Philadelphia: 72 holes in 72 hours
By Mike McAllister
Tattersall Golf Club in West Chester, Pennsylvania, offers great views of the surrounding area.
The Architects Club: Yardage/Par: 6,863/71. Greens fees: $40-$100, cart included. (908) 213-3080. http://www.thearchitectsclub.com/
The Golf Course at Glen Mills: Yardage/Par: 6,636/71. Greens fees: $65-$90, cart included. (610) 558-2142. http://www.glenmillsgolf.com
Hartefeld National: Yardage/Par: 6,969/72. Greens fees: $69-$110, cart included. (610) 268-8800. http://www.hartefeld.com
Tattersall: Yardage/Par: 6,826/72. Greens fees: $68-$95, cart included. (610) 738-4410. http://www.tattersallgolfclub.com
Alternative courses: Olde Homestead, Pilgrim's Oak, Moccasin Run, Locust Valley.
Next week we'll travel to the Portland, Oregon, area.
(CNN) -- Pennsylvania is a state rich with history -- and golf is no exception. It's the birthplace of Arnold Palmer (Latrobe, in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains), and home to two of the most storied courses in the world, Oakmont (closer to Pittsburgh) and Merion East (near Philadelphia).
Surely if Ben Franklin had not been too busy signing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, he would have planted his name on a scorecard after playing 18 holes.
Choosing whether to play courses closer to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia is tough, because both areas offer plenty of top-flight public-access tracks (alas, Oakmont and Merion are private). We opted for Philly, if for no other reason than that we might sneak in a cheese steak during our trip -- and because we're able to poach over into New Jersey for one of our rounds.
Obviously weather conditions will limit your months to play, although many courses are open year-round. A good time to go might be October. A round of golf in the crisp autumn air will be a nice way to end the fall and head into the winter months (plus, you'll get a break on greens fees).
After flying into Philadelphia International Airport, here's how we'd play it the rest of the weekend.
The Architects Club: We're not thrilled about getting off a plane, jumping into a car and immediately driving 85 miles to Phillipsburg, New Jersey. But this course, which opened in 2001, offers such a unique concept that we just couldn't leave it off the list. The Architects pays tribute to the great course designers between 1885 and 1955, from Old Tom Morris in Scotland to C.B. MacDonald to A.W. Tillinghast, Alister Mackenzie, Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, etc. Each hole is influenced by at least one famous architect from that era. It may not be the greatest test of golf, but you probably won't get a better history lesson on how courses are built. And it will help provide some perspective as you play the remaining courses this weekend.
The Golf Course at Glen Mills: Golf Digest rates this course 4.5 stars, and you can bet it will be in great shape. The course actually provides a hands-on training program for the Glen Mills Schools, a residential facility for troubled youth that educates its students in turf management and golf house operations. Not only do you get to play at a superb layout, but the greens fees go to a good cause, helping to provide funding for the student programs.
Hartefeld National: Designed by famed architect Tom Fazio in 1995, this course quickly became one of the best public layouts in the state, praised for both its condition and top-notch service. The par-3 sixth is the signature hole, but the par-4 10th might take your breath away in the fall if the leaves are turning and you're hitting an approach shot into the green framed by trees. If you really want to play this course, you'll need to act fast, though. It's in the process of becoming private, and the hours for "preview" play are limited.
Tattersall: Another famed golf architect, Rees Jones, designed this course on land once owned by John Beale Bordley, who in 1793 established the first agricultural society in the U.S. The Bordley House is a historic landmark -- and local golfers may feel the same about Tattersall and its 54 bunkers and three ponds. More important, the course, built on the highest point in Chester County, offers great views in all locations. It's a terrific way to end a historic trip.