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Philling the GAP: 125 Years and Counting

Still talking about this 125th birthday? Frankly, we’re just getting started. In just four days, GAP officially celebrates its 125th birthday. Seven men from four clubs — Belmont Golf Association (now Aronimink Golf Club), Merion Cricket Club (now Merion Golf Club), Philadelphia Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club — gathered in Center City for the purpose of forming GAP. Stay tuned for a GAPTV special at the site of this birthplace. Once GAP selected its officers and Executive Committee, the inaugural BMW GAP Team Matches began in earnest. It is the Association’s cornerstone event. GAP today includes 300 Member Clubs and 90,000 individual members spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey.

  • GAP will conduct a formal 125th birthday gala on Aug. 15 at Wilmington Country Club. More details to follow.
  • “From Pine Valley to Merion. From Aronimink to St. Davids and many others to Philadelphia Country Club … you have world-class courses here,” Arnold Palmer, “A Centennial Tribute to GOLF in Philadelphia” foreword
  • Since its inception, GAP has sustained its mission: to preserve, protect and promote the game of golf.
  • Thirty-four individuals have served as GAP President. On April 5, 1897, George D. Fowle was elected the first president of GAP. Overbrook Golf Club’s Oscar Mestre currently serves as president.
  • During GAP’s formative years, Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Harold B. McFarland and William P. Smith emerged as the region’s premier golfers.

January 2022

Instead of “New year, new you,” how about, “New year, same storied you?” GAP, the oldest state or regional golf association in the country, celebrates a special milestone in 2022. Can you believe it’s our 125th birthday? The cake will be cut in concert with the BMW Championship on Aug. 15 at Wilmington Country Club. More details on the 125th celebration. will follow in the coming months. GAP (Golf Association of Philadelphia) was founded in 1897 by members of the Belmont Golf Association (now Aronimink Golf Club), Merion Cricket Club (now Merion Golf Club), Philadelphia Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club. George Fowle, a Philadelphia Country Club member, was elected the first GAP president on April 5, 1897. Since its inception, GAP has sustained its mission: to preserve, protect and promote the game of golf.  

  • On Feb. 5, 1897, seven men from four clubs gathered at the Market Street National Bank for the purpose of founding GAP.
  • The BMW GAP Team Matches (formerly known as the Interclub Matches) started upon GAP’s founding in 1897. The first BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship (then known as the Individual Championship Tournament) occurred.
  • James W. Finegan’s “A Centennial Tribute to GOLF in Philadelphia” commemorated GAP’s 100th anniversary in 1997. It includes a foreword by the great Arnold Palmer.
  • GAP today includes 300 Member Clubs and 90,000 individual members spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey.