JC Melrose Country Club
|Blue M: 68.9/128||387||497||159||143||368||320||353||211||348||2786||302||328||372||378||385||510||385||217||339||3216||6002|
|White M: 67.1/124 W: 73.3/132||379||437||154||138||312||315||340||203||343||2621||296||324||366||342||380||480||380||185||334||3087||5708|
|Red W: 70.2/121||348||377||132||117||216||291||290||166||286||2223||242||308||345||287||348||416||365||145||313||2769||4992|
classic old style
This is a classic old style course using hilly terrain and small greens in the design. There are enough trees lining the fairways but not enough to make them unplayable. This first trip was a learning experience playing some of these holes. Unfortunately the course conditions are average at best. Most of the greens were good and they putted well but a handful nestled in trees had bare spots. It isn't a long course but two par 3's in 8 and 17 require a long iron or a hybrid along with accuracy. Accuracy is a key for the entire course.
It's sad to see what has become of this course. Even in downtrodden/uncertain times, it seemed like they at least kept the course in good/acceptable condition in various trips throughout the years. That has apparently changed, as the course was in despicable shape; greens were a complete mess on the front nine, with huge patches of dirt/disease/whatever. Most fairways had some sort of crabgrass infestation which turned all but a handful of them completely white. When I found a rake in a trap, it was a rake snapped in half. Shocked that they are charging $35; I wouldn't spend $5 to play here again. Do better, Melrose.
Good, short layout. Needs attention
The layout is a short, but challenging. Lots of elevation changes and you need to bring your range finder to every tee to decide what club to hit. I hit driver, 3 wood, 3 hybrid and 5 iron off the tee on the par 4's so you really need to think your way around the course. They 2 biggest needs are: Sand in the bunkers and major tree trimming. The bunkers are like rocks. You cannot play a normal bunker shot from them. Several holes have trees that taken away the line of play that the architect designed from the tee. The par 3 8th is almost completely blocked out by trees coming from short and right of the green. It is a tiny green to begin with but to have it blocked by the trees makes it nearly impossible to hit from the blue tees. I enjoyed my round but this course would be a gem if it got a little more attention in those 2 areas.
Fantastic Hidden Gem
I drove up from MD to play this and LuLu and let me say what gem's these places are! Both were once private clubs that have recently gone public and are absolute classic courses from the 1920's.
The guy in the pro shop told us that there were still 12 original MacKenzie greens left and the course tightened up and lost some parts when they added the road for expansion starting around hole 5. As a previous review mentioned, hole 2 is a classic MacKenzie design of a reachable par 5 running/sloping fairway to an uphill well guarded green. An absolutley tremndous hole. On the front only holes 4 and 7 are not original greens and the boldness of the contouring on these greens make for tremendous fun and are paced at reasonable speeds. #10 might be the best green on the course and don't believe it is MacKenzie but more looks like Maxwell design. Spend time putting on this green is there is no one behind. 17 and 18 are great finishing holes to complete this short and tight course but an absolute joy to play.
I played here on a Saturday afternoon. This course used to be private years ago, but I heard that in recent years they have gone public, and I thought I'd give it a try. It seems to keep a low profile as not many people I know have heard of it.
The layout is fairly short by modern standards (around 6,000 yards from the tips) but very interesting. Many of the par 4 and 5 holes do not require length off the tee, but accurate iron play with the small-ish well guarded greens. There are two long par 3's (#8 and #17) that are probably some of the most difficult in the area, requiring extremely accurate tee shots to have a chance at par. #5 through #9 are on the other side of the road, accessed through a tunnel. #5 is a tough hole where you have to decide whether to carry the wide creek or lay up to a small "pod", followed by an uphill shot to a narrow green complex.
Course conditions were excellent, especially for this location and the price paid. The only thing I could fault it for is that a couple of the bunkers had poor drainage and had mud spots, but this was only a few of them. The greens are not lightening fast, but this is necessitated by the fact that these are old style small greens with bold contouring; any faster and they might be extremely difficult to putt.
Course was busy but not packed, mostly twosomes and threesomes, I was finished in less than 3.5 hours. I showed up as a single, a foursome was teeing off right then and the cart guy (Dave, very helpful) suggested I tee off on #4 to get ahead of them. This worked out great, I later ended up pairing up with a twosome I caught up with, and the overall pace was good even when we caught up with larger groups. Then came around to play #1-3 and the front nine was empty.
I did not check out the food and beverage offerings but they did seem to have sort of a halfway house you could stop at after #9 along with some water jugs on the course.
Not sure what the walking policy is, but everyone I saw was riding, and a cart was included in the $45 fee I paid so I rode. I'm guessing they don't want people walking in the tunnel underneath the road, and it is a bit of a hike from #4 green to #5 tee and from #9 green to #10 tee.
All in all, a great round, I hope to return to this hidden gem soon.
So glad I found this course
Moved to Philadelphia just over a year ago and was pretty disappointed by the golf course offerings, especially coming from Michigan. Either have to drive 1+ hour or play a local muni that is beat down by June due to lack of maintanence. Had found 1 course within an hour drive that is pretty good but the employees could care less about your experience. After being fed up with that course, and searching GolfNow I stumbled across JC Melrose. A friend and I decided to give it a try a couple weekends in a row and see how it was. Couldn't believe what a gem this place is, especially so close to home. Great practice areas (i.e.. putting green, short game area, and range [irons only]). The short game area is actually kept and maintained very well. Putting green is very similar in terms of speed to greens on the course, and the range is enough to warm up on. The overall course is pretty challenging, you need to know where to miss and your irons will get a great work out. Although a "short" track my driver still gets enough use to make me smile if I'm hitting well, but if I'm not, I can still pull a wood or hybrid off the tee and not be overly penalized. The biggest thing that is going to keep me coming are the employees. So much better than the other courses in the area. The second time we played our tee time for two of us was right in the middle of three 4-somes playing together. We went to talk with the starter and they happily went to see where we could start as an alternate. Ended up starting on 5 or 6 and allowed us to play the first few holes at the end. Super friendly group of guys.
If you're looking for a place to call your home course I encourage you to check this place out, it's going to take a lot to pull me away from here for the foreseeable future.
Loved the layout unique course 1 thru 18 definitely coming back
Not what it was
Played this course about 5 years ago and was very impressed, what a 180 for this place. Start with the bag drop guy. Put bags on the cart, had to be re-strapped because really all he did was lean them on the back of the cart. Go into clubhouse to pay and nobody around for a good 5 minutes. Lady came out and wasn't very pleasant, maybe we interrupted her break. Head out to hit the putting green, there's bag drop guy in my cart over yonder chatting up 2 young girls. As for the golf, course is fairly tight. Fairways are extremely tight. No reason to have 6 inch rough on a holiday weekend when the short grass is fairly difficult to hit. Greens were in pretty good shape, tee boxes could have been better. Bunkers might as well have been filled with cement. After a 3 hour front, yes 3 hour front. Did I mention they allow 5-somes out on holidays? We had 2 5-somes in front of us that we saw, who knows how many more were out there. Skipped 4 holes on the back and was able to make it off of the course in just under 5 hours. 4:52 to play 14 holes. There is no integrity in tee times, jam as many people out there and collect the fee. Get back to the club house and not a word between our group and bag drop guy. We're throwing out our water bottles, he's trying to take off in the cart. I assume this place is under new ownership from previous years and it's really sad to see what they've done to a once terrific course. If you like 7 hour rounds, rude attendants, hackers stealing your ball (when the rough doesn't eat it) and an overall miserable place then Melrose is the course for you.
Had never thought of playing here in past but was pleasantly surprised by the Hot Deal that I was able to land on Sunday at 1:00 pm! Course layout is very interesting w/ several blind shots, lots of twists and turns. There are several older trees that need to be trimmed, but overall was a very pleasant surprise.
Not all that long but,STAY OUT OF THE ROUGH
Most fairways are very narrow and there is no first cut. The rough is high and thick.Impossible to score unless in the short grass. A lot of the holes are very hilly which ads to the course length . The greens rolled true but were much slower than the last time I played here. Not for the older golfer or anyone physically handicapped (as I am).The hills will wear you out. Players need to fix their ball marks!!!
Short Track With Character
If you want to touch up your iron game play here. You'll pay the price for missed approach shots. The driver can be put in the bag for most tee shots. Putts can emulate a roller coaster ride on some greens. Tee boxes are in good shape. Keep an eye on your ball because the rough is treacherous. Good Luck
Amazing Design in Need of some Love
I heard a lot of JCM before I played it. A few years ago I was living in the area (it was private at the time) and people told me it was a great option for the greater Philly area. No semi-private (or full public, hard to tell) I decided to take a flyer and check it out.
First of all the facilities are interesting to say the least. The large, modern clubhouse seemed completely empty as did the halfway house, the proshop was basucally run out of the cart barn. Also the range is small but totally fine for a warm up.
The absolute best part of JCM is the design. You always hear about golf course this "good bones" well this is one for sure. While not long (I'd say it played sub 6000 from the back tees the day I played), JCM is tight and requires precision throughout thanks to elevation changes and blind shots. The 2nd hole, a hard dog leg left reachable par 5, is one of the highlights of the round and a hole that screams Alister MacKenzie. If you were looking for JCM's closest link to other MacKenzie designs #2 is it with its rolling fairway and tilted green. I also loved the par 4 5th. A design that really doesn't exist in modern golf, #5 features a blind tee shot to a split fairway. To hit one of the fairway options a shot of either 150 yards or no more then 220 must be hit. The landing area (like everything at JCM) is narrow but essential to hit considering the severely uphill blind approach to a very tiny green. On the back 17 and 18 are a great closing duo, a long uphill par 3 and a downhill par 4 with a hazard down the right to a blind approach finish the round in style.
Now JCM isn't without flaws. First of all the course is very overgrown, making some holes insanely tight and kind of unplayable. On the 6th I smashed a FW down the left side of the fairway only to be blocked from the green by an overgrown tree. The 8th hole, a very tough long par 3 (kind of a half par hole from the back tees) had the flag tucked front and right. Unfortunately overhanging branches make the right side of the green inaccessible for the most part. My biggest gripe is the bunker condition at JCM. Bunkers had little to no sand in them and were absolutely rock hard. Many of the fairway bunkers than don't provide much protection against modern golf tech were clearly left for dead and starting to grown in a bit.
Bottom line this is one of the best little gems around Philly. It's short enough to be a lot of a fun for most golfers yet challenging enough (at points) for better players to have to hit some really quality shots to score. The greens are solid, very subtle, and tough to judge from the fairway considering the amount of blind approaches on the course (maybe 12 shots are blind or partially blind into the green). My hope is by going semi-private JCM can drum up some funding to clean up the rough edges that are holding the design back from being one of the coolest, quirkiest loops in the area.
This is one of the most helpful reviews and wanted to thank you for being so thorough. I'm playing the course for the first time tomorrow and appreciate the time you took to observe the layout during your round. I'm much more excited to play after reading this. Thank you!
Best public course in philly
Course is well maintained and challenging. Priced right.
Short course with nice lay out
A public course less than 25 minutes from Center City and it turned out to be a decent place. It had it's areas of dead grass and patchy fairways, but as the round progressed the conditions improved. Front 9 is mostly in the woods once you cross under the road and the back 9 is pretty open aside from 16-18. The whites played like 5700 yards I believe and only one hole over 500 yards. I was able to use my driver, but longer hitters may have to take a more precise approach. Greens were pretty challenging. Lots of the bunkers were pretty deep and hard to hit out of because the "sand" was hard. Thick rough.
Our two some got stuck behind a five some. It was a Monday afternoon, so I wouldn't expect a ranger and was just upset that they didn't let us play through. Then we saw a seven some later in the round so clearly its the norm at this course to just let groups play together.
Overall, the lay out was fun with some nice holes and it is much better than FDR and similar to Bryne, but much closer to the city. Not the nicest place in the world, but we did enjoy ourselves.
Great play for the money, Hidden Gem
short, tight and challenging. The course has slopes that make you thik off the tee.Can't just grab a driver an bomb away.
Facilities are above average, Cart guy is the best!