The Bucknell Golf Club, which opened in 1930, is located on the west side of Route 15, adjacent to the West Fields complex on Smoketown Road. The 18-hole course is open to the public. For more information on playing the course, please click here or call 570-523-8193.
Other Bucknell Golf Facilities: Bachman Golf Center
BUCKNELL GOLF CLUB HISTORY
December 21, 1929: The Bucknell Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion by Mr. William H. Thompson, of Hightstown, New Jersey, that the Board complete the payment for the farm purchased by Judge Albert W. Johnson, for the purpose of constructing a golf course.
February 19, 1930: Dues for all members as originally established were as follows: Regular Members, $30; Associate Member (Female), $20; Student Members, $10; Summer Students $10.
February 28, 1930: Professor James P. "Scottie" Whyte announced that Mr. Emil Loeffler, noted golf architect, had been retained to design the course, his brother, Mr. Archie Loeffler supervised the construction of the golf course at a cost of $15,000, a major part of which was borrowed on the endorsement of several members, namely, Frank Burpee, "Scottie" Whyte, James McClure, and Robert Matz.
October 31, 1930: Ernie Graner, '33 was the winner in the 18-hole medal tournament held as a feature of the formal opening ceremonies of the Bucknell Golf Club, held on Homecoming, 1930. His score was 88.
Spring 1931: Harold L. Evans came to Bucknell Golf Club in the spring of 1931 as Caddie Master under Professional Murray Butler. He succeeded Butler in 1932.
July 1, 1932: The golf course is entered on the University books at $9, 500, with the note that it was purchased with a gift of $6,000 from William H. Thompson, a member of the Board of Trustees, and collections from members, most of whom were Founders of the club, in the amount of $3,756.
Spring 1947: The original 9 hole layout was substantially changed in 1947, when # 3 was altered by the elimination of the dogleg around the old barn and parking lot. The original # 3 green was abandoned, along with the # 4 tee and fairway. The revised # 3 included most of the old fairway, the old # 3 tee, and an enlarged # 4 green. At the same time a new par 3 hole (#7, now 16) was created by turning the # 8 tee 90 degrees to the left and building a new # 7 green and a new #8 (now #17) tee.
Spring 1964: The course was expanded to 18 holes by the addition of the Herman farm west of Smoketown Road, which had been purchased by the University in 1947 at a cost of $9,000. Golf course architect Edward Ault, of Silver Spring, Maryland redesigned the course. He added a large pond (#12 & 13) to the old layout, placed five new holes (# 4, 10, 12, 13) out of the original acreage. The cost of these improvements was $76,000.
Summer 1967: Difficulty in growing grass on the red shale of the five new holes across the road led to the installation of a fairway watering system, including a pond in front of # 9 to serve as a reservoir for the water supply. Total cost of these improvements was $25,000.
Fall 1973: The green of # 16 was reconstructed and a bunker was added in front of the green, at a cost of $6,000.
Fall 1978: Harold Evans was named Senior Professional.
Spring 1979: Wendell B. Bertram was promoted from Assistant Professional to Golf Professional.
October 5-12, 1979: The Bucknell Golf Club celebrates it's 50th Anniversary. The festivities were finalized with a Golf Clinic and Exhibition by Dave Marr, 1965 PGA Champion and ABC Sports Commentator.
July 14, 1987: A proposal regarding the Bucknell Golf Club Practice Range Facility was presented by the Bucknell Golf Club Board of Directors to the Bucknell University Board of Trustees. The project was approved and the Practice Range opened for use in the spring of 1988. The total coat of the project was $21,750.
June 15, 1990: The new clubhouse facility opens. The project consisted of new dinning area and kitchen, new men's and women's locker rooms and updated pro shop and office space. Contributions to the clubhouse project totaling $1500,000 helped to defray the cost of $570,000.
March 9, 1991: The new practice putting green opened. "The Evans Green," as it was named with a gift from James and Patricia Apple, was built according to guidelines provided by the United States Golf Association.
June 28, 1991: Dedication of the new clubhouse facility. Gary Fry, President of the Bucknell Golf Club, provided opening remarks detailing the steps taken by the Board of Directors from the origin of the project in 1986 until its completion. Ellis Harley followed and closed the dedication with recognition of a special gift. Fred Kessler '62 and Virginia Reeser Kessler '63 were honored for their contribution to the Bucknell Golf Club Clubhouse Facility by naming the tenth hole in their honor.
December 11, 1991: Jeff Ranck reported to the Board of Directors that the search for a superintendent had concluded. The position was offered to Charles Lincicome of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Charley had previously been the Superintendent of Parkersburg Country Club.
April 15, 1993: Bulldozer breaks ground on the site of the new Cart/Picnic Pavilion. The Cart/Picnic Pavilion was completed in June at a total cost of $70,231. This structure was created with the dual purpose of housing the cart fleet and giving our food and beverage operation room to accommodate large groups that cannot be accommodated in the clubhouse dinning room.
August, 1996: The addition of irrigation to all greens, tees, and any fairways not yet having water was completed after a 4 year long project. The system is automated which will allow for more precise schedules and amounts of water on the course. The total cost of this project was $250,000.
December, 1996: In consultation with Golf Course Architect Ron Force, renovations of bunkers throughout the course was undertaken at a total cost of $92,000. New Drainage was installed, bunker faces built up, and areas were sodded with a fine fescue grass. Architectural changes to many of the holes included removal of all bunkers around # 7 green and the removal of the mound to the left of and bunkers to the right of # 9 green.
January 1, 1998: Don Lowe takes over as the new Head Golf Professional, succeeding Wendell Bertram who retired after 19 years of service.
March 2, 1999: The Board of Directors voted in favor of the Search Committees recommendation to hire Jeff Marks as Bucknell Golf Clubs fifth Head Golf Professional.
March 1, 2000: Brian Kelly is named as Bucknell Golf Club's sixth Head Golf Professional.
March 9, 2001: New Maintenance building is completed to house golf course equipment and Superintendents office.
FRONT NINE OVERVIEW
The front nine at the Bucknell Golf Club is a par-36 tough playing nine holes that requires precision driving and solid approach shots into well guarded greens. The first four holes are on the main side of the course, while holes five through nine are on the other side of the Smoketown road and become quite a bit lengthier than the rest of the course. Included on the front side is the most difficult hole on the course, the long par five third hole. The front side is a picturesque nine holes with the high point coming on a tough approach shot over a pond, complete with fountain, on the par five ninth hole. In order to reach the back nine, the golfer must cross the street back to the main course and an entirely different kind of nine holes, technically speaking.
FRONT NINE HOLE-BY-HOLE
1st Hole, 333 yard par 4: "An uphill, sharp dogleg right par four. The golfer should drive the ball to the left-center of the fairway in order to avoid the grove of trees on the right. The approach is a challenging short iron to a small green surrounded with bunkers on both sides."
2nd Hole, 209 yard par 3: "A difficult and long par three. An elevated tee shot must carry over a deep valley to a narrow green with large sand traps on either side. A straight tee shot is paramount."
3rd Hole, 593 yard par 5: "The longest hole on the course, a par five that veers to the left characterized by a challenging up hill third shot. While the hole has no sand traps, it is legitimately the number one handicap hole. Trees line the left and right for the entire length of the hole."
4th Hole, 155 yard par 3: "A short par three down to a large green with sand traps front right and left. Don't be long!"
5th Hole, 366 yard par 4: "A short but challenging par four that requires an accurate drive favoring the right side of the fairway. Avoid the right side fairway bunker and prepare for an uphill second shot to a large but well bunkered green."
6th Hole, 357 yard par 4: "Another short but narrow par four. A downhill tee shot to a tree lined narrow fairway. Again, the green is large but well protected by numerous sand traps."
7th Hole, 370 yard par 4: "A challenging uphill par four that once again needs an accurate straight drive to avoid out-of-bounds left and trees to the right. Expect a second shot with an uphill stance to a very large green with no sand traps. Watch the pin placement as there is a two club difference from front to back pin placements."
8th Hole, 432 yard par 4: "One of the most difficult par fours on the course. A long hole once again requiring a straight drive as there is a stand of dense pines to the right and out-of-bounds to the left. The approach is downhill to a large green surrounded by bunkers."
9th Hole, 499 yard par 5: "A par five back to the clubhouse that veers left around a picturesque barn. The tee shot is uphill to a plateau, the second shot is a downhill lay up shot short of a pond fronting a generous green. There is water, but no desert on this hole."
BACK NINE OVERVIEW
The back nine at the Bucknell Golf Club has a slightly different feel from the front nine. The golfer returns from across the street and is immediately met with a long par three straight up a hill. The back nine is not nearly as long as the front, but it makes up for a lack of distance by demanding the golfer to make accurate tee shots to narrow landing areas. A true golfer will say that a golf course is truly challenging when the golfer needs to play as well on the last hole as they did on the first hole. The BGC is no exception. The 18th hole at Bucknell is not a long hole but has a very small green that is well protected. A good score at the Bucknell Golf Club is well deserved at the end of the day.
BACK NINE HOLE-BY-HOLE
10th Hole, 192 yard par 3: "The back nine starts with a difficult par three. A long iron or fairway wood to a narrow green that is very well fortified by sand traps."
11th Hole, 364 yard par 4: "A lovely mid-length par four veering slightly to the right. An accurate second shot is mandatory as the green is extremely narrow and has sand traps right and left."
12th Hole, 408 yard par 4: "Many say this is the signature hole. A demanding drive uphill to either a plateau or, for the long hitters, over the hill to a fl at porch at green level. The second shot is over a pond to a generous green surrounded by bunkers."
13th Hole, 172 yard par 3: "A short par three over water to a large green fronted by a lone sand trap."
14th Hole, 400 yard par 4: "A straight dogleg left par four that, once again, requires the golfer to make an accurate drive as there are dense trees right and left. The second shot is to a generous green protected by numerous bunkers."
15th Hole, 527 yard par 5: "A picturesque straight-away par five with out-of-bounds all the way to the green on the right side, fairway traps on the left and trees lining both sides from tee to green. The approach shot is to a very narrow green protected by many well placed sand traps."
16th Hole, 139 yard par 3: "A short, downhill par three to a small green with bunkers front, left and rear. While birdie is possible, so is bogey, depending largely on the tee shot."
17th Hole, 354 yard par 4: "A short par four with a severely undulating fairway. The tee shot must avoid out-of-bounds right, a water hazard long left and trees along both sides of the fairway. The second shot may require an uphill, downhill or side hill play to a narrow, two-tiered green with sand traps on either side. Don't be long as there is out-of-bounds behind the green."
18th Hole, 383 yard par 4: "A straight away par four with what at first appears to be a wide and inviting fairway. However, there is out-of-bounds along the right from tee to green as well as ample trees lining both sides of the fairway. The second shot is slightly downhill to a very narrow green with sand traps right and grass depressions to the left."
Course description courtesy of George Burman, Class of '74