The Merion Cricket Club is one of the most fabled golf courses in the country, and has boasting rights as having hosted more USGA championships than any other club. Founded in 1865, the current clubhouse (as well as the last four) was designed by revered Philadelphia architect, Frank Furness. While many clubs work hard to remain “modern” and keep up with expected updates, Merion’s focus is in a decidedly different direction: MCC prides itself on its history and traditions, many of which harken back to more genteel times and some of which are just plain quirky.
For example, the course, designed to be difficult with few flat landing areas, misaligned teeing grounds, “false front” grounds and high contrast sandy bunkers (very visually distracting) does not allow golf carts. Caddies carry the clubs and everybody walks. No yardage markers or electronic distance measuring devices are allowed either. These “nods” to earlier days (when there were no motorized carts or GPS navigation) are taken very seriously. Similarly, unlike almost all other courses, there are no flag markers; MCC uses wicker baskets. While a couple of different reasons for this choice have been suggested, the club does not acknowledge any single one and just continues the tradition. Additionally, there are rules regarding the gentlemanly nature of the game: there is a strict dress code not which not includes a firm “no hats indoors” policy. In the same vein, in order to prevent crowding (and flaring tempers), 18 holes must be played within a four hour time limit. For more about this historic Main Line golf club, click here.