Olde Stonewall Golf Club rises from the banks of the Connoquenessing Creek, up over wooded hills to a soaring promontory -- a 7,100-yard, nationally acclaimed masterpiece by world-renowned course architects Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry that has won honor upon honor from the time it opened in 1999. Among the honors:
- In Golf Magazine, “Top Ten New Courses 1999.”
- In Golfweek, “America’s Best Courses, State-by-State.”
- In Golf Digest’s rankings, “Number One Public Course in the State,” “Best Courses in the State,” and “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.”
Hurdzan and Fry, as they are known throughout golf, immediately saw the potential of the 269 acres of open farmland and wooded hills along the Connoquenessing. By the time they had finished working their architectural magic, huge cubes of stone were winding their way around and through the course, lining tee boxes, cart paths and water hazards. Olde Stonewall is true to its name by some 750,000 tons of these formidable stones.
The introduction to Olde Stonewall is the towering clubhouse. It dominates the setting – an imposing 33,000-square-foot gray castle high above, with pennants flying from the turrets. And as you climb the wide staircase and look up, you can almost see the armored archers standing guard duty at the battlements high atop the ivied walls.
The Great Doors beckon – two massive solid oak doors, 11 feet high and four inches thick, at 800 pounds each so heavy, they had to be mounted on hydraulic lifts. The decorative hinges and bolted locks are of hand-tooled copper, rich with patina. A steady pull on the dragon handle, and the door eases open, and you step onto the bluestone floors and into centuries past.
Inside, under vaulted ceilings, the dark-paneled lobby and hallways are hung with tapestries, shields and swords. A suit of armor stands mute guard at the door.
Shakespeare’s Restaurant, with the menu by Shakespeare himself, evokes thoughts of the great halls of castles, with 13-foot-high ceilings, oak paneling and heavy beams. The walls are hung with tapestries and replicas of armor, swords, shields and battle ornaments created in Toledo, Spain.
Shakespeare’s Pub sits next door, with its large, glowing centerpiece, the 40-foot long blond peninsula bar offsetting the rich, dark paneling surrounding it and the heavy timbered ceiling above. When the fading evening light is right, one can almost imagine Shakespeare himself, quill pen and sheaf of paper in hand, taking his seat to scratch out a few more immortal lines over a tankard of ale.
The main floor also houses the pro shop and locker rooms, also of dark paneling. In marked contrast, the upper floor, with its halls for banquets wedding receptions and other large groups, is light and airy, finished in white oak.
The castle itself represents an adventure in great food and drink, and a visit to a distant past of chivalry and knighthood. Outside sits Olde Stonewall Golf Course, a visit to nature’s beauty and an adventure in modern golf.