Soon after World War II it was decided that one eighteen-hole golf course was not enough for the growing membership of Saucon Valley. Golf course architect William Gordon, who had worked with Toomey and Flynn (Shinnecock Hills) and constructed courses for Donald Ross (Seminole), Willie Park, Jr. (Maidstone) and Devereux Emmet (Garden City Golf Club), was chosen to create the additional course. The course is named for Eugene Gifford Grace, the man who founded the club and for more than four decades exerted a very strong influence on making Saucon Valley Country Club what it is today.
Grace was an 1899 graduate of Lehigh University who went straight from the campus to “the Steel” as Bethlehem Steel Corporation is commonly known.
In 1913, at age thirty-six, Eugene Grace was named president of Bethlehem Steel Company and three years later was elected president of the parent company, Bethlehem Steel Corporation. He spent forty years as president and chairman before stepping down in 1957. He died in 1960 at the age of eighty-three. He was a giant of industry and a true friend of golf. It seems only fitting that this breathtakingly beautiful 18 holes of golf be named after this true visionary.
The Grace Course is one of only forty-four golf courses in the country to have been named to Golf Digest’s prestigious “Top 100 Golf Courses” every year since the inception of the rankings in 1966 until the late nineties. Considering the great many outstanding courses that have been built in the past decade, this is no small feat. The Grace Course, long and demanding, is set among 150 acres that challenges the golfer to use every club in the bag. It is quite unlike the Old Course in both design and topography. The Grace Course surrounds the Old Course and does not return to the clubhouse at the ninth hole. It does stop at the quaint “Villa Pazzetti”, the club’s beautiful “halfway” house. The course measures 7,051 yards from the championship tees and features greens nearly twice the size of those on the Old Course but without the severe contours.
William Gordon, and his son David, completed the first nine, or “third nine”, of the Grace Course in the fall of 1953. The back nine, or “fourth nine”, was opened for play in 1958.
There are a number of quite unique holes on the Grace Course. The par three fifth hole is a classic example of an “Eden” hole, and is modeled after the famous eleventh hole at St. Andrews, Scotland.
The par three eleventh hole is a marvelous rendition of a “Redan” hole that features a slightly uphill shot to a green that is set at an angle to the tee and slopes gently away from the golfer.
The Grace Course finishes with three very strong par four holes, the shortest of which is the 437 yard seventeenth. These holes provide a fitting climax to true test of one’s abilities.