Glen Oak Country Club
|Glen Oak Country Club|
250 Oakford Rd
Clarks Summit, PA 18411
Architect: William Harrison
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In the 1940s, a group of prominent Scranton businessmen began a search for a site for an alternative country club. This search originally encompassed the entire Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area but soon shifted to Clarks Summit, Pa.
In September 1951, the Oakford Estate became available and 16 future Glen Oak members contributed $100 each for an option on the 138-acre property. The property included a barn (now the maintenance center) and two bungalows (which now house the general manager’s and course superintendent’s families), as well as the Oakford family’s summer estate.
The club was called the Excelsior Social Club until December 1952 with Harold Phillips serving as the first club president.
Soon after the club was organized, the membership retained James Harrison, a noted area golf architect with several dozen layouts to his credit, to design the course. Some of Harrison’s other efforts include Penn State University Golf Course, Scotch Valley Golf Club in Holidaysburg, Latrobe Country Club and Warwick Hills Country Club in Michigan, site of an annual PGA TOUR event.
Work on the course began in 1952 under the direction of Isadore Spitz and Irving Jackman. The first nine holes (now Nos. 1-5, 15-18) were opened for play on Oct. 11, 1953. The remaining nine holes opened on June 3, 1961 and the course reconfigured to the present sequence. The first hole, a downhill, then uphill par 5, is extremely narrow but features an attractive panoramic view of the majority of the course. Nos. 2-5 are a gentle introduction to your round. The difficult sixth requires an uphill, left to right tee shot placed between two large oaks, but shots lost here can be recovered on the wide open, short par 5 seventh. Nos. 8-11 demand precision but then two more birdie opportunities arise in the short par 4s, 12 and 13. The course finishes with five very difficult holes.
In recent years, additional forward and back tees were constructed. As a result, members can play the course from as short as 4,800 or as long as 6,600 yards.
In 2002, the club totally redesigned and rebuilt the ninth hole, a short par 3 that sits in front of the clubhouse. The original hole featured a severely sloping green, which became almost unplayable over the years.
Architects raised the front of the green and eliminated the back as well as added bunkering to the front left.
The Oakford home was converted into a dining facility in July 1952 with a dining room added in 1955 and a major kitchen expansion in 1971. In 1978, the main clubhouse burned to the ground and was replaced by the present locker room facility. The new clubhouse was completed on Aug. 17, 1987.
The club has also constructed several putting, chipping and bunker practice areas, a driving range and tennis courts. In 2001, the club completed construction of a new swimming pool house featuring a cafe and locker rooms, a big hit with the club’s families.
Glen Oak joined the Golf Association of Philadelphia in 2002.