Middletown Country Club
celebrates centennial despite
By Tony Regina
Middletown Country Club of Lang- horne, Pa., club has had eight owners and five name changes in
its 100 years of operation. Management has changed more often than models
change at a fashion show. All that plus a two-alarm clubhouse fire made this
country club’s demise seem inevitable.
The club seemed doomed from the start. But Middletown didn’t get the
memo. The Langhorne staple celebrates its 100th birthday this year – a milestone made possible by a faithful and fervent golf following.
“It’s come a long way,” Ed Congdon, president of the Middletown Men’s Golf
Association, said. “It’s a place where you can go and people are down to earth.
They recognize you when you walk through the door. The clientele is very nice.”
“I know it sounds like a cliché, but it kind of reminds me of Cheers – where
everybody knows your name,” said Hoban, the club’s professional of five years.
“Even though 90 percent of our rounds are public rounds, we have a good core
group of players that come and see us week-in and week-out, and for that we’re
obviously grateful. It’s a fun place to be around.”
In addition to Middletown’s loyalists, the club has welcomed famous figures
that illuminate its 100-year history such as Ben Hogan, Johnny Miller and Gary
As part of Philadelphia PGA Golf Week in 1941, Al MacDonald, Middletown’s head professional of 21 years, paired with Huntingdon Valley Country
Club’s Joe Kirkwood, Sr., a renowned trick shot artist, in a match against
Hogan and Jimmy “Titanic” Thompson, then the longest-hitting player on
The Langhorne, Pa., club has had eight
owners and five name changes in its
100 years of operation. It is also a place
Gary Player once called home.
tour. MacDonald and Kirkwood prevailed, 1-up.
Johnny Miller’s wife, Linda, grew
up in nearby Hulmeville, Pa. Miller has
played the Middletown course on trips
into the area.
To become eligible to play on the
PGA Tour in the early 1960s, Player
needed to work as a professional at a
golf course. He served as Middletown’s
resident professional during the 1960s.
“George Fazio [who owned Middletown
during that time], took him under his
wing and lent him some money to get
him started,” Hoban said. “How much he
was actually here is unclear. He could’ve
been here in name only. A lot of the older members say that he was here.”
Player, Miller and Hogan played a course that measures 6,217 yards from
the tips. What Middletown lacks in size, it makes up for in character, according
to Hoban. He cites No. 15 – a dicey dogleg par 4 that plays 430 yards from the
back tees – as one of the club’s signature holes.
“The fairway slopes from right to left, but you have to draw the ball around
two large oak trees off the tee,” Hoban said. “Anything that resembles a fade at
worst could go out of bounds, or at best is going to leave you with a long