Tucked between the former boom towns of Oil City and Franklin, Pennsylvania, Wanango Country Club boasts the following byline, “Original Front Nine by Donald Ross, Second Nine Thomas Bendelow and redesigned by A.W. Tillinghast.” The tireless contributors to Golf Club Atlas’ Discussion Group would take some issue with the design heritage, but the GCA researchers also unearthed vintage news articles chronicling William Fownes’ visit to Wanango for consultation (no doubt in the company of the redoubtable Emil Loefler) and the hiring of its pro and greenskeeper during the roaring 20’s. Although the boom days are long past and the Club today shows its age, the golf course remains true to its pedigree and is a wonderful treat to play.
The opening holes do not make it hard to imagine that Ross, Bendelow or Tillie had a hand in their creation. One is a short four, two a monster, three an up and down beauty and then into the forest for the next three only to emerge to the magnificent par 5 seventh with a tee shot vista of great renown. Eight a devilish three and nine a wild ride par 5 back to the house.
The inward half cranks up with a lovely par 3 played across a crevice wasteland. The course then bobs and weaves over hill and dale with several outstanding holes, 13 is a great 3, 14 a sloping 4 and 15 a short 4 snaking around the bend with death awaiting an errand shot right. The closing holes are no slouches (and to the Judge in caddyshack) and 18 is a wonderful three shot finisher.
Load up the sticks and road trip to Wanango for a wang dang doodle of a round of golf.