by Jeff Skinner
Golf Weeks’s Bradley S. Klein gives us a hole by hole breakdown of Merion and says this, “There’s certainly never quite been an Open like this one, not even in 1981, the last time they set up shop for the national championship here on the west side of Philadelphia. This time around, Merion will play relatively shorter for the world’s best players than it did back then.”
The players at Merion this week will need to think themselves around the course and Klein offers this blunt advice for the tee shot at the first hole, “Anyone who pulls out driver here is an idiot – or desperate.”
It’s always great heading to a U.S. Open to see these amazing courses. The majority are private so we “non-members” can revel in the quality and design of the classic courses the USGA selects to host their premier event. But we are always left wondering what the clubhouse and locker rooms are like as they are off limits to the ticket buying public.
We needn’t wonder any longer as David Owen gives us an insider’s look at what a member’s life is like at the exclusive Merion Golf Club. “The club holds an annual tournament in honor of Bobby Jones, who not only won the 1930 Amateur at Merion but also played in his first national championship there (the 1916 Amateur, when he was 14) and won his first Amateur title (in 1924, when he was 22). Participants play alternate-shot in six-man groups, gather on the porch for cocktails, change into tuxedos, follow a bagpiper down the first fairway (in a procession referred to as the March of the Penguins) and cross Ardmore Avenue to the 11th hole, where they drink a champagne toast to Jones and the Grand Slam.”
Anyone that needs a history lesson concerning Merion needs to click here and visit the USGA Museum. There isn’t a better resource anywhere and with Merion’s long history of USGA events you can spend hours paging through hundreds of exciting articles and videos.