The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, over 100 years in operation and located in the small town of Shawnee on Delaware, boasts one of the few championship golf courses designed by legendary golf architect A.W. Tillinghast that are open to the public, with Shawnee being his first design ever.
In all, there are a total of 24 of the resort’s 27 holes on the course are located on a private island in the middle of the Delaware River.
Great Bear Golf Club, formerly known as Great Bear Golf and Country Club, came under ownership of nearby Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort recently. Great Bear, the area’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, opened to stellar reviews in 1997 and operated as a private club through 2011. Great Bear Golf Club plays to 7,025 yards from its longest tees and is tee to green bent grass, with tee to green irrigation and no parallel fairways.
Integrating the three lakes, several streams, wetlands, small bridges and rolling terrain, Nicklaus created a course that presents itself differently to golfers of varying skill. For the experienced player, the course offers interesting challenges and pro tees that will bring out your strongest game. Yet it’s also designed to be a course with the ultimate in playability, ensuring enjoyable round after round, revealing its intricacies and craftsmanship the more you play it. Great Bear is destined to be one of the Golden Bear’s great ones.
Many of the game’s greats of golf during the first half of the 20th century played the course at the Shawnee Inn, including Walter Hagan, Lawson Little, Johnny Farrell and later Arnold Palmer. Television stars Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball, Perry Como and Ed Sullivan made the resort, nicknamed “The Gem of the Northeast,” a regular stop.
Shawnee’s golf course (27 holes) demands thoughtful tee shots and approaches to the small, tricky greens. Depending upon which configuration of 18 holes is played, the course measures from around 6,500 yards to slightly over 6,700 yards.
“The Shawnee Country Club now includes play at both Shawnee and Great Bear courses,” said Jeromy Wo, the Resort’s Marketing Director. “Since we purchased Great Bear Golf Club back in 2012, we have been working hard to integrate the club into our resort’s culture.”
Wo continued, “One of the wonderful benefits of commanding two of the region’s best courses is that we can make club membership that much better for our members. In combining the membership, Shawnee Country Club members now have access to tournaments, events, and of course 45-holes of golf all in one package. We have opened up Great Bear’s tee sheet to fully accommodate public play. In the past, it was more challenging to secure tee times at Great Bear—this year the course if fully open to the public.’
Wo said that what makes Shawnee such a great place to visit is that it is the “only destination in the Pocono Mountains with such diverse golf opportunities.” He added, “You can play our Shawnee course and experience a classic layout that is uniquely flat for our region one day, and then the next day you can play the region’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature Design that features a modern design and a topography that one comes to expect when playing mountain courses. Our tee to green irrigation and highly-skilled groundskeepers ensure that Shawnee and Great Bear are always in ideal condition.”
Wo said, “Our golf history is rich–and we are dedicated to golf. Everything that we do at Shawnee, whether it is introducing a new amenity (the ShawneeCraft Brewing Company or Spa Shawnee and Salon) or expanding our golf program (Great Bear Golf Club), is always with our golfers in mind. Aside from that, where else can you play golf on an island in the middle of the Delaware River; is there anywhere else in the world where you can play a round and then drink beer brewed right on property?”
The Resort always offers specials. Visit www.ShawneeInn.com, or e-mail: marketing@ShawneeInn.com to be included in the Resort’s e-club. Membership is free exclusive promotions for tee times and golf vacations are offered.