Christman captures charm, challenge of Chester Valley
MALVERN, Pa. — Chester Valley Golf Club (par 70, 6,284 yards) lived up to its challenging yet captivating reputation Wednesday as it hosted the 22nd Christman Cup. Three of its members — John Curran, Shane Lawler, and Andrew Ranaudo — competed in 36 holes amidst grueling heat.
“Chester Valley is different from many courses in the area because it’s extremely hilly,” Ranaudo, 18, of Malvern, Pa., said. “The greens are fantastic, today especially. However, the slopes are small, which means you have to strategize your way around it.”
“The greens can be pretty tricky,” Lawler, 18, of Malvern, Pa., added. “It honestly takes a couple of times to get used to the course and learn the ins and outs of it.”
Lawler led the Chester Valley contenders with a score of 6-over-par 146. Ranaudo finished at 28-over-par 168, Curran at 47-over-par 187. While it was a demanding and exhausting day on the course, the Chester Valley members realize the significance of its club hosting a GAP event.
“It’s awesome. There’s not a lot of kids here that can bring a lot of guests, so for other Juniors to see our high-level golf course is important to us,” Ranaudo, a graduate of Archbishop Carroll High School and incoming Dayton University freshman, said. “The grounds staff did an amazing job of getting the course ready, and it couldn’t have been a better showing of the club.”
“I think this is great awareness for our club and a tremendous venue to host the event,” Curran, 14, of Malvern, Pa., an incoming freshman at Great Valley High School, added.
While embracing the importance of their club hosting a GAP event, these members spend a lot of time not only playing golf at Chester Valley, but with each other.
“Shane and John are some of my closest friends,” Ranaudo, who will be studying finance and economics at Dayton, said. “We play with each other here all the time, and it’s always fun to be around those two.”
“We play with each other a good bit,” Lawler, who will be studying computer science and business at Franklin & Marshall, said. ‘’It’s nice to go out there and play competitively with these guys when you would normally play leisurely.”
The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, former GAP Executive Committee member (1980-89) and Director of Competitions (1989-99). He chaired the organization’s Junior Committee and thereby oversaw the administration of its Junior schedule annually. “Fred has been part of the glue that has held this organization together, making things work and handling many tough situations. Certainly, with the exception of Jim Sykes, no other individual has been as closely identified with GAP activities and players as Fred regardless of their status on the Executive Committee or staff,” former GAP President Ray Cross (1997-99) wrote in a letter published in the October 1999 Philadelphia Golfer. Christman died on Sept. 14, 2019 at the age of 86.
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.