| Club History || |
On the heels of his work at Squires and in large measure concurrent with his efforts at Waynesborough came the creation by George Fazio of Moselem Springs. It is an unalloyed triumph. Given a splendid site, Fazio produced a splendid course.
The true circumstances surrounding the formation of the Moselem Springs Golf Club are not easy to pin down. One account holds that the late Hawley Quier, publisher of the Reading Eagle and the Reading Times, couldn’t get a starting time at Berkshire Country Club for a particular day and became so exasperated that he vowed to build his own course. Quier’s explanation is somewhat different and rather more poetic: "Some years ago," he related in a club publication, "on what must have been the hottest day of that summer I sought relief for body and spirit in the spring-fed pond on what was termed the ’family farm’ at Moselem Springs. Moments later, raising my head from the surface of the water, I recall vividly looking over the terrain and saying to myself, ’What a wonderful natural setting for a golf course!’ The ’family farm’ is now a memory and a golf course has been designed and constructed by George Fazio which has surpassed by far the scope of my dream . . . ."
Whatever the stimulus, Quier, a former Berks County Amateur champion (1929) and brother of Edith Quier Flippin, had the bit in his teeth now and moved briskly ahead. He had no difficulty in persuading John Guenther—fellow member at Berkshire and a former Philadelphia Amateur (1960), Pennsylvania Amateur (1952), and Pennsylvania Open (1960) champion—to leave his family’s hosiery business and join him in the undertaking.
George Fazio was hired late in 1961, and ground was broken in April 1962 on the 230-acre tract in Richmond Township, just north of Reading. The course officially opened a little more than two years later, on July 1, 1964. Among Fazio’s crew was his nephew Tom, all of 18, who was learning from the ground up—or down, as the case may be—the profession of golf course design and construction.
Despite the fact that the course was built for only $400,000, Guenther, the club’s first general manager, says, "Money never became a factor... we used whatever was available in technology and information. No corners were cut. Hawley was a first-class guy, and he wouldn’t do things any other way. That course is a monument to him."
And to George Fazio. For here is a course with neither a weak nor a dull hole on it. And in such an expansive setting—the sweep of the rolling terrain, the gorgeous vistas from the high tees at, for instance, Nos. 5 and 8, 16 and 18, the low mountains on the horizon that help emphasize the isolation and the pastoral charm of this remarkable eighteen—this is obviously not suburban golf. There is a spaciousness, a nobility, indeed, a grandeur that is all too uncommon—and enormously exhilarating.
Aerial view of the Moselem Springs clubhouse
And the golf itself is that rare combination of great character and great beauty. So many holes at Moselem— a par 70 measuring nearly 6,900 yards from the blues, about 6,450 from the whites—are memorable that one scarcely knows where to begin or when to stop. Suffice it to say that the quartet of one-shotters, which includes the spectacular 208-yard 13th (from a lofty tee, out of a chute and across a wooded ravine to a fiercely bunkered green) and the subtler but equally superb 3rd (174 yards: the swale, the sand, the guardian trees, the steep falloff on the left), rivals the corresponding clusters at Merion East, Pine Valley, and Philadelphia Country Club. As for the dozen par fours, three of them—the 8th, 456 yards, sweeping down from a high tee and doglegging left to a green guarded, appropriately, by only one bunker, at the right front; the inspired 10th, 385 yards, a stream tight along the left all the way before it swings menacingly across the front of the green and runs along its right side; and the heroic 18th, 445 yards, from its grand hilltop tee down to a generous landing area in the valley, then the perilously long forced carry over the pond in the crook of the dogleg to a green bunkered right and left.
George Fazio once said of Moselem Springs, "In all my golf years, I can’t recall ever having seen a location so perfectly suited for a championship course, from the standpoint of physical challenge and rural beauty." As for the hospitable clubhouse that Hawley Quier built, it is neither large nor opulent, but traditionally American in look and feel, the red brick, the white trim, the emphasis squarely on comfort. And upstairs is that rare amenity nowadays, guest rooms—a dozen of them— precisely where one is delighted to find one’s self after a day on this wonderful course, because an overnight stay is the assurance that we will be playing here again tomorrow.