It’s still a sure bar bet winner: what’s the oldest country club in America? It’s Philadelphia Cricket Club, founded in 1854.
It’s always a joy to get a day at Philly Cricket, but now that restoration architect Keith Foster and head super Dan Meersman have their recent restoration firing on all cylinders, the sky is the limit for A.W. Tillinghast’s Wissahickon Course. Again, thanks Golf Course Trades for a phenomenal job with the piece, both in print and on-line. The link is here. From the article:
“…Tillie the Terror ran with a tough crowd back then: the Philadelphia School of Golf Architecture, a loose group that included such other paragons of the craft as George Crump, George Thomas, Hugh Wilson, William Flynn, and Henry Fownes, (though Flynn and Fownes were from Boston and Pittsburgh respectively). And by 1938, other hands – Flynn included, as confirmed by plans – had made dramatic changes to Wissahickon, changes that did not fit with the rest of Tillie’s work.
“It was a question of scale,” explained Head Superintendent Dan Meersman. “We found an old aerial from 1938 that shows a wide variety of hazards, fairway shapes, and sizes and styles of bunkers. The changes that had occurred – whomever they were by – were not the same size and shape of Tillie’s work, and they felt out of place with the scale of the rest of the course.”
As years passed, it was clear the club was at a crossroads – they needed to reaffirm, strengthen, and accentuate their precious Tillinghast legacy. So they hired restoration architecture expert Keith Foster to do two things: replace the work of the intervening architects and design what Tillie didn’t get the chance to build – Great Hazard bunker complexes, curvaceous green contours, and cunning strategic angles. And that meant Meersman was in the right place at the right time for a young, upcoming star of a superintendent; he had a front row seat for golf architecture history.”