Soon after World War II it was decided that one 18-hole golf course was not sufficient for Saucon Valley's growing membership. 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 new course. The course was named for Eugene Gifford Grace, the man who founded the Club and for more than four decades exerted an outsized influence on making Saucon Valley Country Club what it is today.
Grace was an 1899 graduate of Lehigh University who went straight from campus to “the Steel,” as Bethlehem Steel Corporation is commonly known.
In 1913, at age 36, Grace was named president of Bethlehem Steel Company and three years later was elected president of the parent company, Bethlehem Steel Corporation. He spent 40 years as president and chairman before stepping down in 1957. He died in 1960 at age 83. He was an industry giant and a true friend of golf. It seems only fitting that this breathtakingly beautiful 18 holes of golf be named after such a true visionary.
The Grace Course is one of only 44 golf courses in the country to have been named to Golf Digest’s prestigious “Top 100 Golf Courses” every year from the inception of the rankings in 1966 until the late 1990s. Considering the great many outstanding courses built in that time, this is no small feat. The Grace Course, long and demanding, is set among 150 acres that challenge 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,” opened for play in 1958.
There are a number of quite unique holes on the Grace Course. The par three 5th hole is a classic example of an “Eden” hole and is modeled after the famous 11th hole at St. Andrews, Scotland.
The par three 11th 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 17th. These holes provide a fitting climax to a true test of one’s abilities.
In 2014, Andrew Green did a restoration of the Grace course.
For a printable version of the Grace Course scorecard, please click on the image above.
|Rating: 73.8 Slope: 138|
|Rating: 72 Slope: 135|
|Rating: 70.3 Slope: 131|
|Rating: 67.4 Slope: 128|