Middletown Country Club, a quick 35-minute sprint up Interstate 95 to Langhorne, Pennsylvania, can be a ball-striker's dream — or a putter's nightmare.
The par-69 course is located in the highest part of Bucks County and takes advantage of several eye-appealing uphill and downhill shots. Club selection is a particular challenge with elevation changes and tricky greens putting extra emphasis on decision making at this well-maintained and private-looking public course.
"You are exposing a player to all the elements," Dan Hoban, Middletown's head pro, said. "Uphill lies, downhill lies, sidehill lies, small greens — but they can still hit their driver."
Middletown uniquely combines the beautiful (it's design is more than 50 years old) with the frustration factor that comes from playing a strategically designed course.
"This golf course is living proof that an older golf course can be a challenge with today's technology without being 7,500 yards long," Hoban said of the 6,217 yards encompassed by the back tees at his club.
About 420 of those yards come on the course's signature hole, the dogleg right 13th.
"If you don't hit your drive to the bottom of the hill you are hitting your second shot off a downhill lie over an elevated green over a pond," the pro described. "It's picturesque."
The course is one-of-a-kind among Philadelphia-area golf slates and there's no better place to be on a sunny summer afternoon.
Local knowledge tip: "This golf course requires a lot of local knowledge. The local Middletown legend is that everything breaks toward the railroad tracks [which border the first two holes] … but it's actually that the base of the valley is Neshaminy Creek," Hoban said. "Definitely keep the ball below the hole, you want to be putting uphill as much as you possibly can."
Price range: From $39 (weekday twilight) to $55 (on a weekend morning)