When twenty-four golfers from Haverford and Episcopal Academy tee up on November 12, they will face a demanding course combined with cold temperatures and (potentially) strong winds to finish off their season. With the back nine playing at 3,198 yards from the white tees, Gulph Mills Golf Club is far from a long course. Nonetheless, it features its fair share of other challenges. Precision is key—deep bunkers flank tight fairways on both sides. Wide, sloping greens push unwanted thoughts of a three-putt to a golfer’s mind.
In preparation for EA Day and the winter ahead, the maintenance team at Gulph Mills has worked through the past few weeks to ensure optimal course conditions. They have rolled and aerated the greens, punching holes on the formerly smooth bentgrass. Almost every tee box, fairway, and green has been topdressed with a layer of sand. The fairways—initially rough and gritty—will be soft and smooth. The greens—formerly bumpy and slow—will roll nicely on the day of November 12, all thanks to the maintenance team’s efforts.
The course’s design provides unique holes for golfers and spectators alike. Haverford and Episcopal will begin on the tenth hole, a 400+ yard dogleg left with a pond directly in front of the green. This tee shot, like many others, will be crucial to success on the opener. Holes eleven (a short par four) and twelve (a short par five) provide opportunities for aggressive golfers. A well-placed drive on the former will leave a wedge shot in; longer hitters can aim for eagle (two under par) on the latter. Holes thirteen and fourteen are relatively straightforward, balanced out by the heavy dogleg rights of fifteen and sixteen. The seventeenth hole—a 200+ yard par three—features a downhill tee shot to a green flanked by bunkers. Playing shorter than its yardage, this hole emphasizes precision and club choice.
The golfers will hit their final approach shots to a backdrop of parents and the clubhouse, creating the perfect end to the last golf match of the season.
Short but demanding, the eighteenth is a fitting finale. With a handicap of eighteen and a distance of 420 yards, it is technically the easiest on the course. A wide fairway leaves lots of room for tee shots. This par 5 plays entirely uphill, meaning golfers must add twenty to thirty yards on their approach shots. The longer hitters will have no problem attacking the wide green for an eagle opportunity but must be wary of a deep pot bunker and the other greenside bunkers. Spectators at the top of the hill will have a clear view of the golfers on this hole, while the golfers will hit their final approach shots to a backdrop of parents and the clubhouse, creating the perfect end to the last golf match of the season.