intersecting golf clubs to a squirrel in the
Oakmont Country Club vein.
“There are a thousand squirrels on the
property. I always felt we needed something
unique,” Felty said. “The [squirrel tee mark-
ers] became unique because Greg [Bingeman]
and his staff created them. Our grounds crew
creates them today. We probably worked
with an apparel decorator to mimic the gray
squirrels at the club.”
The Susquehanna Valley record books
include a mark likely unmatched by any
others; Pagana’s won 35 — yes 35, and
counting — consecutive women’s champion-
ships at the club.
“It is a point of pride. I think the fact that
I’m still alive is more the thing to celebrate,”
Pagana, 70, of Selinsgrove, Pa., said. “We
don’t have a lot of women who play compet-
itive golf here. Thirty years ago, we had quite
a few. The young kids aren’t coming and
playing a lot. A lot of those victories have to
do with that.”
Pagana’s success certainly syncs with
Susquehanna Valley’s women’s championship
history. Only eight individuals – Pagana, Jean
Jaegers (nee Seebold) ( 18), Helen Keithline
(nine), Viola Stahl (eight), Lidabelle Clark (six),
Mary Boyer (three), Laura Hoover (two) and
Ruth Moore (one) – hoisted titles in the span of
a century. Furthermore, framed photographs in
the clubhouse show Susquehanna Valley teams
that captured trophies during the 1950s and
1960s. The club swims in women’s golf gold.
Speaking of aquatic activities, two pools
– of the diving and Olympic-sized variety –
enhance Susquehanna Valley’s family fabric.
“We had to buy 50 more lounge chairs [in
2019] because we didn’t have enough to accommodate the people [at the pool complex].
It was packed every day. It was phenomenal,”
Matt Lutze, Susquehanna Valley’s president
of four years (2016-19), said. “We’re starting
to get the younger generation up to the pool.
The key for us going forward is membership
and getting people to utilize the club.”
Membership, all told, sits at 300. In the
fall of 2018, Susquehanna Valley shifted its
model from private to semi-private.
The Susquehanna Valley Charity Open,
a marquee Philadelphia Section PGA event,
caught the public’s eye for 25 years. A
pro-member preceded the 18-hole stroke
“Growing up, it was a real big deal for
me to see pros from Philadelphia and other
surrounding areas come to play the course.
It was a big deal not only for me, but for the
club to host that tournament,” Jim Spagnolo,
a former Susquehanna Valley member (1966-
78) and winner of the 1992 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship, said.
Spagnolo developed his game through
Susquehanna Valley’s Junior program, which
began, in earnest, at the behest of former
professional Bob Mc Webb.
“It was a great place to grow up. There
were very friendly people who always looked
out for each other, especially for young kids,”
Spagnolo, 59, who since moved to Dallas, Tex-
as, said. “They gave us a lot of encouragement
enough, there were no restrictions on what
time we could play. To be able, as a 16-year-
old, to join the club champions and play in a
Saturday and Sunday game was a big thrill.”
TODAY, SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY continues
to foster Junior golf, hosting teams from
Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove Area
High School and Shikellamy High School.
Embracing the excitement that comes with
a centennial, Susquehanna Valley splashed
“100th Anniversary: 1919-2019” on its logo
and created customized glasses and apparel
to reflect the occasion. A pair of concerts
took place in recognition of the club’s 100th
birthday. “Christmas Cheer,” an annual social
event, caps the festivities.
As the centennial fervor settles, Susquehanna Valley plans to remodel its clubhouse
“to enhance outside events,” Lutze said. A
neighboring amusement park may be gone,
but “The Thrill at the Top of the Hill” continues to glisten.
“It’s a milestone for any club to reach 100
years. It’s almost unheard of these days,”
Lutze, 55, of Selinsgrove, Pa., said. “Do we
struggle at times? Absolutely, just like any
club does. But I think we’re going to be
around for a while. I don’t see, unless something catastrophic happens, the club going
Jean Seebold won the women’s club championship 18 times.