Tuesday, April 2, 2013

U.S. Open Returns to Merion for the Fifth Time.

The Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, will host the 2013 U.S. Open Golf Championship June 13-16. It is the fifth Open to be held at Merion.
The most recent Open here in 1981 was won by Australian, David Graham. The event will mark the Centennial of the Marion Golf Club and a special exhibit “The Art of Golf” is being presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
in its honor from March 16 to July 7.
No golf club in the nation has hosted more USGA championships than Merion. The 2013 Open will be the 18th national championship at the club.  Previously, the club has also been the site of the 1916, ‘24, ‘30, ‘66, ‘89 and 2005 Amateurs; the 1904, ‘09, ‘26, and 1949 U.S. Women's Amateurs; the 1998 U.S. Girls' Junior and the 1960 World Amateur Team Championships.
Designed by Hugh Wilson, Merion Golf Club's East Course was opened in 1912. Its perhaps best known as the where Bobby Jones won the 1930 U.S. Amateur to complete the “Grand Slam.”  Hugh Wilson had never designed a golf course, so he went on a seven-month trip to Scotland and England to study British courses. Several features of Merion East are derived from famous British courses, not the least of which are Merion's distinctive Scottish-style bunkers, which are now known as the "white faces of Merion"
Wilson's layout covers only 126 acres of land, a very small area for a golf course. It was ranked seventh in Golf Digest's "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses" in 2005, and Jack Nicklaus has said of Merion East, "Acre for acre, it may be the best test of golf in the world."
Bill Iredale, Merion's championship committee chairman stated, "we feel that our East Course is a very special venue, a classic golf course which, while lengthened some 400 yards to accommodate modern players and equipment, still retains the same shot angles, bunkering and greens that challenged Bob Jones in 1930, Ben Hogan in 1950, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in 1971 and David Graham in 1981."
Jim Hyler, chairman of the USGA championship committee said, "we are pleased to bring a U.S. Open back to an old friend in Merion. We have no doubt the East Course will provide a sufficient challenge for the world's best players."
“The Art of Golf,” an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art showcases “The Golfers,” a renowned seven-foot wide 1847 painting by Scottish painter Charles Lees that is admired by golfers worldwide.  The exhibition will feature portraits of golfers, a historic feather golf ball and antique Scottish clubs, and highlights the art and sport of golf in Victorian Britain.
An iconic painting, The Golfers (1847), by Scottish painter Charles Lees (1800–1880), is the centerpiece of The Art of Golf exhibition celebrating what has been called “a game of considerable passion” Modern golf’s roots can be traced to the east coast of Scotland, where kings and commoners have played the game since at least the fifteenth century. Lees’s monumental painting (7 foot.wide by 4.25 foot. high) shows  fifty-four spectators clustered tightly around a two-ball foursome match played on the links at St. Andrews. 

James Weaver
Senior Travel Writer
GolfWiz Blog