The Golf Association of Philadelphia (“GAP” for short) is one of the premier assemblies of golf clubs in the entire country. Their mission is to preserve, protect and promote the game of golf; and they’ve been doing so for a little over 120 years. With member-clubs including Merion GC, Aronimink GC, Philadelphia CC, and Philadelphia Cricket Club the GAP plays host to some of the best localized amateur tournaments found across the globe.
With 60+ events open to the members of the 200-and-counting clubs apart of the GAP, the 4 majors always draw the most attention.. and rightfully so. With serious competition at the amateur level, the GAP major venues consistently challenge the tri-state area’s best golfers between roughly the ages of 14 and 65. This year’s Middle-Amateur, BMW Philadelphia Amateur, Open Championship and Joseph H. Patterson Cup will surely be no different.
The first of the majors is the Middle-Amateur, open to qualifying golfers over the age of 25 and a max handicap index of 7.0 (Better luck in the other events local high-school and college studs). It’s being held this year in late May at the William Flynn designed Rolling Green Golf Club. This beaut of a track in Springfield PA hosted the USGA’s U.S. Women’s Am in 2016. The Mid-Am is a 2-day 36 hole stroke-play event, with a cut to 70 & ties after day 1.
Next on the docket is the BMW Philadelphia Amateur, better known around these parts as The Philly Am. Bringing home this chip solidifies bragging rights for life at any GAP club. This years Philly Am is being held in June at the lesser-known Elverson PA club simply called Stonewall. The estate is surrounded by farmland for miles in each direction and is home to two championship golf courses, both designed by modern guru Tom Doak over a 15 year period. In my opinion, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to hideaway in total peace for a weekend. (Pine Valley does come to mind though…) 36 qualifying holes on day 1 will decide the 32 players facing bracket-style elimination match-play over the weekend, with one man coming out on top.
When July rolls around, the area’s best professionals get their shot at some hardware. It’s a clash between those who play for pride and those who are hoping to take home a Happy Gilmore style check along with the trophy. Much closer to civilization, Huntingdon Valley Country Club is the site of the 2019 GAP Open Chamionship. Another Flynn design (this guy was pumping out gems in the roaring 20’s) located about 7 miles northeast of Philadelphia, HVCC is many folks favorite track in all of Philly. 36 holes of stroke-play will decide the winner here.
2019’s final GAP major is the hallowed Joseph H. Patterson Cup. Considered by many the most pivotal of the 4 tournaments, as it plays a big part in deciding GAP Player of the year and Silver Cross Award winners. This year’s Pat-Cup will be played at the youngest venue of the year, Malvern PA’s Applebrook Golf Club. Famed modern architect Gil Hanse designed this walking-only course in the earlier 2000’s. One final 36 holes of stroke-play for 2019’s best amateurs in the GAP to get their name in the history books.
Check out Bladed-Wedge family members Bob Purcell and Emmet Dowling pictured below… lets see if either of them can make some noise in coming GAP majors! Wouldn’t necessarily get your hopes up..