1. Pickering Valley Golf Club. I don’t feel good about putting the pride of Phoenixville, PA on this list. It was in some ways a course I grew up on, and had a lot of good times on. Pickering Valley slowly became banned as I actually played other golf courses. Pickering is a boring course that is routed over a good piece of property. It has huge green complexes with greens that run at various speeds. You never know exactly how far away you are from the pin, and the last time I played there I had to walk off after 3 hours. I was on the 7th green. On the bright side feel free to rock a pair of Wranglers and T-shirt.
2. Ingleside Golf Club. Thorndale, PA. I couldn’t find a legitimate website for Ingleside. Once part of the Ron Jaworski conglomerate, this course has always held a special place on my list of banned courses. It was always short, always awful, and then they decided to run some condo/townhomes through the course requiring a redesign that left them with a 5,100 yd par 68. If that is what they were going to be left with they should have just thrown up a couple of swing sets, and called the place a park.
3. Linfield National Golf Club. Located in the shadows of the Nuclear cooling towers in Limerick, PA this course was once known as Sycamore Ridge and then later as Twin Towers. The course opened to some fanfare, because they had bent grass (ooooh), and I think I paid almost $50 dollars the first time I ever played there. Worst money I’ve ever spent. Go into your living room, and try to lay out an 18 hole gold course. That’s about how much room there is at Linfield National. Linfield National, come with lowered expectations, a hard hat, and a first aid kit just in case.
4. Lederach Golf Club. Harleysville, PA. Lederach is another one of these courses that opened up thinking they were going to be able to charge a fortune, and just sit back and watch the money roll in. The only problem was they forgot to design a decent golf course. Worst set of greens I’ve ever seen. Ever. Throw in some partially completed housing complexes, and some really large piles of dirt, and you’ve got Lederach. People have caught on. I think you can play there for about a thirty spot these days. On the upside, nice dining area, and a decent range.
5. Kimberton Golf Club. Phoenixville, PA. Kimberton has all the qualifications. Up and back monotony is its most distinct feature, and of course there are the 150 yard birdhouses. At one time they charged an obscene amount to play this place, but as competition has sprung up they have lowered the price. But that’s the point…there is always a better option. Sealing its fate as a banned course is the 6th tee, which has been a driving range mat for as long as I can remember. You’d think at some point they’d grow some grass on this tee. Also, it is home to a population of very strange Goose/Swan/Duck hybrids, and that’s just not natural.
6. Springfield Country Club. Banned by reputation. From what I’ve heard Springfield Country Club has a tendancy to be allergic to grass. Get there early in the season, or be prepared to leave with a thin coat of dust on everything you brought.
7. Loch Nairn. Loch Nairn is just another hot mess. Located in Toughkenamon, it’s your standard short, up and back, cramped dogleg disaster that isn’t worth playing in an era when other reasonable public course options exist.
8. Riverwinds. West Deptford, NJ. This place is awful. Playing it right now. Greens suck, fairways suck, bunkers are unrecognizable, slow play, fairways end arbitrarily into hazards. Worst. Course. Ever. But, the cart girl was smoking, so I suggest showing up, and just nosing around the grounds for a bit.
In Memorium: Valley Forge. Valley Forge at one time was the epitome of banned. The signature of Valley Forge was the uniformly cut grass. It seemed everything was the same height. Stupid doglegs, slow play, tiny greens, it was a nightmare. Thankfully, the land Valley Forge sat on became too valuable, and the site is destined to become housing.