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Private clubs in West Chester PA area

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DO1DO1  7WRX Points: 25Handicap: 8Members Posts: 7
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I am considering joining a club within 30 mins or so of West Chester PA.

My criteria are: walking allowed, good practice facilities, fun/active men's group.

Would love to get feedback, positive or negative, on these as well as others not on the list:

Applecross, Concord CC, Hershey's Mill, Penn Oaks, Radley Run, White Manor CC, Whitford Country Club.

(Unfortunately, Penn Oaks, Radley Run, White Manor and Whitford have walking limitations on the weekends.)

Thanks!
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  • DrudershDrudersh  2972WRX Points: 240Handicap: +2ClubWRX Posts: 2,972
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    So right off the bat, I can tell you that the best golf course on your list is White Manor. They have a great short game practice facility and recently converted to bermuda grass on their range, and it's a delight to hit off. My instructor (John Dunigan) is out of White Manor so I've spend a good bit of time there. Great staff in the golf shop, and the golf course itself it awesome. It's a real challenge, long, fast greens, and fun to play. I'm not sure about the men's groups there, but I can tell you they've got some good players who play a lot of golf.



    Here's what I know about the others at a glance:



    Penn Oaks - Lost all their greens last year, had to ask for reciprocal play at other area courses. Stopped maintaining the course as well as they should have and lost a bunch of members. Rumors are it's on it's way to becoming public, and in bad financial shape.



    Concord - Very crowded golf course, crappy location right at the intersection of 202 and Rt. 1. Some good holes, some bad ones, a couple awful ones, mediocre practice facilities. My roommate when I lived in West Chester proper was their assistant GM and said the membership consisted of a lot of tribal tattoo having backwards visor wearing bud light drinking insurance salesman types. Which is fine if that's what you're into.



    Hershey's Mill- Never played it, haven't actually heard much about it, but I understand they have a lot of members.



    Radley Run - Pretty nice course, good location in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. Decent range but it's a good ways away from the first tee, you almost have to take a cart down to it. Usually in pretty good shape. Not sure about their men's groups, but have heard there are good games to be had and decent membership. Didn't know there were walking restrictions on weekends, that's kind of a bummer.



    Whitford - Never played it, but looked into it for membership a while ago and it was pricey.



    Applecross - Have never played it either, but they gave a friend of mine a free membership, literally free, for 6 months that included 5 rounds of golf if he just paid a cart fee. Not usually a good sign. Nice practice facilities though, I have hit balls there.



    Kennett Square - Not on your list, but a nice little facility. My home club. Short game area and driving range are right next to each other. You can only hit up to hybrid on the range though which is kind of a bummer. Course is usually in great shape, on the short side at 6300 yards from the tips, but undulating greens add to the difficulty. VERY active men's groups with lots of tournaments outside of the club arranged tourney's. Once a month during the season we do a devils tourney, Friday afternoon's we arrange games from 11-1. You can always find a game. No walking restrictions.
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  • Fairway RobberyFairway Robbery Life's too short for a something something  331WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 331
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    Hartefeld National: Probably every bit of 30 min from West Chester, but they have no walking fees or restrictions. Full driving range and practice green within walking distance to the pro shop and a short game/bunker area on the opposite side of the range (via cart ride).



    I just joined, so I haven't gotten a sense of the activity level, but there are five "sweeps" games every week open to everyone (Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun)...with enough participation that the timeslots are blocked out every single week for the entire playing season.
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  • DO1DO1  7WRX Points: 25Handicap: 8Members Posts: 7
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    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the feedback.

    A friend said I should also consider French Creek. It is about 40 mins from West Chester but he said it is worth it.

    Near it is Stonewall.

    Any comments on either of these?
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  • 1010Time1010Time  34WRX Points: 32Members Posts: 34
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    Hartefeld is a great track, have never walked it but would think it would wear you out. Driving range is pretty large and was in nice shape, can't comment on a short-game area. Another place you might want to look into is Fieldstone in DE. Beautiful course, excellent short-game area, and great views. You wouldn't expect to have this type of topography in DE. Good luck with the search.
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  • DrudershDrudersh  2972WRX Points: 240Handicap: +2ClubWRX Posts: 2,972
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    Forgot about Fieldstone. I was a member there for a few years. Awesome course, active men's group, EXCELLENT practice facilities (including indoor facility with 3 hitting bays with monitors/ indoor practice green) and the food there is actually really good. It's an LP club though, so you'll either have to play on a warrant or buy in. Really a great facility though.
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  • Sir Larry WildmanSir Larry Wildman  397WRX Points: 58Handicap: 3.7Members Posts: 397
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    DO1 wrote:


    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the feedback.

    A friend said I should also consider French Creek. It is about 40 mins from West Chester but he said it is worth it.

    Near it is Stonewall.

    Any comments on either of these?




    Stonewall: I am quite familiar with Stonewall - two awesome Doak courses, with sensational practice facilities. Great staff too. The only real downside is that it's a second and third club to most of it's members. As such, the course rarely gets any play. That means it's in phenomenal shape all of the time, but it's nearly impossible to just show up and find a game out there. You gotta bring one. Also, keep in mind that the Old Course is pretty much walking-only with caddies mandated until 3pm. So bringing a game can get expensive quick. Also, it's an LP club.



    French Creek: I'm not sure what the club dynamics are like. I personally like the course, but I really like Hanse designs, but I know that not everyone does (Luke Donald! haha).
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  • lefty-golferlefty-golfer  163WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 163
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    DO1 wrote:


    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the feedback.

    A friend said I should also consider French Creek. It is about 40 mins from West Chester but he said it is worth it.

    Near it is Stonewall.

    Any comments on either of these?




    Stonewall: I am quite familiar with Stonewall - two awesome Doak courses, with sensational practice facilities. Great staff too. The only real downside is that it's a second and third club to most of it's members. As such, the course rarely gets any play. That means it's in phenomenal shape all of the time, but it's nearly impossible to just show up and find a game out there. You gotta bring one. Also, keep in mind that the Old Course is pretty much walking-only with caddies mandated until 3pm. So bringing a game can get expensive quick. Also, it's an LP club.



    French Creek: I'm not sure what the club dynamics are like. I personally like the course, but I really like Hanse designs, but I know that not everyone does (Luke Donald! haha).




    both of these comments are pretty much spot on IMO
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  • DO1DO1  7WRX Points: 25Handicap: 8Members Posts: 7
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    Thanks for the input. I ended up joining French Creek. Amazing layout. I have to agree about Hanse designs.
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  • NolesNoles  1559WRX Points: 203Members Posts: 1,559
    Joined:  edited Jul 1, 2019 #10

    I played Hershey's Mill last week in the GAP Father/Son. What a pleasant surprise! It was a nice course. A few tight holes but not overwhelming. The green complexes were great. Firm, fast and beautiful. The superintendent used to be at Philmont before Concert Golf didn't want to pay him. Course could not have been in better shape. Not sure what the club is like as it is in a housing community but it was so much better than I expected.

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  • srjohnson913srjohnson913  14WRX Points: 8Handicap: 16Members Posts: 14
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    Has anyone played West Chester CC? I know it's only 9 hole but the location is prime for my home/work commute and I heard the price is good. Just trying to play as much as possible.

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  • Bonneville85308Bonneville85308  1800WRX Points: 218Members Posts: 1,800
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    Agreed. If I worked right in WC and lived somewhere 45+ minutes away, it's a course I'd consider joining to have a place to walk a quick round nearby after work, then play somewhere else near home on the weekends. It's not a course I'd want to play the majority of my rounds on. If I remember correctly, it's a par 35 and only about 2,800 yards from the tips, which limits its appeal to some people.

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  • srjohnson913srjohnson913  14WRX Points: 8Handicap: 16Members Posts: 14
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    As a 28 year old I just want to play as much as possible and get my handicap down. Not bad but not great could be perfect for me. Thanks for the input

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  • rdangelo1077rdangelo1077  142WRX Points: 40Handicap: 7Members Posts: 142
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    Penn Oaks is pretty reasonable, especially for a younger guy (junior membership). Afternoons are empty most of time but also have a couple active weekend groups. I can get out and play in the evenings most nights and walk 18 in no more than 3 hours.

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  • srjohnson913srjohnson913  14WRX Points: 8Handicap: 16Members Posts: 14
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    Someone was just telling me a couple of hours ago to check out Penn Oaks. Sounds like I need to take a look

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  • pjorpjor  3WRX Points: 6Members Posts: 3
    Joined:  edited Jan 12, 2020 10:26pm #17


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  • pjorpjor  3WRX Points: 6Members Posts: 3
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    I played penn oaks a few months ago and wasn't overly impressed. The course was super crowded for a weekday afternoon and our round took 4.5 hours to finish. I looked into joining almost every club mentioned on this board, but either the courses were just average and not something I would enjoy consistently playing, or the initiation fees were outrageous. I keep waiting for some type of "deal", but until I find one I will continue to play some of the better public courses near west chester (glen mills, broad run, wyncote). I know rolling green had a limited time deal two years ago where initiation fees were cut in half, and I am hoping to come across something similar in the west chester area.

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  • pjorpjor  3WRX Points: 6Members Posts: 3
    Joined:  edited Jan 12, 2020 10:27pm #19


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