Despite the flooding that hit the eastern Pennsylvania area this summer, the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort was open for business heading into the fall.
The club had to scale back from 27 holes to 18, but head golf professional Joe Manley reported the course was bouncing back nicely and the reviews from the public were good.
“Actually, we have been quite busy considering what we have been through. We have been trying to talk to everybody who comes to play and they tell us that the fairways are coming back and the greens are in good shape. We’ve fixed up about 90 percent of the damage done to the bunkers, which has taken some time.”
The 18 holes that are open this fall at Shawnee include the entire Red nine and five holes on the White and four on the Blue courses.
“We didn’t spread the holes out and there is no hopping around from hole to hole,” said Manley. “The holes that we used to create the 18-hole course on the White and Blue nines are consecutive holes.”
Manley said starting Oct. 16 golfers can play Shawnee for only the price of a cart fee.
“We’ll be staying with 18 holes for the remainder of the year and then plan to open all 27 holes against next spring.”
Even when not fully up to snuff the golf course at Shawnee is a true delight, one that is also loaded with tons of history. Completed in 1907, the Shawnee layout was legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast’s first ever work. It went on to host the 1938 PGA Championship, the 1967 NCAA Championships (won by none other than a very young Hale Irwin) and many other tournaments. The stately trees, river and hills surrounding this unique layout grace the course with an old world charm.
Virtually all of the golfing greats of the first half of the 20th century played at Shawnee, including Walter Hagan, Lawson Little, Johnny Farrell and later Arnold Palmer. Celebrities that made the Shawnee Inn their regular haunt included such luminaries as Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball, Perry Como and Ed Sullivan.
The resort’s first owner, C.C. Worthington, was one of the drivers of big time golf in the country. In 1911 he staged a professional tournament, then somewhat uncommon, to raise awareness of the game and the talents of the men who played for pay. The pinnacle of Shawnee’s role in the development of modern professional golf was when the PGA held its Championship there in 1938, with the event being won by Paul Runyon in a dramatic finish over Sam Snead.
Shawnee remains a shotmaker’s dream with water coming into play on a number of holes. The track demands thoughtful tee shots and approaches to the small, tricky greens. Depending upon which configuration of 18 holes is played the course measures from around 6,500 yards to slightly over 6,700 yards.
The White Course concludes with a very difficult 457-yard par-four, the longest four par among the 27 holes at the resort. The White Course ends with perhaps the best par-three on the track, a 231-yarder, and the Blue Course is an eclectic mix that has an equal number of threes, fours and fives.
The Inn at Shawnee is a charming building that opened its doors to guests in May of 1911. Worthington built state-of-the art amenities into the resort, and his golf course, built mostly on an island, came to be known as “The Gem of the East.” The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
27 holes (Red Course, 3,362 yds,
White Course, 3,227 yds, Blue Course, 3,438 yds)
Par: 36, 36, 36.