Saucon Valley Country Club
|Location||Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA postal address|
|Tournaments hosted||U.S. Amateur (1951)
U.S. Senior Open (1992, 2000)
U.S. Women's Open (2009)
|Website||Saucon Valley Country Club|
|Designed by||Herbert Strong|
|Designed by||William Gordon|
|Designed by||David Gordon and William Gordon|
Saucon Valley Country Club is a country club located near both Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. The club's facilities include three 18-hole golf courses and a six-hole beginners course. The Old Course has hosted six United States Golf Association (USGA) tournaments, including the 1992 and 2000 U.S. Senior Opens. In 2009, it was the site of the U.S. Women's Open. Saucon Valley Country Club is also the home site of the Lehigh University golf team. Two of Saucon Valley's 18-hole courses have made appearances on golf magazine rankings of top courses.
Saucon Valley Country Club was founded in 1920 by a group of local businessmen, mostly from Bethlehem Steel. Architect Herbert Strong was hired to design the Saucon Course, now known as the Old Course. Construction of the course concluded in 1921, and it officially opened the following year. A fire destroyed Saucon Valley's original clubhouse in January 1928; construction on a replacement building began shortly after the fire, and was finished in 1929. The club elected to build a second course after World War II, due to an increase in membership. William Gordon was the architect, working with his son David. The first nine holes of the Grace Course, named after founding member Eugene Grace, were finished in 1953; five years later, the last nine holes were completed. The Weyhill Course, the third 18-hole course built at the club, opened in 1968.
The Old Course previously was a 6,799-yard course, but after renovations that added more than 300 yards of length, it is now 7,126 yards with a par of seventy-one. Among its holes are three par-fives that are more than 550 yards. The Grace Course is a 7,091-yard par 72, which Links Magazine describes as "a big hitters' paradise". The Weyhill Course is a par-72 that measures out to 6,928 yards.
The USGA has held six national tournaments at Saucon Valley Country Club's Old Course. The first USGA event played at Saucon Valley was the 1951 U.S. Amateur, which was won by future PGA Tour player Billy Maxwell. In 1983, the Old Course hosted the U.S. Junior Amateur; it was won by Tim Straub. Four years later, John Richardson won the U.S. Senior Amateur at the club.
Saucon Valley hosted its first U.S. Senior Open, a major championship on the Senior PGA Tour (now known as the Champions Tour), in 1992. With a four-day total score of 275 (nine-under-par), Larry Laoretti won the tournament by four strokes over Dave Stockton. The U.S. Senior Open returned to Saucon Valley in 2000, when Hale Irwin won the event by three strokes; his total score of 267 (17-under-par) broke the tournament's scoring record. In July 2009, Saucon Valley hosted the U.S. Women's Open, a major championship on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. South Korean Eun-Hee Ji made a 20-foot birdie putt on the last hole of the tournament to win by one stroke. The course received a positive reception from players following the U.S. Women's Open. The Old and Weyhill Courses will host the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2014. Both courses will be used for the stroke play part of the competition, while the 64-man match play will be held on the Old Course.
The club serves as the site of home matches for the golf team of Lehigh University, the college attended by Eugene Grace, the president of Bethlehem Steel when Saucon Valley Country Club was founded. On four occasions—1996, 2003, 2008, and 2013—Saucon Valley hosted the men's golf championship of Lehigh's athletic conference, the Patriot League, which Lehigh won in 2013. The Old Course has also played host to the Pennsylvania Amateur Championship twice, in 2008 and 2013.
In addition to its three 18-hole courses, the club has a six-hole Short Course, which is aimed at beginning golfers. There are 16 tennis courts at the club, along with four swimming pools. Saucon Valley also has squash and platform tennis courts.
The Old and Grace courses have appeared numerous times on golf magazine listings of leading golf courses in the U.S. In 1995 and 1997, Golf Magazine named the Grace Course one of the "Top 100 Courses in the U.S." The course was selected as one of "America's 100 Best Classical Courses" by Golfweek magazine each year from 1997 to 1999. The Old Course joined the Grace Course in Golf Magazine's' "Top 100 Courses in the U.S." ranking in 1995; Baltusrol Golf Club and Winged Foot Golf Club are the only other private clubs that have had multiple courses on the publication's list. Golfweek placed the Old Course on its "America's 100 Best Classical Courses" annually from 1997 to 1999, along with the Grace Course. After renovations in preparation for the 2009 U.S. Women's Open, the Old Course won the 2008 Best Remodel award from Golf Digest magazine.
- "Golf Course Review - Saucon Valley Country Club (Old Course)". KMGH-TV. The Sports Network. September 20, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
- Whelan, Frank (July 5, 1992). "$25,000 Gold Mine: The Old Grim Farm Has A Different Look, But Beauty Remains (page 2)". The Morning Call. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "The Grace Course". Saucon Valley Country Club. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
- "The Weyhill Course". Saucon Valley Country Club. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "Saucon Valley Country Club". Links Magazine. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
- Wogenrich, Mark (December 5, 2008). "A rave of a redesign: SVCC gets Golf Digest honor for changes made in time for 2009 U.S. Women's Open". The Morning Call. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
- "View Course Scorecard: Grace". Saucon Valley Country Club. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
- "View Course Scorecard: Weyhill". Saucon Valley Country Club. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
- "Past Champion, 1951: Billy Maxwell". United States Golf Association. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
- "Past Champions: Tim Straub". United States Golf Association. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "1987: John Richardson". United States Golf Association. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- Diaz, Jaime (July 13, 1992). "Golf; Laoretti Lights Up the Senior Open". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "Irwin wins Senior Open in record-setting fashion". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. July 2, 2000. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- Gagne, Matt (July 13, 2009). "Eun Hee Ji wins Women's U.S. Open with 20-foot putt on final hole". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
- Williams, Andre D. (July 13, 2009). "Saucon gets raves as challenging, beautiful". The Morning Call. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Blake, Corky (June 1, 2013). "Saucon Valley Country Club prepares to host 2014 USGA Mid-Amateur Championship". The Express-Times. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- "Navy Sets Its Sight on 2008 Patriot League Golf Championship". CBS Sports Network. April 24, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
- Whelan, Frank (July 5, 1992). "$25,000 Gold Mine: The Old Grim Farm Has A Different Look, But Beauty Remains (page 1)". The Morning Call. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- "Lehigh set to host league championship at Saucon Valley CC". Lehigh University. April 26, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- "Mountain Hawks hold off Navy to claim first PL title since 1997". Lehigh University. April 28, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Gilbert, Karl (July 18, 2013). "Pennsylvania Amateur Championship coming to Saucon Valley's Old Course". The Express-Times. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "The Short Course". Saucon Valley Country Club. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "Saucon Valley Country Club: History Highlights". United States Golf Association. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "Course Profile: Saucon Valley Country Club". Golf Magazine. Retrieved May 9, 2009.