Any list of the best public golf courses in the Philadelphia area is incomplete without Makefield Highlands.
The Yardley track is long, open and fast. For many golfers that means it's a course you can attack. For many more it's an exercise in humility.
"We tip out at about 7,200 yards," Makefield's assistant golf professional Vincent Piazza said. "It's a good challenge. It's a typical links course, wide open and what you see is what you get: rolling hills, big fairways, big greens but undulating , well-protected by bunkers. Trouble is on the golf course ."
If you know your game enough to know you won't be keeping it on the fairway, wearing knee-high socks might be a good idea. We aren't kidding. Most holes have strategically places heather — tall, weedy grass that acts as a brutal hazard. The course also has a bevy of bunkers that will cost you a shot.
"You can grip it and rip it but you better be sure you find the fairways and greens," Piazza said.
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The course has a nice mix of extremely long holes (like the 600-yard seventh hole) and the drivable par 4 13th . Piazza says the course, which routinely is toward the top of public golf course rankings, has two signature holes .
"Hole 7 is the long par 5 up the hill with water on the right, guarded by bunkers and heather," Piazza said, and 15 is a dogleg left par 4, with a water hazard on the approach and heather to the right. They are two demanding holes right there."
Club selection can be tricky too. As a links course it's open to be sure, but landing and keeping the ball where you intend for it to go is a tough task. Taking less club is often the answer.
"We don't mind if the fairways get firm," Piazza said. "The course is firm and fast for sure."
Local knowledge tip: "If you hit it into one of those fairway bunkers, it's almost a penalty. It's hard to get it over those lips."
Price range: From $28 (for a resident at twilight) to $80 (for a nonresident on a weekend morning)