Philadelphia Cricket Club

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Philadelphia Cricket Club
PCCLogo.jpg
The logo of the Philadelphia Cricket Club
Formation 1854
Type Private Country Club
Legal status Open
Location
Coordinates 40°03′52″N 75°12′31″W / 40.06444°N 75.20861°W / 40.06444; -75.20861
Region served Delaware Valley, Nationwide
Official language English
President Algot Thorell
Website Club Website
Philadelphia Cricket Club
Philadelphia Cricket Club (logo).png
The Sesquicentennial logo of PCC
Club information
Location Philadelphia and Flourtown, Pennsylvania, United States United States
Established 1854
Type Private
Owned by Philadelphia Cricket Club
Operated by Head PGA Professional – Jim Smith Jr.
Total holes 45
Tournaments hosted United States Open Championship (1907 & 1910)
Saint Martin's Course
Designed by A.W. Tillinghast
Par 70 (2 nine hole rounds)
Length 5106 yards
Wissahickon
Designed by A.W. Tillinghast
Par 70
Length 7119 yards
Course rating 74.8
Slope rating 140
Militia Hill
Designed by Dana Fry & Michael Hurdzan
Par 72
Length 7199 yards
Course rating 75.0
Slope rating 136

The Philadelphia Cricket Club, founded in 1854, is the oldest country club in the United States. It has two locations: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, and Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

History[edit]

Founded in 1854, The Philadelphia Cricket Club is the oldest country club in the United States. As the name indicates, the Club was formed by a group of young men of English descent who had played the game while students at the University of Pennsylvania. With the wish to continue to play together after their graduation, they formed the Club under the leadership of William Roach Wister. While playing cricket on any grounds available for the first 30 years of the club’s existence, in 1883, the Club “came home” to Chestnut Hill through the generosity of a benefactor, Henry H. Houston. Houston arranged for them to settle down at the Club’s present location on West Willow Grove Avenue in the St. Martins section of Chestnut Hill.

When the Golf Association of Philadelphia was organized in 1897, the Club was one of four founding members with Merion, Philadelphia Country Club and Aronimink. The original nine-hole course was built in 1895 by famed architect Willie Tucker (St. Andrew’s Golf Club, Sand Point Country Club and Argyle Country Club) and was quickly replaced by a new eighteen-hole course in 1897. The old eighteen-hole course, known as St. Martins and now playing as a pleasant nine-hole layout, hosted the United States Open Championship in 1907 and 1910. The 1907 winner was Alec Ross, brother of famed architect Donald Ross, who chalked up a remarkable score of 302 for 72 holes. It was also during this championship that the first hole-in-one in U.S. Open competition was achieved by Jack Hobens. The 1910 Open victory went to Alex smith, who shot 71 on the final day. Also entered that year was Cricket Club’s own professional, Scottish born Willie Anderson, one of four golfers who have won the U.S. Open four times. Anderson remains the only person to win in three consecutive years. Because the Club did not own the grounds on which the St. Martins golf course was built, a large tract of land was purchased in 1920. It was A.W. Tillinghast (Bethpage - Black, Baltusrol, Newport, San Francisco and Winged Foot) who recommended the Flourtown site and who designed the new course, which opened in 1922.

In 1999, the Board of Governors made a decision to begin the development of a third golf course located on land acquired in the original purchase of the Flourtown property nearly eighty years before. After submissions by several top designers, the Club selected Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, who had already designed a number of highly rated courses throughout the United States and Canada (Erin Hills, Calusa Pines, Hamilton Farms and Naples National). The Club named the new course ‘Militia Hill’ in honor of the adjacent Militia Hill section of Fort Washington State Park, which had been occupied during the American Revolution by the Pennsylvania Militia just before moving on to their legendary winter encampment at Valley Forge.

The name chosen for the “old” course at Flourtown was “Wissahickon”, in reference to the Wissahickon Creek, which runs near one side of the property. In addition, the Club dedicated the Militia Hill course to the memory of Willie Anderson and the Wissahickon course to the memory of A.W. Tillinghast. Both the Wissahickon and Militia Hill courses have been recognized for their outstanding layouts and course conditions over the years. ( Wissahickon has been named a top-100 classic course multiple times and Militia Hill a top-25 golf course in Pennsylvania).

The Philadelphia Cricket Club has two locations: one 40°03′52″N 75°12′31″W / 40.06444°N 75.20861°W / 40.06444; -75.20861 in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia where the main offices are located, along with the tennis and squash facilities and the eight-lane, twenty-five meter swimming pool. There is a short, nine-hole golf course there as well. The second location 40°06′31″N 75°13′25″W / 40.10861°N 75.22361°W / 40.10861; -75.22361 is ten minutes away in Whitemarsh Township, near Flourtown, which holds two 18-hole golf courses.

First building, designed by G. W. & W. D. Hewitt, (1883–84, burned 1909).

Originally, the cricket team did not own any grounds and played in Camden, New Jersey.Source: David Sentance. This changed in 1883, when grounds and a clubhouse were donated by Henry H. Houston. The team was disbanded in 1924 as the club's other sports became more prevalent, but cricket was revived in 1998.

Throughout this time, swimming, golf, tennis, and squash have also thrived at the country club. It is highly dedicated to the growth of juniors in these sports. In 2006, for example, the junior swimming team placed fourth at the Country Club Swimming Association of Greater Philadelphia's League Championships led by the William Penn Charter's high school swimming coach Kevin Berkoff.

Tennis[edit]

Chestnut Hill in December 2010.
National Women's Tennis Tournament at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Photo: circa 1910–20.

In 1881, the club was one of the founding members of the United States Lawn Tennis Association, today the USTA. The club hosted the inaugural U.S. Women's National Singles Championship in 1887, and continued to host the event until 1921, when it moved to Forest Hills. The Women's National Doubles Championship (which started in 1889) and Mixed Doubles Championship (which started in 1892) were also held at the club until 1921. These events later combined with the men's singles and doubles championships to form the U.S. Open.

Trapshooting[edit]

Due to the extensive efforts in recent years of the Trapshooting Committee, Trapshooting has become a thriving sport at PCC. Competitions are held November through April at clubs around the Philadelphia region

Golf[edit]

The Philadelphia Cricket Club was one of the founding members of the Golf Association of Philadelphia when it was organized in 1897. Today it operates three courses, each opened in a different century.

St. Martin's Course[edit]

This course is named "St. Martin's" after the adjacent episcopal church St. Martin's in the Fields. The club originally opened a 9-hole course in 1895, which was quickly replaced by the 18-hole St. Martin's course in 1898, designed by Willie Tucker. This course hosted the U.S. Open championships in 1907 and 1910, won by Alec Ross and Alex Smith respectively. Today, this course has been reduced to a 9-hole layout. Despite the reduction, the 7th, 8th, and 9th holes are the same layout as they were played during the 1907 and 1910 U.S. Open championship.[1]

U.S. Open Champions and Scores

Year Champion/Country Score
1907 Alec Ross/Scotland 76–74–76–76=302
1910 Alex Smith/Scotland 73–73–79–73=298

Course Scorecard

Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Par 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 35
Handicap 5 7 1 6 9 4 2 3 8
Yardage (Men's Tees) 343 257 322 289 110 316 368 326 222 2553

Wissahickon Course[edit]

Because the St. Martin's course was built on land not owned by the club, an additional tract of land in Flourtown was bought in 1920. In 1922, a new course designed by A. W. Tillinghast was opened. Tillinghast was a world famous designer. Some of his famous course designs include The Black Course at Bethpage State Park, which has hosted the U.S. Open twice, as well as Winged Foot, which has also hosted the U.S. Open five times. The Wissahickon course is one of the few remaining courses designed by Tillinghast that has had minimal changes over the past 80 years. The name "Wissahickon" comes from the Lenape word for "Catfish Stream." The Wissahickon Creek runs adjacent to the course. Lorraine Run, which eventually dumps into the Wissahickon Creek, runs through the Wissahickon Course. An abandoned Reading Railroad track runs through the course, along the 9th and 11th holes. Although the track was ripped up several years ago, the train bridge over Lorraine Run still stands. The Wissahickon Course has hosted several local tournaments. The course is dedicated to A.W. Tillinghast, who was a long-time member of the Philadelphia Cricket Club and a Philadelphia native.

On June 18, 2013, construction was started on a complete restoration of the Wissahickon course, led by designer Keith Foster and Director of Grounds Dan Meersman . The course is scheduled to reopen in June 2014.

Course Scorecard

Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
Par 4 4 3 4 3 4 5 4 4 3 4 5 4 4 3 4 4 4 70
Handicap 7 9 15 13 17 11 1 3 5 18 14 2 10 4 16 12 8 6
Yardage (Men's Tees) 424 423 122 517 215 498 553 365 373 172 427 546 447 435 240 426 449 487 7119

Militia Hill Course[edit]

Because of the huge interest in golf at PCC, an idea for another 18-hole course adjacent to the Wissahickon Course came about. The fact that golf memberships were limited, the need for a second golf course was almost necessary, not only for more golf members, but also for some tournaments, both interclub and intraclub. So, on April 27, 2002, members found themselves standing in front of a brand-new 18-hole golf course. The name "Milita Hill" comes from the name of the adjacent hill, Militia Hill. Militia Hill was the site of the last encampment for the soldiers of the Pennsylvania Militia before their march to Valley Forge. The course was designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, who wanted to combine some of their own ideas with some of the classic Tillinghast ideas. Just like the Wissahickon Course, a train track runs through the middle of the golf course. Although this line is active, and golfers pass through a tunnel (which was constructed well before the golf course) twice each round. The course is dedicated to Willie Anderson, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, who at one point, early in the 20th century, was the head golf professional at the club.

Course Scorecard

Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
Par 4 4 5 4 3 5 4 4 3 4 3 4 4 5 3 4 5 4 72
Handicap 15 7 3 11 17 5 1 13 9 8 18 14 4 6 12 16 10 2
Yardage (Men's Regular Tees) 410 405 538 391 188 578 447 404 244 420 160 397 475 529 227 394 585 407 7199

Practice Facility[edit]

With the construction of the Militia Hill Course, the Flourtown complex is complete with a driving range (also used by the trapshooters in the fall), practice chipping area, and putting green. The driving range features two different places where the players can hit. There is also a training hut, which is used by the professionals for lessons.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Golf Courses of the U.S. Open, by John Steinbreder, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas 1996, ISBN 087833940X, pp. 129–131
Preceded by
None (event created)
Host of US Open Women's Singles
1887–1920
Succeeded by
Forest Hills
Preceded by
None (event created)
Host of US Open Women's Doubles
1889–1920
Succeeded by
Forest Hills
Preceded by
None (event created)
Host of US Open Mixed Doubles
1888–1920
Succeeded by
Forest Hills
Preceded by
Onwentsia Club
Englewood Golf Club
Host of United States Open Championship
1907
1910
Succeeded by
Myopia Hunt Club
Chicago Golf Club