Course Name: The Country Club of Scranton (Falls Course)
Designer: Dr. Michael Hurdzan (1988)
Location: Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
History: The Country Club of Scranton was founded in 1896, with the first golf course being built in 1927 by Walter Travis. Known as the Old Course and featuring the “Pines” and “Willows” nines, this course is considered one of the best in Pennsylvania. The Club became 27 holes in 1988 when it enlisted Dr. Michael Hurdzan to build the 9-hole Falls Course.
Conditions: 8/10, While not as well-conditioned as the Old Course, the Falls 9 is still in good shape with nice fairways and teeboxes and greens that still ran well despite being recently aerated.
Value: N/A, This is a private course.
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Black 36 3309 36.4 127
Gold 36 3249 36.0 127
Blue 36 3148 35.6 125
White 36 2971 34.6 121
Green 36 2591 33.3 115
Silver 36 2479 34.8 117
Hole Descriptions: After not playing the Falls Course on my initial visit to Scranton, I was fortunate to play the course on my return and came away with a positive impression. While neither as memorable nor as good as the Old Course, Scranton members are lucky to have another 9 holes at their disposal. This 9 is very different than the other 18 and I think that’s a good thing, as it provides a very different experience and required skillset. The greens here are quite easy to read in comparison to the world-class greens on the Old Course but this course is much tighter and modern-feeling and still provides a fun challenge. If anything, this 9 is a great way to settle up bets or get a quick practice round in, and I feel I would play here all the time if I were a member.
At 520 yards, the opening hole is unfortunately an awful hole and the worst on the course. A very awkward par 5, this hole runs straightaway along the edge of the property for the first 370 yards before turning sharply left. From here, the fairway narrows to pretty much nothing and most golfers are playing their approach over water to a large green defended by a bunker long. The architect clearly ran out of space along the edge of the property here, as this L-shape design is quite strange and leaves the golfer few options. From the dogleg, this green is only about 140 yards away and with virtually no space to lay-up, this hole would be better suited as a long par 4.
The 2nd hole is a nice, 165 yard par 3 wedged between a pond down the left and fescue right. A pretty one-shotter, this hole features a two-tiered, back-to-front sloped green defended by two bunkers short right and one long.
The 339 yard 3rd hole is the shortest par 4 on the course and plays rather tight and semi-blind over a plateau at about 230 yards. From here, you’re left a somewhat awkward approach to a well-guarded, left-to-right sloped green defended by bunkers short on either side.
The 4th hole is another very tight par 4 at 375 yards defended by trees left and a steep slope and OB right the entire way. Finding the fairway is imperative at all costs here and your approach runs slightly downhill and to the left towards a large green guarded by a bunker long.
At 489 yards, the 5th hole is another short hole as a reachable, uphill par 5. Again tight and tree-lined, this hole also features mounds of rough down either side that yield difficult lies. This approach runs slightly uphill to a large green defended by bunkers on all four sides.
After a very short and tight start, the final few holes at Scranton’s Falls Course open up and play a bit longer beginning with the 444 yard par 4 6th. Playing from an elevated teebox, this slight dogleg right features an inviting teeshot to a generous fairway lined by rough. This hole is bunkerless and features a very flat green.
The 7th hole runs parallel to the preceding hole as a straightaway 424 yard par 4. Large bunkers line either side of the fairway between 200 and 240 yards, but otherwise the hole is fairly open and generous. This approach plays towards a circular green defended by bunkers short and long.
At 144 yards, the par 3 8th is the shortest hole on the Falls Course and also my favorite. A downhill one-shotter with prominent views of the Old Course, this beautiful hole features a Lion’s Mouth green with a severe back-to-front slope.
A strong closer, the 9th hole is a tough 409 yard dogleg left par 4 featuring an immediate forced carry of over 200 yards just to reach the fairway. A pair of bunkers line the right side at about 250 yards and you need a longer carry the further left you venture. This approach runs uphill towards a left-to-right sloping green defended by large bunkers short, left, and right. Par is a strong score here.
General Comments: Built on an expansive 384-acre property, this 27-hole Club offers strong practice facilities with a large driving range and short game area. The majestic green and white clubhouse sits stately overlooking the course and is equally as impressive on the interior. The locker room seemingly hasn’t been touched since its inception and gives off an old-school feel only seen at the most exclusive private clubs. Scranton also has some of the best showers in golf!
Verdict: Offering a nice contrast to the Old Course at Scranton, the Falls Course is a tight, modern design that features good conditions and a fun 9-holes. The membership is lucky to have an option like this and it is worth a play for guests who are already playing the Old Course.