Pennsylvania's Historic Montrose Club Getting Refreshed

Over the past five years the small town of Montrose set within the deep Marcellus shale formations of northeastern Pennsylvania, northwest of Scranton and just south to Binghamton, N.Y., has been the epicenter of natural gas exploration. The presence of vast quantities of natural gas has attracted many speculators and large drilling companies to this small town.

Though drilling has waned over the past year and a half due to the sinking price of natural gas, the traffic and activity in the town of Montrose is still way above normal. The truck traffic transporting the gas and those involved in the construction of the rigging platforms has increased exponentially, resulting in jammed roadways and making a short trip out for milk a long bumper-to-bumper excursion.

The Montrose Club sits on the confluence of routes 706, 167 and 29. These roadways provide the main cross-though town access for all vehicles, including the natural gas truckers. The second green and sixth hole have been within feet of Route 76 for many years; the sixth was part of the course's original routing in 1888. Recently, in response to the heightened traffic and accidents, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has designed a realignment of the roadways resulting in the taking of a portion of the second green.

Currently, the hole plays as a short (324-yard), uphill par-4. Out-of-bounds (on the roadway) to the left adds a bit of difficulty to the tee shot. Then, with the green resting so close to the roadway, the approach represents a whole different set of problems. In its current location there is an obvious safety issue related to the nearby traffic. The new design will relocate the green 120 yards to the west to provide ample room for framing and protective shaping behind the surface. The hole will remain a short and fun par-4, with the line of play moving away from the road and strategic bunkering added within a high knob along the fairway and the left of the green, forcing play to the right.

Montrose is a special place with all the quirks and charm of a layout originated in the late 1800s. The new second hole will embrace this charm and the simplicity of golf at the turn of the century.

Overseeing the work is Robert McNeil of the Northeast Golf Company based in Saunderstown, R.I. For more information, visit