Located southwest of Philadelphia, The Golf Course at Glen Mills offers a brawny, rugged, adventuresome layout. As part of the nation’s oldest (1826) residential facility for wayward youths, Glen Mills doubles as a “hands on” rehabilitative training ground, combining great golf with a great cause.
Glen Mills has also hosted the US Amateur Qualifier (2009), US Open Qualifier (2006), PGA Tour Saturday Series (2002) and US Amateur Public Links Qualifier (2001).
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At Glen Mills Schools, the golf course sought to provide vocational training for students in turf management, equipment repair and golf shop operations.
Approximately 50 students would work on the golf course in some capacity while reversing their troubled behaviors and making them upstanding members of society.
Golf Course Mission: “Our goal is to educate young men socially, academically and vocationally. Your experience here benefits student programs and scholarship funds, and supports our students in educational pursuits beyond Glen Mills.”
Variety is key to the design and experience at Glen Mills.
The front nine begins in a meadow before transitioning into forested areas. The back nine plays along wetlands, creeks and ponds, and is a full 300 yards shorter than the front.
Bunkers vary from tiny pots to an 80-yard fairway waste area along the 3rd fairway. Elevation changes and uphill approach shots are frequent across this par-71.
With most par 5’s, architects work to create interest for those attempting to get home in two. The 15th hole at Glen Mills is downhill into a green with the topography rolling away. This two-tiered green with a swale and lower level on the rear is unique for a Biarritz, but works well for a demanding approach into a par 5 green.
Golf courses should ebb and flow with difficulty, including greens, contours, lengths and other design elements. Glen Mills is highlighted by tight fairways and fast movement on greens. While the course can be penal, it is very playable, fair and fun when played from the right set of tees.
Glen Mills Schools provides youths with a second chance at turning their lives around. From this, dozens of alumni have successfully secured full-time jobs in the golf industry. Bobby Weed Golf Design is eternally grateful to have played a small part in this very successful program.
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