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Private clubs in West Chester PA area


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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

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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  • 6 months later...

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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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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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm also seeking an affordable option local to west chester that has good practice facilities and walking. ive gotten a bunch of quote brochures that i can assemble and post here once i get organized.

 

nobody mentioned McCall but a friend of mine is a member there and it's a great course to play and very inexpensive (< $2500 all in/yr). it's too far for me to be a regular or i'd join in a heartbeat.

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Far and away Stonewall and Applebrook are top tier and separated from the pack. I think I like the course at Applebrook more... the mystique and club at Stonewall. Both fantastic options if looking to go top tier, and pay top tier.

Concord and Penn Oaks might as well be public IMO. I personally would'nt join there - I would rather play public at Glenn Mills for half the cost.

Had a friend at Radley for a while - can't speak to the "club atmosphere" but the course was pretty decent... good enough for an "everyday". I remember the greens were impecable... very fast in the summer months. I always enjoyed playing there. Cheap entry, always deals on membership and might be a good place to start. Again a great every day. If looking for the Ferrari... Stonewall or Appy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hijacking this a bit as I have similar questions.... I’m considering a club, but live further out (west of Downingtown). I’m looking for a place I can get to within 15 min, but would go a bit more for the right place. Applecross is very close and French Creek and Stonewall are also within range. I’m just about 40, and would like a place with a younger membership where I could just show up and find a round. I have a neighbor who quit Applecross because weekends were so busy it was hard to get a tee time, so maybe that is out, but I’m curious if anyone else has different opinions. I’ve been considering French Creek for awhile, however am a bit concerned that they’re now affiliated with clubcorp and boxgroove and openrounds and might be overly busy now. Then of course there’s Stonewall, and while I’m sure that it doesn’t have issues with being busy, I’m worried it might be a bit too stuffy for me. Any thoughts on these courses would be welcome. Thanks!

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Applecross is not the place to be if you want to show up and find a group. I would disagree with it being too crowded on weekends. I was a member at Talamore for 5 years and Applecross is included in our membership and I had no problem getting a tee time at Applecross any time I wanted. In fact, it was significantly easier to get a time there than it was at Talamore.

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Stonewall touts itself having a relaxed vibe with no tee times, dogs welcome on course, and not taking anyone too seriously there. I believe many people choose it as a second home because of the location and with the two courses probably wouldn't be too busy. French Creek is offering all kinds of deals I have seen lately and they have those golf boards I've never tried there.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

I’m a member at white manor. Really enjoy the club. Great, modern course with lots of variety. Use every club in the bag. Greens can be tricky in a good way. Elevation changes are high end of acceptable range but make the course appropriately challenging. Course conditions are good.

Hard to speak on crowds. Pre COVID, tee times were not challenging to get. COVID has really changed that, but I think that is the case with many private courses across the nation (according to my friends from California to Boston). Kids do not have activities that are occupying parents nowadays.

feel free to ask questions here or pm me

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