JC Melrose Country Club

  14 Reviews

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.

He would play this course again.

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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.

He would play this course again.

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No comment.

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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.

He would play this course again.

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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.

He would play this course again.

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Ratings Breakdown

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(14)