A GAME WE NEVER STOPPED PLAYING.
Scroll down to view milestones in GAP’s legacy.
FIRST INTERCLUB TEAM MATCH IN THE PHILADELPHIA AREA.
Just two years after the USGA was founded, the first interclub match in the Philadelphia region saw Devon Golf Club square off against Philadelphia Cricket Club, with the latter winning by a score of 22-12. Such a good time was had by both sides that the idea of interclub matches on a broader scale was discussed and embraced.
THE GOLF ASSOCIATION OF PHILADELPHIA IS FORMED.
Seven founders from four clubs gathered together outside of the Market Street National Bank to form the Golf Association of Philadelphia. Founding members Milton C. Work and Dr. Henry Toulmin of what we know today as Aronimink Golf Club, joined Rodman E. Giscom and Walter E. Stephenson of Merion Cricket Club, George D. Fowle and Isaac T. Starr of Philadelphia Country Club and Samuel Y. Heebner of Philadelphia Cricket Club to formalize the plans. At the outset, the objective of the Association was simple: promote the interest in the game of golf and to regulate all competitions between Member Clubs.
A LITTLE COMPETITION NEVER HURT ANYBODY.
In the early years, the Association’s competitive spirit burned just as hot as it does today as Albert H. Smith faced challengers from far and near, most notably his brother William P. Smith. Albert took the very first Philadelphia Amateur with his brother W.P. taking the title following year. W.P. won the Philadelphia Amateur in 1898, 1901, and 1902 (edging Harold McFarland on the 36th hole for his last title). On five other occasions – 1899, 1903,1904,1910, and 1913 – W.P. Smith gained the final only to be defeated, twice by McFarland. Albert won only one other title, that in 1911.
A GAP LEGEND IS BORN.
Christened John Wood Platt, “Woody” Platt, was born April 16, 1899, and started playing golf at the age of 9. Of Scottish ancestry, he came by his golfing genes honestly, and it was an uncle who brought him three aluminum clubs from Scotland. With his cherished brassie, midiron and niblick, he knocked balls around a pasture in Roxborough that would be transformed into the Walnut Lane municipal course, a WPA project built in the late 1930s.
FIRST AMERICAN TO WIN THE U.S. OPEN.
Born in Philadelphia, and learning the game as a caddie at Aronimink Golf Club, McDermott’s career got off to as fast of a start as it would come to an abrupt close. His meteoric rise catapulted him to being the first American born golfer to win the U.S. Open Championship. Generally considered to be one of the world’s top players between 1910 and 1914, McDermott’s career was impacted after the cruise ship he was on was struck by another vessel. He would go on to spend the rest of his days residing at the Norristown State Hospital.
FOUNDING CLUB, MERION CRICKET, BECOMES MERION GOLF CLUB.
The Merion East Course’s course was opened up in 1912. Designed by Hugh Wilson, a 32-year-old member of the club who recently returned from a trip to the great courses of England and Scotland, Merion has hosted the most USGA Championships of any club in history (19 championships to date, including the 2026 U.S. Amateur Championship).
STORIED PINE VALLEY OPENS FOR PLAY.
In early 1913, George Crump purchased his first 184 acres off of Sumner Ireland at a price of $50 an acre to begin terraforming the hunting grounds off the Reading Railroad line into Pine Valle’s first 11 holes which opened for play in 1914. Holes 1 through 9, 10, and 18 were rounded out before completing the full 18 holes five years later in 1919, becoming the first version of what is today considered the best golf course in the world.
PLATT WINS FIRST AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.
At Huntingdon Valley Woody won his first Philadelphia Amateur, whipping the host club’s Horace Francine, the 1914 Champion, 8&6. J. Wood Platt would go on to win seven Championships, an achievement that still ranks first in GAP’s storied history.
HIS CAREER’S STRONG START HAD AN EVEN STRONGER FINISH.
William Hyndman, III won his first Amateur in 1935, becoming the youngest Amateur champion up until that point at the age of 19 years old. His career got off to a great start but it also had a strong closing as he returned a win in the 1983 U.S. Senior Amateur, becoming the USGA’s oldest champion at age of 67.
YOUNGEST AMATEUR CHAMPION CROWNED.
In 1949, at the age of 18 years old, 3 months, 19 days, Lincoln “Linc” Roden, III became the youngest player to win the Association’s Amateur Championship. A year later, he would go on to retain his title, defeating Bill Robinson of Whitemarsh Valley CC in 22 holes at Robinson’s home club. In addition to his playing career, Roden also made an impact as the former greens chairman at Huntingdon Valley where he was instrumental in restoring the course’s “C Nine.”
GERMAIN WINS U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR.
Dorothy Germain Porter won her first of three Pennsylvania Women’s Amateurs in 1946 after starting off her career with a number of junior and amateur golf championships. She went on to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1949, was a member of the U.S. winning team for the 1950 Curtis Cup and served as captain of the 1966 victory. In 1977 she became the first Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Match Play Champion to go on to win the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur—a title she would win again in 1980, ’81, ’83, and ’84. Dorothy was inducted to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
PLATT SERVES AS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT.
There’s only one person to serve as GAP President on two occasions, and of course, there is only one J. Wood Platt. Serving the first of his two stints in 1952-53 with the second one coming in 1956. Platt is the first and only Philadelphia Amateur Champion to become GAP President.
J. Wood Platt continued to change the course of the game he loved even when he was behind a desk rather than behind a club.
PLATT WINS FIRST U.S. SENIOR AMATEUR.
GAP’s most influential figure capped his storied playing career with a win of the first U.S. Senior Amateur Championship ever contested in 1955. The win would cap a playing career which included seven GAP Amateur Championships, 11 total GAP Major titles, four Joseph H. Patterson Cups, and a Junior Boys’ Champion in 1918.
John Dyniewski and Howard Everitt would face each other often throughout the 1950s and early 60s. Each man would go on to win three Amateur Championships in the time they competed. This was also a generally very competitive era for golf in the area as their late matches included an up-and-coming R. Jay Sigel out of Dyniewski’s own Whitemarsh CC.
THE J. WOOD PLATT CADDIE SCHOLARSHIP IS FOUNDED.
J. Wood Platt’s two terms as president along with his playing career would make him arguably the most influential GAP member in history. If it weren’t for the scholarship that bears his name, there might be an argument. But with the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust’s more than 3,600 young men and women who have received more than $22 million in financial aid as a result of the scholarship trust he founded in 1958, a year before his death, there really is no arguing who the most influential GAP member’s been over its long history.
TWO-TIME JUNIOR BOYS CHAMPION ROBERT MCMAHON.
In the 1950s one of the GAP’s most prolific amateur careers was getting underway. However, R. Jay Sigel, a Golf Association of Philadelphia Hall of Famer, lost in the Final in consecutive years to another competitor by the name of Robert McMahon. The two rose through the ranks from their younger years and went on to have respected careers in their own arenas. Another title McMahon would go on to earn in 1992 was Mayor of Media Borough.
O. GORDON BREWER, JR. WINS FIRST AMATEUR.
O. Gordon Brewer, Jr.’s golf career as a player alone would qualify him as a legend. A two-time Philadelphia Amateur Champion (1967 and 1976) and a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur title winner (1994 and 1996). The Association created the Brewer Cup in 2008 in his honor–an event that saw none other than Mr. Brewer himself win the Super Senior Division title in its inaugural year.
Shown here with his wife Gail, it is Mr. Brewer’s contributions outside of his playing career that makes him an even more remarkable figure. He was named recipient of the highly regarded USGA Bob Jones Award in 2009. Mr. Brewer is known for giving back to the game—serving on various national golf organization boards as well as locally as Chairman of the J. Wood Platt Scholarship from 1988 to 1992.
SIR CHARLES AND HIS AIRNESS TEE OFF.
The 1992 Tylenol Kids Classic Pro-Am at Commonwealth National GC saw a unique pair take to the course that day–when NBA Hall of Famers Michael Jordan with 76ers legend Charles Barkley serving as his caddie took to the links and stole the show.
SIGEL TURNS PRO AT THE AGE OF 50.
After enjoying what is arguably the greatest amateur playing career in GAP history, winning every kind of GAP major title there is to win along with wins in the U.S. Amateur, British Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur, among numerous other titles—R. Jay Sigel joined the Senior PGA Tour in 1994 and earned 14 Top-10 finishes to win Rookie of the Year honors. The strong start to his professional career resulted in eight Senior PGA Tour Championships. Sigel holds the record for most Philadelphia Open Championships with six. He was also a member of GAP’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2008.
THE GAP CELEBRATES ITS CENTENNIAL.
To commemorate GAP’s first 100 years, golf historian James W. Finegan wrote the book on all things GAP history— “A Centennial Tribute to Golf in Philadelphia” with a forward from Arnold Palmer. In addition to writing the foreward for the Centennial Tribute, Palmer was also the honored guest alongside Philadelphia Mayor and future Governor Ed Rendell at the celebratory dinner hosted at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
LANGE BECOMES FIRST TO COMPLETE CAREER GRAND SLAM.
Overbrook GC member Chris Lange already had three Amateur titles, three Patterson Cups and two Middle-Amateur Championships entering the 2004 Open Championship at Philadelphia CC. He would leave that event with a two-stroke victory and status as the first individual to win GAP’s career Grand Slam.
STEWART BECOMES SECOND-YOUNGEST TO WIN AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.
Winning GAP’s 102nd Amateur Championship at the age of 18, Billy Stewart become the second-youngest GAP member to win the Championship—nearing the feat of youngest winner Lincoln Roden, III (set in 1949).
CREATION OF THE GAP MAGAZINE.
Volume 1, Issue 1 hits the presses to continue to get the word out about all the news and events the GAP has to offer. Now well into its second decade, this quarterly publication keeps our membership informed of current and past accomplishments of our storied Association.
MCDERMOTT WINS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.
McDermott, a five-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year since 2000, wins his first Amateur Championship at Whitemarsh Valley in 2008.
BUDDY MARUCCI WINS U.S. SENIOR AMATEUR.
GAP Hall of Famer, George “Buddy” Marucci, Jr. has appeared in more than 50 USGA Championships, including a win in the 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur. His most notable battle was with then 19-year-old Tiger Woods in the Final of the 1995 U.S. Amateur Championship, the 100th playing of that event, where he would finish runner-up, falling 2-up.
As a longtime member of the Merion Golf Club, Marucci played in four Walker Cups, serving as captain for two of them. The United States team he captained in 2009 at his home club, the U.S. with Rickie Fowler spearheading the charge defeated Great Britain & Ireland, 16.5 to 9.5.
CHIP LUTZ ADDS U.S. SENIOR AMATEUR TO CHAMPIONSHIP COLLECTION.
Chip Lutz learned to play from his father Buddy who growing up in Reading learned the game from legendary Reading Country Club head pro Byron Nelson. The lineage holds strong as Chip has enjoyed an unprecedented senior career that includes nine straight Senior Player of the Year awards. He has won three R&A Seniors Amateur Championships, two Canadian Men’s Senior Amateur Championships and one U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, which he captured on this date in 2015 at a GAP Member Club (Hidden Creek Golf Club).
In 2014, Lutz’s completed GAP’s career lifecycle with a victory in the Senior Amateur Championship–as the only player to collect trophies in the Junior Boys’ (1972), Amateur (1977), Middle-Amateur (1998, 2007) and Senior.
THE GAP AND AGA MERGE.
GAP merged with the Anthracite Golf Association, an organization formed in 1951, to foster the game in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Simultaneously, GAP expanded its territory to include Central Pennsylvania.