PHILADELPHIA, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fore! For the first time in 32 years, Philadelphia will host one of golf's four major tournaments when the U.S. Open takes over Ardmore's Merion Golf Club for the fifth time from June 10-16, 2013. This monumental event will draw approximately 25,000 spectators each day, who will gather to witness golf superstars like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and defending U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson compete. Those without tickets to the week-long competition can still experience the excitement of the event at The U.S. Open Experience, taking place on June 10-16 on Independence Mall. Spectators can gather to watch the Open on a big screen (June 15-16 only), do some putting, buy official merchandise and peruse artifacts from past competitions.
Philly is no stranger to golf greatness. In 1911, Philadelphian John McDermott became the first American to win the U.S. Open, and he repeated his win the next year. In 1930 at Merion Golf Club, Bobby Jones completed the only grand slam in the history of golf when he won the U.S. Amateur. And when Merion first hosted the Open in 1934, Olin Dutra overcame an eight-stroke deficit to win his second major title.
While hardcore golf fanatics swarm the sidelines at Merion, visitors can enjoy the spirit of the game all over the Greater Philadelphia area as they try for par at pristine local courses, putt-putt through a miniature version of the Liberty Bell, marvel at breathtaking golf-inspired art or learn about the history of the sport on Independence Mall.
Pre-Game: Events Leading Up To The Open:
- While the U.S. Open championship rounds have been sold out for months, a limited number of tickets remain available for the practice rounds on June 10, 11 and 12. Daily practice-round tickets start at $50 and go up to $250. Merion Golf Club, 450 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore,
(800) 698-0661, ticketing.usga.org
- On June 7, the Friday before the U.S. Open, Merion Golf Club will open its doors to the non-ticket-holding public for an exclusive chance to shop at the U.S. Open Merchandise Pavilion. Patrons are welcome to browse through thousands of U.S. Open-branded items such as golf balls, art, glassware, flags and clothing from Ralph Lauren, the official apparel outfitter of the U.S. Open. 450 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 642-5600, meriongolfclub.com
The U.S. Open Experience On Independence Mall:
- From June 10 through 16, hundreds of spectators will gather on Independence Mall for The U.S. Open Experience. Fans can watch the golf action live on a giant screen (June 15-16 only), test their chipping and swinging skills, shop the U.S. Open pop-up store and peruse historical artifacts from past Merion-hosted tournaments. Market Street between 5th & 6th Streets
Putt-Putt Play: Miniature Golf Courses:
- More than just a stellar 18-hole miniature golf course, City Line Sports Center also features a 32-stall driving range, softball and baseball batting cages, along with a full-service snack bar and picnic area. The 19th hole is particularly tricky, but experts who can thread the ball between two ponds to sink a putt receive a free game. 7900 City Avenue, (215) 879-3536
- At Franklin Square, kids and adults can take swings around their favorite Philadelphia icons (miniature versions, of course) such as the Love statue, Boathouse Row and Liberty Bell. After the game, stroll over to SquareBurger for a round of Arnold Palmers, a special offering in honor of the Open. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
- King of Prussia Mall shoppers can take a retail break at the indoor Glowgolf, located in the largest mall on the East Coast. The florescent putters, balls, obstacles and wall decorations illuminate in the black light, bringing a glow-in-the-dark look to the sport. The 18-hole fairway is located on the second floor of The Court section of the mall. 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, (610) 337-0685, opryglowgolf.com
- Golfers can get their putt-putt on all year long at Monster Mini Golf, located 22 miles outside of Center City. The 18-hole indoor course at Monster Mini Golf is dotted with glow-in-the-dark décor, animated monsters and spooky obstacles. 1045-7 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville,
(215) 396-6700, monsterminigolf.com
- Waltz Golf Farm features two miniature golf courses - one with a castle theme, the other reminiscent of a farm. No trip to this family fun center is complete without a visit to the Ice Cream Bar, where putters can choose from 26 flavors of soft-serve ice cream. 303 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick, (610) 489-7859, waltzgolffarm.com
The Art Of Golf:
- Through July 7, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents The Art of Golf, an exhibition dedicated to the visual representation of the sport. Installed in the museum's British period rooms, the display highlights the relationship between art and golf in Victorian England. Among the many masterpieces on view will be Charles Lees' prolific work, The Golfers, which is considered to be the most important golf-related painting in the world. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
Public Golf Courses & Driving Ranges:
- The views at Bella Vista Golf Course testify to its translation into English: beautiful sight. Located in Montgomery County, the course provides excellent-conditioned bent-grass playing surfaces from tee to green. The multiple course setup accommodates ladies, seniors, regular and championship play. 2901 Fagleysville Road, Gilbertsville, (610) 705-1855, bellavistagc.com
- The site of the first public golf course in the Greater Philadelphia area, Cobbs Creek Golf Club now features two 18-hole options: The Olde Course and the Karakung Course. Hugh Wilson, the same architect who created the course at the Merion Golf Club, where the Open is being held, designed The Olde Course. 7400 Lansdowne Avenue, (215) 877-8707
- Established in 1940, FDR Golf Club offers a fun-yet-challenging 6,004-yard course that utilizes its surrounding natural wetlands and winding canal to create a unique playing experience.
1954 Pattison Avenue, (215) 462-8997
- Bobby Weed designed the full-service, 18-hole Golf Course at Glen Mills, surrounded by the natural beauty of Pennsylvania's historic Thornbury Township. It's the only golf course in the Philly area featuring 12-minute starting times. 221 Glen Mills Road, Glen Mills, (610) 558-2142, glenmillsgolf.com
- Formerly home to a farm and racetrack, this parcel of land was converted into an 18-hole golf course in 1919. In 2002, Jeffersonville Golf Club underwent an extreme golf makeover that restored tees, installed bunkers, removed obstacles and renovated the irrigation system.
2400 W. Main Street, Norristown, (610) 539-0422, jeffersonvillegolfclub.org
- Named for famed Philadelphia councilman, the John F. Byrne Golf Club features tree-lined and open fairways, oversized bunkers, elevated tees and greens and the Torresdale Creek, which comes into play on 10 of the course's holes. 9550 Leon Street, (215) 632-8666
- Golf Magazine recently named Raven's Claw Golf Club one of the top 100 daily-access courses in the country. The par-71 golf course, created by local course designer Ed Shearon, measures more than 6,700 yards. Raven's Claw has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the Top New Courses in the United States, and Golfweek ranked it in the Top Ten in Pennsylvania.
3159 W. Ridge Pike, Pottstown, (610) 495-4710, ravensclawgolfclub.com
- Formerly known as Longknockers Driving Range, Strawberry Green Driving Range is open year-round. By offering a range of buckets (including 30 to 200 balls) for $4, $8, $11 and $15, the popular spot makes the often-exclusive sport affordable and accessible. 1500 N. 33rd Street,
- Awarded a four-star rating by Golf Digest as a best place to play, Turtle Creek Golf Course was one of only two courses among the 6,000 in North America to receive this honor. The 18-hole course features 6,702 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. 303 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick, (610) 489-5133, turtlecreekgolf.com
- In Wissahickon Valley Park, the family-friendly Walnut Lane Golf Club opened in 1940 and was designed by renowned architect Alex Findlay. Several par three holes make the 18-hole course at Walnut Lane short and manageable. 800 Walnut Lane, (215) 482-3370, walnutlanegolf.com
- Westover Country Club is a public course that, at one time, was a private club; therefore, golfers from scratch players to casual duffers enjoy challenging play in a lush setting. This 18-hole, par-70 course was designed by professional golf great George Fazio. 401 S. Schuylkill Avenue, Jeffersonville, (610) 539-4500, westovercountryclub.com
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region's vitality.
For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.
SOURCE Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation