The Centennial Celebration of The Inn at Pocono Manor’s historic East Course is continuing throughout the spring and summer. The East Course, with its signature architects Donald Ross and William Flynn, is one of America’s oldest golf courses. The Inn dates to 1902 and is the longest continuously-operating resort in the Pocono Mountains.
“It is indeed an honor for our team and owners at The Inn at Pocono Manor to join together in this celebration of one of America’s great classic courses,” Lisa Green, acting general manager, told me this week. “Few of these courses remain from a century ago, and fewer still with two such recognized golf course architects. We’re thrilled we can share in this remarkable milestone with golf experts and with the public in this season-long celebration.”
“I’m personally very pleased to be a part of the history of this incredible classic golf course,” said Greg Wall, head golf professional at the resort. “My father, Art Wall, Jr., who won the Masters tournament in 1959 and for many years represented Pocono Manor as a Tour professional, remains an active part of the legacy of this beautifully-designed course. As does the remarkable Jack Cuttle, who was head pro here for 50 years. So much golf history has occurred at Pocono Manor, as well as countless memories for my family. It is an honor to help usher the East Course into its second century.”
Originally opened in 1902 in Pocono Manor, Pa. as a summer retreat for the Society of Friends in Philadelphia , The Inn at Pocono Manor has grown from 700 acres on the crest of Little Pocono Mountain to a comprehensive all-season resort on 3,000 acres. In the beginning, the resort’s original Inn–renovated in 2011–was joined by summer “cottages” for wealthy families from Philadelphia , with many still remaining within these families. The Inn made history by appointing a woman, Mary Emma Wister, as its first general manager. Ms. Wister successfully ran the Inn, having very few female peers as managers of lodging establishments within the United States at the time. Through the years, the Inn ‘s main lodge grew in size, including the addition of an eight-story tower in 1920’s providing striking views of the Delaware Water Gap, and became one of the first year-round resorts in the Poconos.
Throughout the last century, the 110-year-old resort, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, has distinguished itself within hospitality and in the golf world by adding 36 holes designed by three legendary golf course architects. The resort’s West Course opened in 1959 with nine holes designed by George Fazio as a modern complement to the East Course’s classic-era routing and style. The West Course expanded to 18 holes in 1965.
In 2011, more than $5 million was invested in comprehensively renovating The Inn at Pocono Manor’s historic main lodge. Renovations included all public spaces, event and meeting rooms, restaurants and lounges, and guestrooms. The all-season resort boasts 237 guestrooms, and 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space that can accommodate up to 500 guests. The Exchange at Pocono Manor restaurant features superb dining with an eclectic flair. The Old Lamplighter Lounge serves specialty beverages and pub fare throughout the day.
Complete recreational amenities are available at The Inn at Pocono Manor, including signature golf, horseback riding, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the luxurious Laurel Spa, fishing, clay shooting, cross country skiing, and more. Striking views of the Pocono Mountains are visible from all sides of the resort’s main building. Complimentary wireless Internet is available throughout.
The East Course incorporates a mountain setting with rolling hills and plush, tree-lined fairways. Some of the greats of the game, including Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Tommy Bolt, have played here and the course hosted LPGA and Senior Tour events. The East Course has one of the quirkiest holes you will find anywhere. It’s a 77-yard, par-three that plays dramatically downhill to a small green. The East Course has typical Ross design characteristics–small greens, mounded areas and heather growing off the fairways.
The resort’s West Course stretches to 7,000 yards from the tips, although there are several sets of tees that allow each golfer to choose the proper distance to play from. The West Course is considerably longer, flatter and wide open, so you can hit driver often.
Because The Inn at Pocono Manor is at a rather high elevation (around 2,000 feet above sea level) temperatures often remain pleasant even during the hottest days of the summer. And in the autumn, the mountainsides and woodlands turn brilliant colors to create a stunning natural backdrop for the Inn and golf courses.
When asked what makes The Inn at Pocono Manor so special, Green told me, “Tradition, and superb amenities, such as the historic golf courses. Wonderful facilities, food and service, active support of the cottagers over the past century, and location, all within easy driving distance from two major cities–Philadelphia and New York–and all points in between.