By Rick Woelfel
Butter Valley Golf Course near East Greenville is something of a throwback. The course was designed not by an architect but by a group of golf enthusiasts hitting shots through what was then a cornfield.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here; there is no irrigation system for instance. But Butter Valley is a place where any golfer regardless of age, gender, or ability level, is made to feel at home.
Located in northwestern Montgomery County near the Berks County line (the club has a Barto mailing address), Butter Valley opened nine holes for play on Memorial Day weekend in 1969 and open its second nine on July 4 that same year.
Owner John Gehman is intimately familiar with the property. His father built the course and his family has owned the land on which it is situated for 10 generations.
Gehman has added some length to the course in recent years; today the course plays to 6,491 yards from the back tees with a part of 72.
The club’s most distinguishing characteristic may be the airstrip which sits adjacent to the 10th and 15th holes. It is still in use, golfers receive a free drop if a ball comes to rest on the strip.
The most picturesque hole here may be the sixth, a 350-yard par four that doglegs left off the tee. The player must be wary of water on the right side off the tee while there is water to the left to be concerned with on the approach.
There are no bunkers protecting the green, which is one of the largest on the course. It was one of several that were rebuilt some 25 years ago during a renovation. The putting surface feature a number of undulations, which requires the golfer put the ball in the right place to set up a realistic birdie chance.
Since golf courses in Pennsylvania reopened in May, Gehman has been busy, fulfilling a self-imposed commitment to his customers.
“I’ve had a lot of comments over the years that (golfers) really enjoy playing here because they’re treated so well,” he said. “We try (to do that), from the maintenance crew, pro shop staff, starters, rangers. I try to have people on staff that can do that naturally.”
Click here to learn more about Butter Valley Golf Course or call 610-845-2481.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rick Woelfel has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 35 years. He’s covered golf in one medium or another for more than 30.
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