titles, and was a nine-time member and two-time captain of the
Walker Cup. Currently playing on the Champions Tour, Sigel is an eight-
time champion on the senior circuit.
Local legend and member O. Gordon Brewer Jr, won the 1984 PA amateur at his
home course, the second of his three titles. Brewer is a two-time USGA Senior
Amateur champion and captained the USA Team at the World Amateur Team
Championship in 2002. Brewer also served as president of HVCC and was a seven-
time club champion.
With increased growth in the area, the powers that be at Huntingdon Valley
decided to move to a new location and enlist the firm of Toomey and Flynn to
design a 27-hole layout. William S. Flynn, who helped finish Pine Valley after
the death of George Crump and collaborated with Hugh Wilson on the completion
of the East Course at Merion, is responsible for such great layouts as
Shinnecock Hills, Cherry Hills and The Country Club.
So in 1927-28, Flynn was given a tract of land that was part of the estate of
W.W. Frazier, the club's first president and a Civil War veteran. The property
encompassed 300 acres with thoughts of creating the finest course in the
region, along with clubhouse facilities and 2-to-5 acre lots for housing the
wealthy and wise.
The newspapers tabbed Huntingdon Valley as a "Super Course," as it opened for
play in '28. With the Stock Market crash, the Depression and the passing of
George Frazier, son of the founding father, HVCC needed to make some strategic
changes. Due to the strenuous economic times, the club decided to maintain two
of the three nines and thus the Centennial or "C" nine was left for periodic
upkeep. Eventually, this was dropped due to the gas rationing of World War II.
Fast forward 50 years and the clubs decision to restore the third nine. It
wasn't an easy process, as a forest of trees and underbrush had almost
destroyed the property. It took restoration specialist Ron Prichard and
superintendent Scott Anderson and their teams two years, but in 1998, the club
re-opened the Centennial holes, the longest of the three routings at 3,618
yards and a par of 35.
Part of the tradition at HVCC is head professional Jack Connelly. After
joining the staff in 1973, Connelly was elevated to head professional just two
years later. A former PGA of America past president and captain of the 2003
PGA Cup and 2006 Junior Ryder Cup teams, Connelly competed briefly on the PGA
Tour (1972) and played in the 1975 U.S. Open. Inducted into the Philadelphia
PGA Section Hall of Fame, Connelly has dedicated his life to the club and the
region and is one of the nation's most respected professionals.
"When you stand on the first tee, you can see seven or eight different holes,"
said Connelly. "To my knowledge you don't have that kind of vista anywhere
else. Every morning you come in, you look at that great view and it puts you
in a good mood. I'm very appreciative to have that opportunity to enjoy it
every single day."
With over 100 seasons under its belt, Huntingdon Valley Country Club remains
at the forefront of golf in the Philadelphia area and the Northeast region.
REVIEW: TOOMEY NINE: The opening hole at Huntingdon Valley is one of just
three par fours
under 400 yards. Fairly straightaway, the fairway slants hard from right to
left, making it difficult to land your ball in the short grass. Playing
downhill from the tee, you'll be left with a short iron approach to a large
green guarded on both sides by sand. Play below the hole for your best shot at
birdie and avoid missing long and left.
Nine par fours over 400 yards and the second is one of the more difficult of
the bunch. Slightly uphill, the tee shot needs to be played right to left to
accommodate the fairway and avoiding the tall, thick trees down the left. A
medium to long iron remains to a long and well-guarded green. It comes as no
surprise that this is the No. 1 handicap hole on the Toomey nine.
At 233 yards, the third is the longest par-three on the course. You'll need a
fairway metal or hybrid to reach one of the lengthiest greens at HVCC. Two
bunkers right and one deep trap left make this hole one of the hardest to hit
in regulation. Make par here and you're stealing one from the field.
From an elevated tee, the fourth swings to the left as you tee off through a
chute of trees. The fairway, although generous is flanked on the left by a
series of bunkers. A short iron should suffice to reach the bunker-laden
green. This putting surface is long and narrow, making your distance control
of utmost importance.
The second great par-three on the Toomey nine is the 184-yard fifth. With a
creek diagonally cutting across in front of the green, this one-shotter is
hard to attack. Four strategically placed bunkers blanket the green, one of
the longest putting surfaces on the course. With the wind in your face and the
pin back-right, play for the center of the green, two-putt and move on or
you'll end up with double-bogey.
The rolling par four sixth is not to be taken lightly. At 450 yards, you'll
need to bang two big shots to get home. Your tee ball needs to climb over the
crest in the fairway as it heads down towards the landing area. A medium to
long iron will be needed to reach the back-to-front sloping green. A large
trap guards the left side of the putting surface, which can make for a
difficult up and down.
Only one par five on the front side, and the seventh is a beaute. Playing
downhill towards the green, this 556-yarder requires two huge pokes to reach
the putting surface in two, not to mention some guts. The roller-coaster
fairway tightens as you get closer to the promised land. That's where it gets
tricky, as three bunkers guard the entrance to the green and one large trap
stands tall to the left. Laying up short of the green, will leave an uphill
pitch to a fairly small and quiet surface. This hole can be had if you keep
yourself in position.
The eighth hole is depicted as one of the easier holes on the course, but
don't be lulled into a false sense of security. It's anything but. Uphill from
the tee box, the hole and fairway bends sharply to the left, with thick rough
and trees flanking both sides through the green. Take an extra club for your
approach or you'll end up short and in the sand. The green slopes hard from
back to front, so try and stay below the hole or a three-putt will be in the
cards. Could be the hardest 412-yard hole around.
If you haven't figured out how the course got its name, then it certainly will
become quite evident on the ninth box. Your downhill tee shot is played toward
the valley, which cuts through the entire course. A creek at the base of the
fairway is over 300 yards away, so take the driver out and favor the left side
to leave the best angle to the elevated green. An extra club will be needed to
get home and depending upon pin placement, maybe a club and a half. A steep
slope and sand guard the front of the two-tiered putting surface, which could
be one of the most difficult on the course. A par here goes a long way on the
FLYNN NINE: From an elevated tee box, the 1st hole on the Flynn nine runs
alongside the ninth of the Toomey and plays
back up the hill following your tee shot. A successful blast will clear the
creek and reach the fairway, however your approach will be uphill to a very
long and well-guarded green. Take at least one extra stick to get home, two if
the pin is back. Two deep bunkers cover the front of the putting surface,
while two lay in waiting in the rear. The 400 yards on the scorecard is quite
The final par four on the course under 400 yards, the 2nd, can play very
tricky, especially if your tee shot misses the fairway. Playing back down
towards the valley, you must favor the right side of the landing area, thus
leaving a clear shot to the putting surface. Just a short iron should remain
to a green fronted by a creek and guarded on the right by three little traps
and left by tall, slightly overhanging trees. One of your final chances on the
back nine to make birdie.
A classic par four, the third plays slightly uphill and usually into the wind.
The creek once again can come into play, especially with the elements acting
up, since it fronts the start of the fairway. A medium iron remains to another
long and narrow putting surface with sand left and right. The length of this
green can force a club change from seven- to five-iron.
The first of two back-nine par threes, the fourth plays ever-so-slightly
downhill to a putting surface fronted by a pond and featuring three traps on
the remaining sides. No tricks here, everything is right in front of you, so
err long or you're wet!
The longest par four at Huntingdon Valley, the fifth is a 467-yard bear that
plays directly into the westerly wind and uphill from the fairway. The sloping
fairway can play havoc with your second shot, as you will most likely have an
uneven lie for the approach. To the right of the green are two deep bunkers
that must be avoided. The putting surface falls sharp in the front and bends
to the right. Play to the left and coax your birdie attempt towards the hole.
Par on the No. 1 handicap hole on the Flynn nine is always a good number in my
From the longest par four to the longest par five on the Flynn nine. For most
mortals, the 571-yarder is a true three-shotter, doglegging to the right. This
monster features a rolling fairway, with bunkers strategically placed along
the corridor towards the green. The putting surface is fairly simple, but
you'll need to be spot on with your wedge to make birdie. P.S. Do not miss
long, it's jail behind the green.
The seventh ranks as the only ho-hum hole on the course. A dogleg left par-
four of 400 yards, this hole features trees down the left, a sloping left to
right fairway and rough on the right. Your approach is slightly uphill to a
very accessible putting surface. The trouble here is missing the green right
and long. Think three-metal and short iron and you could make three.
The closing two holes on the Flynn nine are among my favorites in the region.
Seventeen (8th) is a rock-solid, 211-yard par-three, featuring the meandering
creek, a pair of traps and a very undulating green. The elevated tee box might
cut off a half a club, but it will need to be struck crisply to get home.
Attacking a back-left pin could ruin your day.
What do you get with a dogleg right, uphill par-four that features a 40-yard
plus putting surface? A heart attack. That's what awaits on the closing hole.
Trees guard both sides of the fairway, not to mention three diabolical bunkers
at the corner of the dogleg. But that is the play. Even with a successful
shot, your approach is straight uphill, so take two extra sticks, or you're
second will come back down the hill or worse, find one of the deep bunkers.
FINAL WORD: Trust. Belief in your game.
Two things you must possess to have any attempt to conquer The Valley.
Does anyone really master Huntingdon Valley Country Club? I think not. I'm
sure over the years people have shot some decent scores at HVCC, but with a
slope of 132 and rating of 73.5, they're most likely few and far between.
Huntingdon Valley Country Club is the premier club in the region and one of
the top layouts in Pennsylvania. No it's not Merion, but it's very close,
rivaling other great regional layouts like Aronimink, Philadelphia Country
Club, Rolling Green and Saucon Valley. "The golf course and the experience you
have on the golf course is probably second to none, except maybe Merion,"
With such a storied history, it's hard not to place Huntingdon Valley on top
of the list (currently sixth in PA), but it's the golf course that knocks it
out of the park. The Toomey and Flynn nines have stood the test of time and
with the resurgence of the Centennial route, this 27-hole tract is a
Not only is HVCC aesthetically beautiful, but it's one difficult layout. Thick
rough, deep bunkers, challenging par 3s, robust par 5s and some of the
slickest and undulating greens you'll ever want to three-putt. Hardly, but you
get the picture. To be above the hole on any of these greens or to short-side
yourself, is to commit golf suicide.
Huntingdon Valley is quite unique, especially when it comes to irrigation.
"Because of the conditions, which is "Brown-and-Down" if you will, we don't
water a lot, since our root structure is the most sound of any course in the
area," continued Connelly. "So when you play Huntingdon Valley, besides the
contours of the valley, you have to play some different type shots. It starts
on the first hole. Try and keep your ball in the fairway and then try and hold
Immaculate conditioning, first-class amenities, a stately and classic
clubhouse and a warm and accommodating staff, featuring one of the most
respected head professionals in the country, what more could one ask for. In a
HVCC has made plenty of aesthetic changes over the years, but none more
important than the removal of trees. "When I first started, there was a
premium on growing trees," commented Connelly. "The trend right now is to
remove some trees. We have made some great improvements to the golf course in
making it user-friendly for the members. You're now able to see more of the
valley, more of what it used to look like in 1928."
The property is different than most in the region, as the course filters
towards the valley and the stream that runs through the land is featured on
many holes. Continuing to change with the environment, Huntingdon Valley has
not stopped tinkering. "We have softened some of the edges to the creek so
that it doesn't deteriorate the existing banks," added Connelly. "It's an
ongoing process and Scott Anderson, our superintendent, who does a wonderful
job, has done some aesthetic work throughout the years and that will continue
as long as there is a golf course."
Like a fine wine, Huntingdon Valley Country Club has gotten better with age. A