Merion Golf Club is a private golf club located in Ardmore, Penn., a course that is consistently rated among America's greatest golf courses, and will host the U.S. Open in 2013. The club contains two courses: The West course, and the East Course, which is the more highly regarded.
The Merion Golf Club dates from 1896, when members of the Merion Cricket Club (founded in 1865) opened a golf course in Haverford, Pennsylvania. In 1910, the membership decided to build a new course and chose 32-year-old club member Hugh Wilson, a Scottish immigrant, to design it. Merion East opened in September 1912, and the original course was closed. The West Course, also designed by Wilson, opened in May 1914. The Merion Golf Club did not officially separate from the Merion Cricket Club until 1941.
Merion has held 17 United States Golf Association (USGA) championship tournaments, more than any other course. The first two, the 1904 and 1909 U.S. Women's Amateur Championships, were held at the original Haverford course. The first USGA tournament held at the East Course was the 1916 U.S. Amateur, won by Chick Evans. This was also the first time Bobby Jones appeared in a national championship; he was 14 years old. Jones would win his first U.S. Amateur in 1924, also held at Merion.
Merion Golf Club was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992.
While some thought the course was too short, and the property too small, to stand up to modern technology, huge crowds and corporate tents, the U.S.G.A. chose Merion for the 2013 Open after a successful U.S. Amateur in 2005. Bill Iredale, Merion's championship committee chairman, said at the time of the club's selection: "We feel that our East Course is a very special venue, a classic golf course which, while lengthened some 400 yards to accommodate modern players and equipment, still retains the same shot angles, bunkering and greens that challenged Bob Jones in 1930, Ben Hogan in 1950, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in 1971 and David Graham in 1981."
Both the East and West courses are built on gently rolling terrain and feature fast greens, narrow fairways and thick rough.
--In his article My Fab 5, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher Laird Small wrote that Merion is one of his favorite golf courses in the United States. Here's what he said:
"Another course that is not really too long, Merion demands that you hit the ball well off the tee if you want to score well. When you play a course like Merion, you have to think about what the course designer, in this case Hugh Wilson, is challenging you to do. If you can read the ideal shot and execute it, you can be successful. But if you don't, you'll pay the price."