Pine Valley Golf Club, the top-ranked golf course in the US that first opened its doors to women members in 2021, has been selected to host the 2034 Curtis Cup.
“We are committed to bringing our championships to the finest golf courses in the country, and over the last several years, that commitment has only strengthened for our women’s championships,” said Mike Whan, chief executive of the USGA. “That is why, on the eve of a monumental first US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach, this is a fitting and historic announcement for the Curtis Cup and the USGA.”
The biennial match that pits the top American female amateur golfers against the best from Great Britain and Ireland, will be just the third time the vaunted New Jersey club has hosted an elite competition, and the first involving women. Previously, Pine Valley hosted the 1936 and 1985 Walker Cup matches, and also hosts the annual Crump Cup for elite mid-amateurs. With the exception of a Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf exhibition between Gene Littler and Byron Nelson in 1962, Pine Valley has never hosted an elite professional event.
Located 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia in the pine barrens of southwest New Jersey, the unique George Crump layout has been ranked the No. 1 course in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses list since 2017, and has only seldomly surrendered the top spot in the ranking’s history. As Golf Digest architecture editor emeritus Ron Whitten has written, “Pine Valley blends all three schools of golf design – penal, heroic and strategic – often on a single hole.
A genuine original, its unique character is forged from the sandy pine barrens of southwest Jersey. Founder George Crump had help from now-legendary architects H.S. Colt, A.W. Tillinghast, George C. Thomas Jnr and Walter Travis. Hugh Wilson (of Merion fame) and his brother Alan finished the job, and William Flynn and Perry Maxwell made revisions. Throughout the course, Pine Valley blends all three schools of golf design – penal, heroic and strategic – often times on a single hole. Recent tree removal at selected spots have revealed some gorgeous views of the sandy landscape upon which the course is routed, and bunker reconstruction by Tom Fazio has given the barrens a more intricate and ornate look.
A playing of the Curtis Cup at Pine Valley is particularly noteworthy given the club’s long history as a male-only club. The club went 108 years without allowing female members, and waited nine years after Augusta National Golf Club opened its doors to women before following the same path. After voting to change its membership bylaws in 2021, Pine Valley admitted LPGA legend Annilka Sorenstam, and accomplished amateur golfers Sarah Ingram and Meghan Stasi as its first female members.
The US defeated GB&I, 151/2 to 41/2, last year at Merion Golf Club. The next match is scheduled for 2024 at Sunningdale Golf Club in England, followed by Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles hosting in 2026, National Golf Links of America on Long Island in 2030 and Bandon Dunes Golf Club in 2038.