1. Wyncote. If you are anywhere near Oxford, PA, Wyncote is worth a regular visit. From the back tees the course is as challenging as any public course in the area, but several more accomodating tee boxes are there for the casual player. Wyncote has a couple of tough par fours that play difficult no matter the conditions, but the toughness of the holes is usually determined by wind direction. If you like calm conditions, go play somewhere else. A one or two club wind is a regular day at Wyncote, and I have been there on days where the wind almost makes it unplayable. Reasonably priced, and easy to walk, Wyncote is one of the best values in the area.
2. Turtle Creek. Turtle Creek in Limerick, PA opened about a dozen years ago, and has been a success ever since. It’s a fun course to play, forgiving, with plenty of birdie opportunities for the better player. It’s almost always in great shape, especially considering the number of rounds they do there. The rough can be tough, and a few holes require a precision tee shot, but overall Turtle Creek is a great place to play a casual round. Great deals on weekdays and afternoons are also available.
3. Honeybrook. Honeybrook is another good track for players of all levels. A beginner will find plenty of room off the tee, and better players will be challenged, but also will find plenty of scoring opportunities. I rank Honeybrook slightly below Turtle Creek, because it’s a little easier, usually not quite in as good of shape, and is a more difficult walk, but still well worth a couple trips a season.
4. Bella Vista. Located in Gilbertsville, PA. I wasn’t a big fan of Bella Vista when it first opened, but they did a little redesign, and improved the course a good bit. There are a handful of holes I don’t like here, most notably the 1st, 5th, and 17th, but it also boasts a few very challenging par fours, and a pretty strong set of par threes that includes an island green. The island green hole is a legitimate and fun test that measures from 120-160 yards, and if the wind is blowing it becomes one of the toughest shots on the course. Not too walking friendly, but managable, and reasonably priced, Bella Vista is worth checking out.
5. Broad Run. Broad Run, originally known as Tattersall, is located just outside of West Chester, PA. Originally designed as an upscale public course the rates have dropped significantly in recent years, making it a much more worthwhile trip. Broad Run features spectacular elevation changes, and a number of very challenging holes. A little tight off some tees, Broad Run is not as forgiving as the other courses on this list. It’s a tough test for a beginner, and since they’ve reduced rates the condition has suffered a little bit, but it’s still worth a visit. Word of caution, the course isn’t walkable, and the driving range is awful, setting you up to hit directly into a hill. Update on Broad Run, played it May 19th, and it was in great shape, and paid a very reasonable rate. Strong recommendation.