Philadelphia Cricket Club

The Philadelphia Cricket Club, founded in 1854, is the oldest country club in the United States. It has two locations: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, and Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Cricket Club
Formation1854
TypePrivate Country Club
23-0969420
Legal statusOpen
Location
Coordinates40°03′52″N 75°12′31″W / 40.06444°N 75.20861°W / 40.06444; -75.20861
Region served
Delaware Valley, Nationwide
Official language
English
President
F. John White
WebsiteClub Website
Philadelphia Cricket Club
Philadelphia Cricket Club (logo).png
The Sesquicentennial logo of PCC
Club information
LocationPhiladelphia and Flourtown, Pennsylvania, United States United States
Established1854
TypePrivate
Owned byPhiladelphia Cricket Club
Operated byHead PGA Professional – Jim Smith Jr.
Total holes45
Tournaments hostedUnited States Open Championship (1907 & 1910)
Saint Martins
Designed byWillie Tucker
Par35
Length2617 yards
Wissahickon
Designed byA.W. Tillinghast
Par70
Length7119 yards
Course rating74.8
Slope rating140
Militia Hill
Designed byDana Fry & Michael Hurdzan
Par72
Length7227 yards
Course rating75.0
Slope rating136

HistoryEdit

 
First building, designed by G. W. & W. D. Hewitt, (1883–84). The building was destroyed by fire in 1909.

Founded on February 10, 1854,[1] the Philadelphia Cricket Club is the oldest country club in the United States. As the name indicates, the Club was formed by a group of young men of English ancestry[citation needed] who had played the game of cricket as students at the University of Pennsylvania. With the wish to continue to play together after their graduation, they formed the club under the leadership of William Rotch Wister.

For the first 30 years of the club's existence, the club did not own any grounds and thus played cricket on any grounds available, such as at Camden, New Jersey.[2] Then, in 1883, the club “came home” to Chestnut Hill due to the generosity of a benefactor, Henry H. Houston. Houston arranged for them to settle down at the club's present location on West Willow Grove Avenue in the St. Martins section of Chestnut Hill.

LocationEdit

The Philadelphia Cricket Club has two locations. The original location in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia where the main offices are located, along with the tennis courts, squash facilities, an eight-lane twenty-five meter swimming pool, and a short nine-hole golf course. The second location is ten minutes away in Whitemarsh Township, near Flourtown, which holds two 18-hole golf courses.

 
Chestnut Hill in December 2010.

SportsEdit

GolfEdit

When the Golf Association of Philadelphia was organized in 1897, the club was one of four founding members with Merion, Philadelphia Country Club and Aronimink. Both the Wissahickon and Militia Hill courses have been recognized for their outstanding layouts and course conditions over the years. (Wissahickon has been named a top-100 classic course multiple times and Militia Hill a top-25 golf course in Pennsylvania).

St. Martins CourseEdit

The original nine-hole course was built in 1895 by famed architect Willie Tucker (St. Andrew's Golf Club, Sand Point Country Club and Argyle Country Club) and was quickly replaced by a new eighteen-hole course in 1897. The old eighteen-hole course, known as St. Martins and now playing as a nine-hole layout, hosted the United States Open Championship in 1907 and 1910. The 1907 winner was Alec Ross, brother of famed architect Donald Ross, who chalked up a remarkable score of 302 for 72 holes. It was also during this championship that the first hole-in-one in U.S. Open competition was achieved by Jack Hobens. The 1910 Open victory went to Alex Smith, who shot 71 on the final day. Also entered that year was Cricket Club's own professional, Scottish-born Willie Anderson, one of four golfers who have won the U.S. Open four times. Anderson remains the only person to win in three consecutive years. This course is named "St. Martins" after the adjacent episcopal church, St. Martin-in-the-Fields. In 2015 the St Martins course was sold to the club by the Woodward Family as part of an open space initiative.[3] Hosted the World Hickory Championship in 2016 & the National Hickory Championship in 2017 on the St Martins course.[4]

U.S. Open Champions and Scores

Year Champion/Country Score
1907 Alec Ross/Scotland 76–74–76–76=302
1910 Alex Smith/Scotland 73–73–79–73=298

Course Scorecard

Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Par 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 35
Handicap 5 7 1 6 9 4 2 3 8
Yardage (Men's Tees) 343 257 322 289 110 316 368 326 222 2553

Wissahickon CourseEdit

A large tract of land was purchased in 1920, because the Club did not own the grounds on which the St. Martins golf course was built. It was A. W. Tillinghast (Bethpage – Black, Baltusrol, Newport, San Francisco and Winged Foot) who recommended the Flourtown site and who designed the new course, which opened in 1922. The Wissahickon course is one of the few remaining courses designed by Tillinghast that has had minimal changes over the past 80 years. The name "Wissahickon" comes from the Lenape word for "Catfish Stream." The Wissahickon Creek runs adjacent to the course. Lorraine Run, which eventually dumps into the Wissahickon Creek, runs through the Wissahickon course. An abandoned Reading Railroad track runs through the course, along the 6th and 11th holes.

On June 18, 2013, construction was started on a complete restoration of the Wissahickon course, led by designer Keith Foster and Director of Grounds Dan Meersman.

Since the completion of the 2014 renovation, "Wissahickon" has hosted the 2014 Philadelphia Open, the 2015 PGA Professional National Championship (With Militia Hill), the 2016 Constellation Senior Players Championship, and will host the 2024 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (originally scheduled for 2020, but deferred to 2024 by the USGA after cancellation). The course is dedicated to A.W. Tillinghast, who was a long-time member of the Philadelphia Cricket Club and a Philadelphia native.

Course Scorecard

Wissahickon[5][6]
Tee Rating/Slope 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
I–Championship 74.8/140 424 423 122 517 215 498 553 365 373 3490 172 427 546 447 435 240 426 449 487 3629 7119
II–Back 72.8/134 395 396 115 487 197 475 514 347 350 3276 147 386 538 409 411 217 408 419 469 3404 6680
III–Middle 70.4/130 388 368 107 464 160 432 492 323 336 3070 120 338 491 393 369 181 388 382 446 3108 6178
IV–Forward 67/129 368 325 97 410 134 391 440 301 297 2763 114 324 421 341 287 153 341 348 417 2746 5509
Par Men 4 4 3 4 3 4 5 4 4 35 3 4 5 4 4 3 4 4 4 35 70
SI Men 13 7 17 3 15 5 1 11 9 18 16 10 8 2 14 12 6 4
Par Women 5 4 3 5 3 5 5 4 4 38 3 4 5 4 4 3 4 4 5 36 74
SI Women 9 3 15 5 17 11 1 7 13 18 12 6 10 2 16 8 14 4

Militia Hill CourseEdit

In 1999, the Board of Governors made a decision to begin the development of a third golf course located on land acquired in the original purchase of the Flourtown property nearly eighty years before. After submissions by several top designers, the Club selected Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, who had already designed a number of highly rated courses throughout the United States and Canada (Erin Hills, Calusa Pines, Hamilton Farms and Naples National). The Club named the new course ‘Militia Hill’ in honor of the adjacent Militia Hill section of Fort Washington State Park, which had been occupied during the American Revolution by the Pennsylvania Militia just before moving on to their legendary winter encampment at Valley Forge. Like the Wissahickon course, a train track runs through the middle of the golf course. Although this line is active, and golfers pass through a tunnel (which was constructed well before the golf course) twice each round. The course is dedicated to Willie Anderson, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, who at one point, early in the 20th century, was the head golf professional at the club.

Course Scorecard

Militia Hill[7][8]
Tee Rating/Slope 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
I–Championship 75/136 410 405 538 391 188 578 447 404 244 3605 420 160 397 475 529 227 394 585 435 3622 7227
II–Back 72.8/133 384 376 493 373 169 555 441 376 225 3392 399 130 379 446 507 199 371 561 411 3403 6795
III–Middle 71/125 349 333 479 339 147 527 409 342 202 3127 368 119 362 426 484 167 345 535 380 3186 6313
IV–Forward 67/119 309 295 446 305 111 463 332 310 170 2741 297 102 319 351 437 141 290 459 312 2708 5449
Par Men 4 4 5 4 3 5 4 4 3 36 4 3 4 4 5 3 4 5 4 36 72
SI Men 15 7 5 9 13 1 3 11 17 6 18 14 10 2 16 12 4 8
Par Women 4 4 5 4 3 5 4 4 3 36 4 3 4 4 5 3 4 5 4 36 72
SI Women 5 1 3 9 15 7 11 13 17 10 18 12 8 2 16 14 4 6

CricketEdit

The cricket team was initially disbanded in 1924 but was later revived in 1998. The club is now one of the hosts of the annual Philadelphia International Cricket Festival.

SquashEdit

Eight singles courts and two hardball doubles courts round out PCC's squash program. Rich Wade is the director of squash. PCC has coached many national champions and countless players who went on to play intercollegiate squash.

SwimmingEdit

In 2019 PCC won the Country Club Swim Association of Greater Philadelphia League Championship.

In 2006 the swimming team placed fourth at the Country Club Swimming Association of Greater Philadelphia's League Championships led by the William Penn Charter's high school swimming coach Kevin Berkoff.

Tennis – Lawn, Pickleball, & PlatformEdit

 
National Women's Tennis Tournament at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Photo: circa 1910–20.

In 1881, the club was one of the founding members of the United States Lawn Tennis Association, today the USTA. The club hosted the inaugural U.S. Women's National Singles Championship in 1887, and continued to host the event until 1921, when it moved to Forest Hills. The Women's National Doubles Championship (which started in 1889) and Mixed Doubles Championship (which started in 1892) were also held at the club until 1921. These events later combined with the men's singles and doubles championships to form the U.S. Open.

Annually the club will host the USTA 30-35 and 70s age group championships.[9]

The club operates 18 rotating grass courts, 9 HydroClay courts, & 2 indoor hard courts.

Platform TennisEdit

In 2014, the platform tennis hut was listed as one of the most impressive by Town & Country.[10] The Club hosted the 2017 Philly Cricket Invitational for American Platform Tennis Association finals and was one of the National Championship hosts.[11]

The club has 4 permanent platform tennis courts.

PickleballEdit

Pickleball became a prominent sport at PCC in 2019. Constructing six outdoor courts and eight temporary indoor courts on the indoor tennis courts.[citation needed]

TrapshootingEdit

Due to the extensive efforts in recent years of the Trapshooting Committee, Trapshooting has become a thriving sport at PCC. Competitions are held November through April at clubs around the Philadelphia region.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Melville, Tom (1998). The Tented Field: A History of Cricket in America. p. 28. ISBN 0-87972-770-5.
  2. ^ Source: David Sentance.
  3. ^ "Charles Woodward Family Makes Transformative Open Space Land Gift to Natural Lands Trust to Preserve Land - Natural Lands". Natural Lands. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  4. ^ "SoHG President Bill Geisler Notches 2017 NHC Victory". The Society of Hickory Golfers. June 12, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "Wissahickon Scorecard" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Wissahickon Course".
  7. ^ "Militia Hill scorecard" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Militia Hill Course".
  9. ^ "Adult Category I Tournaments: Men's Schedule".
  10. ^ "The Most Impressive Paddle Tennis Huts We've Ever Seen". Town & Country. October 24, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  11. ^ "Philadelphia Open Platform Tennis Tournament". www.platformtennis.org. Retrieved June 19, 2017.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
None (event created)
Host of US Open Women's Singles
1887–1920
Succeeded by
Preceded by
None (event created)
Host of US Open Women's Doubles
1889–1920
Succeeded by
Preceded by
None (event created)
Host of US Open Mixed Doubles
1888–1920
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of United States Open Championship
1907
1910
Succeeded by