A handful of East Falls graduates went on to stitch their names in the
industry’s fabric, according to Trenham. First is Jack Burke, Sr., the 1920
U.S. Open runner-up and father of 1956 Masters and PGA Champion
Jack Burke, Jr. The elder Burke, a four-time winner of the Minnesota
Open (1919-21, 1923), grew up in East Falls before relocating to Texas.
NAMES SUCH AS Joe Roseman, Bill Leach and Bill Byrne also rise to the forefront. Roseman, for starters, designed more than 50 golf courses, pioneered the use of complete underground
irrigation systems and served as the Illinois PGA’s first president. He is
also regarded as an innovator in the turf maintenance industry.
“Joe Roseman was amazing,” Trenham said. “He was a tinkerer who
started fiddling around with trying to improve golf course equipment.
He started Roseman Mowing Corp., a business that manufactured
mowers for golf courses. He was more of an inventor than a golfer.”
Leach, a four-time East Falls Open winner, served as Overbrook
Golf Club’s professional and built a notable playing résumé, including
a runner-up finish to Gene Sarazen in the 1930 Miami Open. Byrne, a
former Philadelphia Country Club caddie/East Falls Open proponent,
founded the PGA of America and Philadelphia Section PGA. Johnny
McDermott, winner of the 1911 and 1912 U.S. Opens, credited
Byrne, a former Aronimink Golf Club and St. Davids Golf Club profes-
sional, for his teachings.
How about this name connected to the East Falls Open?
“[World Golf Hall of Fame member] Glenna Collett Vare was invited
to play in the 1932 East Falls Open. It was asserted that it was the
first time a woman played in a men’s competitive event in history,”
Vare could still compete in the East Falls Open today. She’d do so in
the guest flight, which typically welcomes 10-15 outsiders annually. It is
one of the event’s six flights – all determined by playing ability and past
performance. The low six gross scores in each flight qualify for a six-hole
“The playoff really makes it a special event. Everyone else goes
around and watches,” Kallmeyer said. “You can appreciate that people
get a little nervous and feel what it means when you need to hit a shot.
Everybody is doing everything they can to make the playoff.”
Among the playoff gallery peers Pat DiCicco, who started attending
the East Falls Open in 1962 at age 14.
“I have watched it emerge from when I was a kid until now. It’s fun
to watch the whole neighborhood get together that day. East Falls is
unique,” DiCicco, 71, of Blue Bell, Pa., said. “I love the fact that every-
body there has lived or is living in East Falls. It’s one of those things you
can’t explain. When you’re there, you feel it, and it’s a good feeling.”
An East Falls native, DiCicco attended the event alongside his father,
Frank DiCicco, Sr., who began competing in the East Falls Open during
the 1950s. Frank DiCicco is a four-time winner of the event’s Senior
Flight (2005-08). Now 94 years old, he still shows his support annually,
joining Pat in the playoff gallery.
The DiCiccos assuredly observe the swings of great-grandson/grand-
son Patrick McCusker, a three-time East Falls Open champion (2015-
16, 2018). Descendancy – go figure – is integral to the centennial
Notable guests struck ceremonial tee shots: Jack Kilkenny, grandson
of Tom Gribbin, Philadelphia Country Club’s caddiemaster of 20 years;
Jim Starrett, descendent of Bill Starrett, a prominent East Falls leader
from the 1930s and Bob Cox, East Falls tournament historian. A record
134-player field then took to the course.
The East Falls Open is the apple of the East Falls Golf Association’s
eye. The latter, spearheaded by Kallmeyer, meets three to four times
annually and supports other events and organizations, such as the First
Tee of Greater Philadelphia, in the East Falls area.
The support bridge trekked by caddies more than a century ago sym-
bolizes the “all walks of East Falls life” aura behind the East Falls Open.
Cheers of “here’s to the next 100 years” now echo through the since
“We enjoy watching the younger guys who keep it going. Chris does
a great job. He has a good team,” DiCicco said. “Hopefully, the East
Falls Open will go another 100 years.”
“If you look at this, for something to last 100 years, you have to have
several generations of volunteers, stewards and leaders who dedicate
their time to keep this moving,” Kallmeyer added. “We stand on the
shoulders of everyone who came before us.” m
This year’s East Falls Open
winners with the John B. Kelly
The East Falls Golf
Association has compiled
an impressive list of
its 100-year history.