There are many fine public golf courses in Central Pennsylvania.
The newest one is Rich Valley Golf Course located just east of Carlisle along Interstate 81. Golf course owner/architect Jeff Austin did his homework when he constructed the greens; his first-rate grounds crew maintains consistent putting surfaces along with good fairways. Almost 10 years old, the course is maturing and fun to play.
In 1995, Dauphin Highlands opened. Located just east of Harrisburg, it was given a four-star rating by Golf Digest. The golf course is beautifully laid out and is comparable to many country clubs. The signature hole is the sixth, a par four protected by a greenside pond. The course has challenging par threes, as well. It’s a great golf course.
Armitage Golf Club in Hampden Township was rebuilt in 1974 and soon became one of the busiest golf courses in Pennsylvania. The course is well suited for the average player at 5,700 yards. The course is always in fine condition thanks to an excellent greenkeeper.
Want a good bet?
Try Manada Golf Club near the Penn National race track. The course has lots of space for the average golfer and the wonderful greens to challenge the serious golfer. Mike Benedict has run the show for many years, and there are two early-season tournaments all the good players look forward to.
You might have to alter your technique in bunkers somewhat at many public courses due to conditions. With poor sand quality or bad lies, simply keep the clubface square or slightly open. You don’t want an open face and lots of bounce in these conditions.
Hershey Links, known formerly as Wren Dale, was taken over by the Hershey Trust Company in 2005. This great course is included in a country club membership, but also is available for public play. I suggest visiting Hersheygolfcollection.com and allowing “a man of nobility” and PGA professional, Bob Kreider, guide you through each hole. The Harrisburg District Individual will be held there this year. (Jeff Frazier is the defending champion.)
The Links at Gettysburg is absolutely beautiful and has reasonable green fees. I had the good fortune last fall to play there in the Waeger C.U.P. It was a seven-hour round and I loved every second. The layout is perfect. The greens are perfect. The fairways are perfect.
Fore F ratings:
- Rich Valley Golf Course: 4.4
- Dauphin Highlands: 4.5
- Armitage Golf Club: 4.2
- Manada Golf Club: 4.6
- Hershey Links: 5.3
- The Links at Gettysburg: 5.3
Scott Stoner is in his 33rd year teaching technology education at Cumberland Valley Eagle View Middle School and has coached the Cumberland Valley High School golf team for 21 years, winning seven championships. He advanced to the Final 64 in the 1979 U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Cleveland.