Trail Marker

Haverford Heritage Trail
Site 13: Merion Golf Club

Directions from Previous Site: At Castle Bith, turn around and proceed back over bridge and up Ardmore Avenue through Merion Golf Club’s East Course. Turn right onto Golf House Road. Further down, the clubhouse can be seen on the right.
Physical Address: 450 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore PA
GPS Coordinates: 40.00188, -75.31187
Parking: No
Ownership: Private
Arcadia Book Page: 76-77


Description and History: In 1896, members of the Merion Cricket Club (founded in 1865) opened a golf course in Haverford. In 1910, the membership decided to build a new course and chose club member Hugh Irvine Wilson, a Scottish immigrant, to design it. Wilson had never designed a golf course, so he went on a seven-month trip to Scotland and England to study British courses. Features of Merion East derived from British courses include the distinctive Scottish-style bunkers. Wilson's compact design covers 126 acres of land. Merion East opened in September 1912, and the original course was closed. The West Course, further west and also designed by Wilson, opened in May 1914. The Merion Golf Club later separated from the cricket club. Ranked among America's best courses, Merion has hosted 17 United States Golf Association championship tournaments (more than any other course), including four U.S. Open Championships. On the East Course, all pins are topped with unique wicker baskets instead of the usual flags. Supposedly based on basket-topped herding staffs used by British shepherds to protect their lunches, they have been used since the course's opening and are part of Merion’s mystique. The club’s groundskeeper for 52 years, Joseph Valentine, discovered Merion Blue Grass. Both the East Course and West Course of the Merion Golf Club are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the club was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992. (Shown below: Bobby Jones receiving USGA Amateur Championship trophy in 1930 outside the clubhouse.)

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