There is a veil of mystery that pervades Pine Valley, consistently on the top of everyone’s list of the most difficult courses in America. This course was the creation of George Crump, a Philadelphia Hotel man who set out to create a track that would punish every mistake a player makes on the golf course with a bad result. From everything I have heard about Pine Valley he succeeded masterfully in that effort.
Since Pine Valley is such a private place and they have rarely had national events there, it remains a mystery to most of the interested golf world. There is one black and white Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf episode you can find on the internet from back in the 1960’s between a young Gene Littler and Byron Nelson. There have been a couple of Walker Cups played there as well that had some TV time. But that is about it. Here are some photos from my day at the ranch.
The chance most people would have to get onto the property of this course in Camden, New Jersey, is during the prestigious four-day amateur invitational event they hold every year called The Crump Cup. This has been going on since 1922 and has had as it’s winner some of the history’s most distinguished amateurs including Francis Ouimet, Chick Evans, Billy Joe Patton, and Jay Sigel.
The event is two rounds of medal qualifying to establish flights followed by four rounds of match play to determine the champions. The last round is held on Sunday, this year on October 2nd, and it is discreetly open to the public to enjoy. You park in the Amusement Park pictured above and get shuttled down a gravel road to a back entrance to the property. Once inside the fence you are free to roam unfettered about the grounds of one of the most storied courses in America.
They hold this event without much fanfare every fall-usually in September or October. Not much advertising but I imagine with a little due diligence in August you can get the particulars on how and when to attend. If you are in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area I am sure attending The Crump Cup would be an experience to remember.
Steve Owens played there last year and shot 76. He said if he didn’t have a caddie, he’d have shot 106. You have to hit it in places you don’t even see, he said. His son, who played in the USGA Mid-Am in Texas a few weeks ago, shot 80 when they played. Go figure that out.