January 4, 2017

Merion Golf Club (East)

Ardmore, Pa. / 6,592 yards, Par 70 / Points: 67.9751
merion gc east-course hole 16
Stephen Szurlej

6. Merion Golf Club (East)

Hugh Wilson & Richard S. Francis (1912)/William Flynn (R. 1923, 1925, 1930, 1933)/Perry Maxwell (R. 1939)/Dick Wilson (R. 1964)/Gil Hanse (R. 1995 & 2014)/Tom Fazio (R. 2001, 2010)

What a delight it was to see Merion East, long considered the best course on the tightest acreage in America, host the U.S. Open in 2013. Today's generation of big hitters couldn't conquer the little old course, couldn't consistently hit its twisting fairways, which are edged by creeks, hodge-podge rough and OB stakes and couldn't consistently hit its canted greens edged by bunkers that stare back. It's a certainty that it won't take another 32 years for the U.S. Open to return to Merion.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 5, 1989-90 1995-96, 2015-16, Previous ranking: No. 5


Panelist comments:
“Without stunning backdrops, Merion (East) has the bones that any golf course could ask for. Exudes sporty and everything is “pure golf.” A design that is as good a test as any, while lacking the length of other courses, with its complex greens.”

“Simply a remarkable connection between the golf course and the clubhouse -- with the first tee being a couple feet away from members’ dining table -- it doesn’t get more charming than this. The feel of golf and atmosphere at Merion upholds the traditional values of the game of golf as good as any course I've seen. The old feel and wicker-basket flagsticks are truly timeless.”

“The first two shots are by far the two most intimidating opening shots in golf. Outstanding in most ways, it was a true pleasure to experience and felt like a walk thru golf architecture and history. The final three holes are an amazing way to end the trip around.”

“Every shot matters at Merion. The yardage on the scorecard is simply a distraction, and not an indication of the test on every shot. A miss, on any shot, results in significant penalty.”

“Simply the best course for variety with the flow of short and long holes, doglegs and straight holes, uphill and downhill. Just a spectacular inland course.”


Stephen Szurlej

Hole No. 17

Getty Images

Hole No. 16 / Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Stephen Szurlej

Hole No. 16