Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in NE Pennsylvania is a classic

By June 24, 2010, 9:06 pm

Shawnee Inn and Golf ResortThe decades-old bridge at the Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort is actually portable and taken down every fall as golf season ends.

SHAWNEE ON DELAWARE, Pa. – Walking through the century-old clubhouse at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort you can't help but notice all the photographs of the great comedic actor Jackie Gleason. It was here in 1944 where Gleason learned to play golf, which brings to mind a classic 'Honeymooners' episode in which Ed Norton (Art Carney) tries to teach Ralph Kramden (Gleason) how to play the great game by using an instruction book.

Somehow I just can't see Sam Snead, who was once the resident pro at Shawnee Inn, explaining address the same way that Ed Norton did.

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'What do they mean by address the ball?' Ralph asks.

'How should I know? That's what it says here,' Norton says as he pounds his hand on the book.

A few moments later, Norton exclaims, 'Wait a minute. I think I know what it means.'

Norton then takes a stance, looks down and says, 'Hello ball,' spurring Ralph to slap him on the back, and the laughs ensue.

The truth is by the time that episode aired in 1955, Gleason was already an avid golfer and had played countless rounds at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. He might have still needed lessons, but he was intimately familiar with the game.

Shawnee Inn is early A.W. Tillinghast design

Gleason was at the then Shawnee Country Club during its heyday. Back then, the course was just 18 holes originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast before he became a renowned architect. It was the site of the 1938 PGA Championship won by Paul Runyan over Snead, and it had become the playground of celebrities, athletes and high-ranking politicians.

Today there are 27 holes at Shawnee Inn, the Red Course, White Course and Blue Course. In 1961, nine new holes designed by Bill Diddle were added, possibly diluting the experience but making the course more resort friendly.

Diddle's holes are integrated into the original layout. They blend in rather seamlessly, although there are junctures where finding the next tee box requires a little local knowledge.

There's talk of restoring the course to its 1938 splendor. Owner Charles Kirkwood has been in discussions with architect Tom Doak about restoring the course using old photographs and drawings. Doak did a similar project at Pasatiempo Golf Club in California, although it didn't involve eliminating extraneous holes.

All but three of the holes at Shawnee Inn are on an island formed by the Delaware River, making for some dramatic holes alongside and over the river. There's also a portable bridge that was built decades ago. It was designed by original Shawnee Inn owner and architect C.C. Worthington.

Each year, the bridge is removed after the season, and it's reassembled in the spring. Part of any future renovation would include a bigger permanent bridge that could allow for heavier traffic. Kirkwood would like to see major tournaments return to Shawnee Inn, which in addition to the PGA has also hosted the U.S. Women's Amateur (1919), Shawnee Open (which Walter Hagan competed in) and the 1967 NCAA men's championship.

The signature hole at Shawnee is the seventh on the Blue Course, although the second on the Red Course is just as scenic. Both are par 3s that cross the river, however, the Blue hole might have a better view from the green with the Poconos and river in the background.

The Blue is arguably the best of the three nines, with three par 3s, three par 4s and three par 5s. The 3,438-yard layout tends to slow down play at times, but it's most interesting, especially the difficult par 3s. Combined with the Red Course, it plays to more than 6,800 yards with a rating of 72.8.

Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort: The verdict

If you ask players and those associated with the Shawnee Inn whether or not it should move forward with a Doak renovation, opinions are pretty much split down the middle.

As a retreat that serves the Northeast, many feel there would be little benefit to shrinking the course to 18 holes. Others, including Kirkwood, who purchased the resort with his wife Virginia in 1977, believe a renovation would be the ticket to getting significant tournaments and national recognition.

The truth is probably somewhere in between, especially considering recent and overall improvements to the resort.

The golf course is already a fun and challenging test. During the fall, with the leaves turning on the hardwoods on the hills, it's a classic American setting.

Doak already has his fingerprint on the par-3 Tillinghast Approach Course at Shawnee. Opened in 2006, Doak designed the course with Tillinghast-style bunkers and greens, and it provides a great warm-up to your round.

There's also the Tillinghast Golf Academy. Opened in 2003, it's headed up by PGA lifetime member Jim Miller, who serves as director of instruction. Miller excels in teaching all aspects of the game, especially the short game. (I can attest to this.) He draws from his extensive experience as a head professional in the area as well as playing in the U.S. Senior Open and nine other Champions Tour events.

The academy offers schools that range from a half day to three-day packages, which can include lodging and golf. You can also take part in group clinics or receive individual lessons on the grounds, which feature extensive short-game practice areas.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


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The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.