An annual “Hospitality Bowl” – comparable to the clay-shooting
version of a Super Bowl – is played between area clubs each year. This
regional overall championship is the ultimate prize for Philadelphia’s competitive shooters. The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale took home
top honors this past season while hosting on Nov. 12.
“It’s what every shooter in the area wants to compete in. It’s the
end-all, be-all event of the season,” said McCabe. “[The Bowl] rotates
around the clubs in the area and each takes a turn hosting. You’ve got
hundreds of shooters competing, plus you have the dinner and social
aspect going on. It’s the biggest event on everyone’s schedule and a ton
of planning goes into it.”
• • •
FINDING A FIT TING VENUE to host fully-functional facilities is the steepest dilemma clubs currently face in their pursuit of trap shooting. A number of clubs have expressed interest in starting a program themselves, but don’t have the necessary
provisions or space to do so.
The “gold standard” of shooting accommodations resides at Philadelphia Country,
just down the hill from the club’s main
entrance. A gorgeous stone building houses
a locker room downstairs full of guns and
equipment, while an upstairs lounge and bar
allows for dining and socializing. A trophy
cabinet displays the club’s shooting titles
obtained over the years. A centerpiece of the
room is found in the form of a taxidermized
golden bear overlooking the lounge.
“We’re extremely lucky to have the facilities we do here,” said Burke.
“It’s nice to invite other clubs in the area to compete and shoot. We all
get to enjoy it, and at the same time, we all get to compete with one
Most programs run straight out of the club’s driving range, such as
Huntingdon Valley’s natural arena beneath the clubhouse. Waynesbor-
ough, a newer program, follows suit.
Over at Philadelphia Cricket, things share more in common with golf
than most. The trapshooting program moves into the club’s cart barn
for the entire offseason. It’s a grueling move-in process, but one with an
overly-impressive end product.
“When golf season ends in October, we move in and essentially
transform that cart barn into a shooting lounge all the way up until the
start of golf season,” said Mutch. “At first, we were out there with a just
makeshift tent and heater in the middle of winter. Now, at the beginning
of each season, we do a complete overhaul to make it feel like a lounge
with furniture and dec-
orations, in addition to
all the other bells and
whistles. We’re proud of how far
Success stories have led to increasing participating
numbers and expansion.
Sunnybrook Golf Club, which has sought out tutelage from Philadelphia
Cricket, is set to open a program of its own either in 2018 or 2019. Elsewhere, ladies’ competitions have become a popular mid- week occurrence
at clubs while Junior programs and their numbers also continue to rise.
As always, training and safety equipment is vehemently stressed and
required. Cricket’s Trap University allows new shooters – anyone 14 years
or older – to get trained in handling a shotgun by a certified NRA instructor.
“We take the trainings, and especially the safety precautions, very
seriously. Fortunately, we haven’t had to implement any of them, but we
have precautions for every scenario where something could go wrong.
This puts an ease on our shooters but also on us to know we’re out
here to have fun in a safe environment,” said Bill Pfingst, Cricket’s trap
The interest grows, and in turn, clubs are taking notice. If you find
yourself itching for a way to supplement firing at greens in regulation
during the offseason, then shooting sports may be your calling card. m
Dan Scofield is in his fourth season as an Assistant Director of Communications
for the Golf Association of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Country Club