Member Club Profile
Presented by Impriano
Examine the traits constant throughout Bala’s
115-year history, too. Proud, passionate, graced
with celebrity and grateful of a job well done —
all the makings of a true Philadelphian.
“A day does not go by where somebody
doesn’t stop me and thank me,” Jay Parisien,
Yes, Bala is part of William Flynn’s portfolio,
but the renowned architect isn’t solely responsi-
ble for the golf course that exists today.
In 1900, Charles Hickman decided to dabble
in golf after witnessing a foursome play at Phil-
adelphia Country Club. He enlisted friend John
Shibe and his pair of iron clubs to carry out his
newfound interest. Their equipment shattered
after the two attempted to hit shots off cobble-
stones near Bryn Mawr Avenue. Hickman re-
mained golf-crazed and laid out three makeshift
holes in a cow pasture near City Line Avenue.
The layout failed to satisfy an uncontrollable
Hickman then obtained a sublease for more
land near Christ Church Hospital and created five
holes. Men paid an annual fee of $1, women 50
cents for playing privileges at Hickman’s “club.”
Florence Vanderbeck, the 1915 U.S. Women’s
Amateur Champion, was one of the first to apply
for membership, according to records.
Given a rapid growth in popularity, Hickman
sought expansion and consulted with a group of
businessmen, including James A. Logan, counsel
Location is an obvious reason. It’s only one of two private facilities within
the city limits.
Not so obvious is a fascinating historical factoid. William Penn, Philadelphia’s
forefather, purchased the land on which Bala is built for a consideration of
$40 and two sacks of flour in 1682.