Fox Hollow Golf Club

Lehigh Valley course serves up good golf, great price

Originally published July 20, 1997

Remember that old radio ad campaign for the furniture outlets in Quakertown: ``Drive a little, save a lot''?

Turns out it also applies to golf.

Tucked in a woodsy enclave just south of Quakertown is Fox Hollow Golf Club, a pleasant little course of medium difficulty, with sufficient charm and pricing affordable enough to make it worth the occasional trek.

Price alone would make Fox Hollow a nice find, but it's a decent course, too.

At 6,198 yards and with a 118 slope from the white tees, Fox Hollow is not overly long or penal - you can roll the ball up on most greens, making it manageable for higher handicappers.

At a glance
Getting there: Fox Hollow Golf Club is at 2020 Trumbauersville Road, Quakertown. From Route 309 just south of town, take Tollgate Road west to the stop sign. Turn right onto Trumbauersville Road and follow it about three miles. The course is on the right. Phone (215) 538-1920.

Green fees: Weekend mornings, $36 to ride; after noon Saturdays, $20 to walk, $30 to ride; after 3 p.m. Sunday, $16 to walk, $22 to ride. Weekdays, $19 to walk, $30 to ride. Seniors (60 and older) and women, $20 to ride on Mondays and Thursdays. Juniors walk for half price.

Carts: Mandatory weekends and holidays until noon.

Spikes: Metal permitted.

Amenities: Moderately stocked pro shop, plus driving range, putting green, snack bar and grill, and banquet facilities (outings welcome).

Rating: Pleasant midlevel loop, folksy atmosphere.

Accurate as of July 1997.

Low handicappers can choose to bite off a little more. From the back tees, Fox Hollow plays 6,613 yards to a 123 slope, and only one par 5 is reachable, even for big hitters.

The outward nine is mostly flat but not boring, thanks to the pond on No. 1 and three doglegs. The back nine is shorter but a bit hillier and arguably more challenging.

Fox Hollow was built in 1966 as Thunderbird Golf Club by then-owner Al Cirino. In 1986, a group of investors headed by area resident Jack Eckenrode bought the course, infused some cash, and renamed it for the den of foxes that lived just off the 11th tee.

Since then, Eckenrode, who plays in the occasional senior pro event, has added a few flourishes to Cirino's design. He added a few fairway bunkers, enlarged the pond on No. 1, put in another small pond between the fifth and sixth fairways, and reshaped a few greens.

Among Fox Hollow regulars - Eckenrode says there's a steady stream of players from Philadelphia, drawn by the price and the folksy atmosphere - the favorite hole is No. 1.

That's not surprising. Although it's a fairly short par-4, 354 yards, players see a tree line up the left side, the pond in front of the green, and sizable bunkers left and right of the green. Most courses start off a little easier.

Other quality holes on the front side are the 582-yard, par-5 sixth, where the fairway narrows, then bends left. The 389-yard, par-4 dogleg ninth is another favorite among regulars, requiring a well-placed tee shot.

The most ill-conceived hole is the 10th, a 437-yard dogleg right with a banked fairway and huge collection bunker on the right. So far, so good. But the second shot must be hit straight uphill onto a smallish, blind green that slopes from front to back.

For the first-timer, the par-5 dogleg 12th is also a bit of a puzzle from the tee. A tree line juts halfway across the fairway from the left, making it almost impossible to cut the corner.

And a golfer who splits the fairway risks carrying the ball into the 50-yard-long bunker that runs along the right side at the turn of the fairway. Still, said Eckenrode, many regulars have figured out the 12th and find it to be their best birdie opportunity.

The 15th is the longest hole - 675 from the blues, 603 from the whites - and the most unusual. It takes two solid, straight shots to get the ball down to a hollow, where the 15th suddenly takes a 90-degree turn right and heads uphill into a bunkered, sloping green. Cutting the corner here is out of the question.

``People either love this hole or hate it,'' Eckenrode said.

Enough regulars hate it that Eckenrode is considering breaking the 15th into two holes - a 400-yard, straight par 4, then an uphill par 3 that would begin at the bottom of the hollow.

If he does that, Eckenrode would lose the best par 3 on the course, the 16th, a short but picturesque and tricky little hole that would eventually be combined with the straight, par-4 17th to create a par 5. Eckenrode said he plans to decide by October.

Either way, the 18th, another of the fun holes at Fox Hollow , will remain intact. It's a downhill, mild dogleg right into a bunkered green that makes for a respectable finishing hole.