Initial ThoughtsIf you enjoy scenic golf on a private island in the beautiful Northeast (Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania), you may want to give Shawnee Inn and Resort a closer look. Here is our updated review of a course that at one time hosted a PGA Championship.
Oobgolf had previously reviewed Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in 2006 and we were not impressed. Well, that was then and this is now. From the moment I arrived at the resort, I could tell that this course was far from the same one that was reviewed two years ago. Shawnee is located on an island in the middle of the Delaware river and has three times been the victim of major flooding. In 2006,when the previous review was written, the course was still in flood recovery mode. It is now safe to say that the recovery is complete and Shawnee is once again back to its historically beautiful form.
Date PlayedSaturday, November 8th, 2008
Value - 8.0The prime time rates for Shawnee are $65 during the week and $90 on the weekend. It is hard for me to say that any course is a "value" at $90! For that much money, I want some elevation changes and a lot of creative shot making. This course, because of its age, has neither. It is a very flat course and the design is pretty straight forward. Their twilight rates are a little more reasonable at $50 and $35. The best time to play this course is, without a doubt, during the fall season. The obvious reason is the incredible color of the changing leaves on the mountains that surround the island. And, if that isn't reason enough, their fall rates are only $35 midweek and $45 on the weekend. Now, that is a value for this caliber of course.
Pace of Play - 7.5Fortunately, there were no groups immediately in front of my group on the morning that I played, so our round moved along quite nicely. However, the design of this course leads me to believe that pace of play could be an issue on a moderately busy day. With a limited amount of land on the island, 27 holes causes quite a few tight spots around the course where players on one hole will likely have to wait for players on nearby tees and greens. It is also likely that some tee shots will be making their way into the fairways of other holes. Additionally, there are three par threes and three par fives on the blue course. Par threes never help the pace of play and short par fives can also cause a back up as people wait to go for the green in two. Though my round moved along very well, the potential for slow play certainly exists when the amount of play becomes moderate.
Course/Maintenance - 9.0Oobgolf rarely receives an invitation to review a course this late in the fall season, especially a course located this far north. Most courses are still recovering from the fall aeration and the cool temperatures are beginning to take their toll on fairways and tees. Yeah, that is true for most courses, but apparently Shawnee did not get that memo! I would have said that this course was in great shape if I had been playing it in July, much less November. The tees and fairways, though not cut extremely close, were in excellent shape. The greens, while small, were virtually ball-mark free. Showers during the round caused the speed of the greens to be a little slower than I expected. However, more importantly than their speed, the greens were rolling as true as any greens that I have ever putted. There were no signs or scars of any disease or fungus on any of the greens that I examined, including the practice greens. There were an average number of sand traps on this course and most were in pretty good shape. There seem to be a slight inconsistency in the amount of sand in the traps that I checked, but that is not too uncommon towards the end of the season. Overall, the course was in great shape from start to finish. Factoring in the time of year and the challenges of leaves and cold weather, I was thoroughly impressed.
Hospitality - 9.5I, personally, put a big emphasis on the hospitality that I receive while at a golf course. After working at courses for so long, I have seen both ends of the spectrum. From both the business and customer side of the coin, there is no reason for poor hospitality at a golf course. If you want people to play your course more than once and if you want them to recommend your course to others, you treat them as if you are appreciative of their service. That is exactly the way that the staff at Shawnee treated myself and the other customers that I observed. From the gentleman behind the counter, to the bag boy, to the head pro, this staff wore a smile and was quick with a warm welcome. The customer service extended throughout the resort as I encountered staff in the restaurant, the inn, and even the bartender who helped to wash away the woes of the round! Anyone who has ever played the game knows how big of a factor hospitality is to the enjoyment of your round and the hospitality at Shawnee was second to none.
Scenery - 9.5Twenty-four of the twenty-seven holes at Shawnee are located on a private island. Need I say more? This place is absolutely beautiful! Before I even stepped foot on the course, I was in awe of the beauty of the river and the surrounding mountains. I was not surprised to hear that this resort books upwards of eighty weddings a year when I saw how perfect of a setting this location truly is. The golf course features two par threes that actually require you to play over the river to the green. In between the tee and the green is a beautiful bridge that spans the river about twenty-five feet above the water. I would recommend a designated driver for this part of the round! The private island part of the course is nothing but golf course. There are no houses, roads, buildings or anything else to take away from this amazing natural setting. I was even fortunate enough to be about thirty-five feet from a mature bald eagle as it sat perched above its nest in a pine tree right beside the tee of the third hole on the blue course. It was an awesome experience!
If there was one thing that I could change to increase the beauty of the island, I would cut down some of the large trees that border the course in an effort to open up the view of the river. Several times, I found myself walking twenty or thirty yards from the green or tee just to catch a glimpse of the river because of the trees that were blocking my view. Most of the leaves had already fallen from the trees when I played, so I imagine during the middle of the summer, the surrounding view is much more obstructed. I suggest chopping a few more trees down and taking advantage of the breathtaking scenery that surrounds this island.
Overall - 8.7 (not an average)Shawnee Inn and Resort is a beautiful course that offers golfers a unique private island setting with holes designed over the Delaware River. The lack of houses and roads around the course is a breath of fresh air for the golfer who is used to breaking windows and denting cars. Shawnee is an old course that has been expanded from its original 18 holes to now 27 holes. While having an extra nine holes can be nice during times of increased play, it also has a few drawbacks. My one complaint about this course was the occasional confusion as to how to get from the green of one hole to the tee of the next hole. Since the amount of space is limited, the additional nine holes causes for pretty close quarters with several opportunities for confusion about where to hit your tee shot or which tee box is the correct one for your round. Your first trip around this track will be a little confusing without a doubt. However, the condition and beauty of this golf course trumps any shortcomings in layout and puts this course on the short list of must-plays in Pennsylvania. Within a short drive from New York City, Philadelphia and all of Central Pennsylvania, Shawnee is worth the trip.
I would be remiss in my review if I didn't mention the extras that this resort has to offer. It is, after all, a resort and not just a golf course. The Inn is absolutely beautiful and far from the cookie-cutter hotels and motels that we have all gotten used to. Once inside the Inn, it doesn't take long to see and feel the history here. The rooms are decorated in a perfect blend of rustic and modern themes with an occasional Asian influence. Each room even includes your own pet plant to accommodate you during your stay! Though historic, Shawnee offers most of the modern amenities like an in house spa, indoor pool, and wi-fi as well. They offer a dozen conference rooms combining for over 15,000 square feet of meeting space. Whether it's a wedding, meeting, banquet, or just a weekend get away that you are looking for, you have to consider Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.
[ comments ]
I glad you updated your review. When I played there this past fall I felt your 2006 review was way off. Shawnee is an awesome course and I would go back there to play anytime.
[ post comment ]
10.0 - 9.5 World Class
9.4 - 8.5 Awesome
8.4 - 7.5 Very good
7.4 - 6.5 Above Average
6.4 - 4.5 Solid
4.4 - 3.5 Below Average
3.4 - 2.5 Save Your Money
2.4 - 0.0 Pay NOT to go