(Published in wheretogolfnext.com)
Location: Pottstown, Pa.
Architect: Ed Shearon.
Yards/Rating/Slope: Black tees 6,73961,9/131; Blue 6,386/69.6/128; White 5,995/67.7/124; Yellow 5,357/63.7/116; Red 4,824/67.0/111.
Saturday morning green fee: $69
Caddie Service: No.
Walker friendly: Yes.
For starters: It’s the home course for the Symetra Tour’s Valley Forge Invitational and will also host both of the outings held during the International Network of Golf’s 30th annual Spring Conference in 2020. The course record is held by a woman. One of the Symetra players, Louise Ridderstrom of Sweden, shot an 8-under-par 63 in 2018.
Play because…: Shearon lives in the Pottstown area and operates a major landscaping business but he has also designed several other courses. This one was built on 177 acres with traditional-looking family homes mixed in with some of the golf holes.
Takeaway: The most surprising feature is the remains of an old house in the fairway off the No. 1 hole. Golf professional Jim Bromley said it dates into the 1700 or 1800s but doesn’t know why it’s there. The rest of the course is marked by a good use of big bolders to guide players around the layout. The greens are testy and undulating. The course name comes from the presence of several such birds in the trees on the site.
Best Par-5: No. 10 (634 yards from tips/619/519/486/451) It’s the last of par-5 on the course, and a challenging one for more than just its extraordinary length from the back tees. Second shots must carry a waste area and the green still won’t be easy to reach. The two-level fairway is higher on the right side than it is on the left the putting surface is most challenging. No. 7 is 111 yards shorter and designated as the No. 1 handicap hole, but No. 10 is a monster that won’t be forgotten.
Best Par-4: No. 9 (404 yards from tips/377/362/307/284). This very well designed hole starts a tough three-hole stretch called The Claw. The tee shot must be on the left side of the fairway and well-struck to offer a clear approach to the green. The approach is the most demanding shot on the course, as the opening is narrow and the green elevated. Come up short and you can wind up in a waste area.
Best Par-3: No. 14 (137 yards from tips/125/117/100/85). Yes, it’s the shortest hole on the course and, yes, it’s the easiest according to handicap but this shorty falls at a nice place in the rotation and looks much different than the other par-3s. Not only is it shorter but there’s water fronting the green. Not a hard hole, but a fun one..
THE RATINGS (1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest)
Food/beverage: NA. (We weren’t there when meals were served).
Pro shop: 8
Pace of play: 10 (Had the course to ourselves throughout the round.
Rater: Len Ziehm
Phone: (610) 495-4710.
Facebook: @Ravens Claw Golf Club