An Interview with Joe Fabrizio, President of Aronimink Golf Course

The 2018 BMW Championship, the third of four events in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs, is coming to Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa. the week of September 4-9. The top 70 players in the FedExCup standings will go head-to-head vying to be among the 30 players advancing to the TOUR Championship where a $10,000,000 bonus awaits the winner.  Aronimink’s Club President Joe Fabrizio and his fellow members are eager to introduce the newly restored Aronimink course to the international golf world, as well as to golf fans throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond.

Here is our recent interview with Joe Fabrizio, President of Aronimink Golf Club and Managing Shareholder for Rainer & Company, Certified Public Accountants and Business Consultants.
– by Barbara Lehman, Director of Communications, Destination Delco Tourism Bureau.

As Destination Delco’s Director of Communications, you might suspect I’m a people person.  And you’d be right.  I’m fascinated by people’s stories. I also happen to be fascinated by golf, which is why I was thrilled to speak with Joe Fabrizio, President of Aronimink Golf Club.

I interviewed Joe on March 23, just hours before the Villanova men’s basketball team would take on the physical, smart and scrappy Mountaineers of West Virginia. Like all of us in Delco, Joe , a Villanova alumni, was anticipating a Sweet 16 victory.  Now he’s anticipating another victory – for Aronimink Golf Club, its members and the entire county.  This September, when 70 of the world’s best golfers and thousands of fans from around the world arrive at Aronimink for the BMW Championship, Joe is preparing for them to have a world-class experience.

BL: “Tell us about your first experience playing at Aronimink. What captured you about the club?”

Joe Fabrizio, President of Aronimink Golf Club

JF: “I remember the first time I played at Aronimink.  Frank Rainer, who was a Senior Partner in the firm I now manage, was a member and suggested that I consider joining.  Without question the golf course made the biggest impression on me, but meeting the membership and seeing all the amenities and family activities were key factors in my decision to become a member.”

BL: “For many years you have contributed your time and talents to the club, serving as Vice President for two years, and  Treasurer for five years before taking the helm as President a year ago. What have been the biggest transformations in your time with the club?”  

BL: “In my 23 years here, without question, the renovation of our clubhouse in 2005-2006 and the current restoration of our golf course are the most significant projects undertaken. 

During our most recent restoration, we increased the number of bunkers from74 to 174, reclaimed green surfaces, restored the fairways to their original Donald Ross design, and replaced the raised rectangular tee boxes with free formed shaped tee boxes which conform with the contour of the land.  Our goal was to restore the course as close as possible to its original Donald Ross design and I believe we achieved that goal.”

BL: “Do you have a favorite place on the course, or an experience that has become part of the lore or legend of the club?”

JF: You need to see the Bronze Plaque behind our first tee.  It bears a quote from Donald Ross, who upon visiting the course after 20 years, remarked: ‘I intended to make this my masterpiece, but not until today did I realize that I built better than I knew.’” (Click here to view photo)

BL: “The BMW Championship has become a huge event for both golf fans and players. But what other prestigious events have been held here?”

JF: “We hosted the 1962 PGA Championship won by Gary Player. In addition, we hosted the 1977 US Amateur, the 1997 US Junior Amateur, the 2003 Senior PGA Championship, and the 2010 and 2011 AT&T National. In addition there are several tournaments already planned for the years ahead. 

BL: “How many people do you expect will attend the BMW Championship in September?”

JF: We expect to have 125,000 to 140,000 visitors over the course of tournament week.  Certainly there will be many local attendees, as well as fans from across the country.  In addition, our region will be in the spotlight as millions watch from across the world on television.

BL: “Which three holes should draw the biggest crowds? 

JF: “In my opinion holes #8, #17 and #18.  The AT&T event last played here in 2011 ranked hole #8 as one of the most difficult holes on the TOUR that year.  It’s a downhill par 3 with good viewing areas.  Hole #17 is a challenging par 3 over water that has great viewing opportunities, and #18 is always popular because it's the finishing hole.  In addition, considerable length has been added to the back tee of this uphill par 4 which should add to the viewing experience for spectators.”

(click here to continue reading)

Philadelphia Area Caddies Earn College Scholarships

Three students from the Philadelphia area were recently named recipients of the Platt Evans Scholarship, a full housing and tuition college grant awarded to golf caddies.

The result of a partnership between the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation and the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust, Platt Evans Scholars are chosen based on a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character.

The recipients – Parker Bria of Roslyn, John McCormick of Horsham, and William Morris of Flourtown – will attend Penn State University in University Park this fall.

The three were awarded the Platt Evans Scholarship following a Feb. 23 selection meeting at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square. Aronimink Golf Club will host the 2018 BMW Championship, a FedExCup Playoff event to be conducted by the Western Golf Association from Sept. 4-9.

Parker Bria
Proceeds from the 2018 BMW Championship will be used to fund Platt Evans Scholarships to Penn State University and to establish a scholarship house on campus, where Scholars will live and learn together.

The Aronimink Golf Club selection meeting was one of more than 20 such meetings the Evans Scholars Foundation will hold across the country through the spring. When the 2017-18 selection meeting process is completed by April, an estimated 275 caddies nationwide are expected to be awarded the Evans Scholarship.

The recipients are:

Parker Bria, from Roslyn, caddies at Huntingdon Valley Country Club. A senior at Abington Senior High School, she plans to study engineering. Parker is involved in many activities including student council, Key Club and National Honor Society. She plays on the varsity golf team and also participates in basketball, softball, ballet and competitive canoeing. She says, “I enjoy caddying and working alongside such great people. College education is very important to me. I am excited for the future of my college career.”

John McCormick, from Horsham, caddies at Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club. A senior at Hatboro-Horsham High School, he plans to study finance, a path he discovered through caddying for members at his country club. A member of the National Honor Society, he also started an investment club at his high school. He says, “I will always be grateful to
the many individuals I caddied for over the years. They were generous, intelligent, humorous, motivating and, without realizing it, teachers. They taught me to have a stronger sense of myself, look for a purpose and maintain the discipline to achieve my goals.”


John McCormick
William Morris, from Flourtown, caddied at Philadelphia Cricket Club. He is a senior at Springfield Township High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society, captain of the golf team and captain of the academic team. He also has played on the baseball team. William plans to study chemical engineering. He says caddying helped him to form relationships with people he would never have otherwise met. He says, “I realized something significant was happening. I saw the chance to make a true connection with someone; a chance that can only come from learning their story. So I decided to delve deeper.”

The three recipients will join seven other Platt Evans Scholars this fall at Penn State. This is the fifth year of the partnership between the ESF and the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust.
“Based on their excellence in the classroom and their service to their schools and communities, these young students have certainly earned this life-changing opportunity,” said local WGA Director Frank Polizzi. “We welcome them to the Evans Scholars family.”


“This partnership with the Evans Scholars Foundation is fabulous, and I compliment our trustees for approving the initiative," said J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust Chairman Jonathan P. Warner. "To have caddies like Parker, John and William involved strengthens our mission of making a difference in the educational lives of young men and women.”

William Morris
About the Evans Scholars Foundation

Established by famed amateur golfer Charles Chick Evans Jr., the Evans Scholars Foundation provides full housing and tuition scholarships to high-achieving caddies across the country. The Program, which is supported by the Western Golf Association, is funded by contributions from more than 32,000 Evans Scholars Par Club members, including Evans Scholars Alumni, as well as proceeds from the BMW Championship. Since the Program’s inception in 1930, more than 10,600 caddies nationwide have graduated as Evans Scholars. To learn more, visit www.wgaesf.org.



About Aronimink Golf Club

Inscription on plaque mounted on a rock overlooking the fairway to Hole #1
reads.“I INTENDED TO MAKE THIS MY MASTERPIECE,
BUT NOT UNTIL TODAY DID I REALIZE THAT I BUILT
BETTER THAN I KNEW."
– Donald J. Ross 
Aronimink Golf Club was founded in 1896 and moved to its current location in 1926. Donald Ross, the Scottish pro who became one of America’s foremost golf architects, was commissioned to design the course.

Even today we sense this tradition every time we enter the club grounds and approach our clubhouse. Over the past century we have hosted many prestigious tournaments most notably the 1962 PGA Championship, the 1977 U.S. Amateur Championship, the 1997 United States Junior Amateur Championship, 2003 Senior PGA Championship,the 2010 and 2011 AT&T National Championship, and the 2018 BMW Championship. In 2020, Aronimink will be hosting the Women’s PGA Championship, and in 2027 scheduled for the PGA Championship.

Aronimink Golf Club is rated #10 in the top 50 Golf Clubs in America. The 265 clubs were evaluated on universal recognition, excellence in amenities and facilities, caliber of staff and professional service levels, quality of membership, governance and prudent fiscal management, adapting to changing times, and overall experience. Platinum Clubs of America represents the very finest private clubs throughout the United States.

An Interview with Alex McCarty, Manager of the 2018 BMW Championship

Alex McCarty
In November 2017 representatives from Destination Delco visited Aronimink Golf Club and spoke with Alex McCarty, Manager of the 2018 BMW Championship conducted by the Western Golf Association.

According to Alex, “Aronimink Golf Club is in the second stage of a major restoration of the course that will return the terrain to its original configuration as designed by Donald Ross in 1926.”

The first part of the restoration was completed in early 2017, and when we arrived in November much of the landscape was filled with heavy equipment in the process of refurbishing bunkers, seeding fairways, and leveling driving tees and putting greens.

“Over the years,” Alex continued, “banks of individual bunkers had worn down to become one bunker. The course reconstruction will separate them and bring back the views and shadow lines as envisioned by the designer.”

“The rebuilding was a members decision,” said Alex. “And the golfers have been very understanding of the inconvenience while looking forward to playing the course the way it was intended…. as well as having the
BMW Championship here in September.”


The fairway between holes # 7 and #8 is one of the most picturesque on the course.The views are breath taking even in late November and through course reconstruction.
When asked about “why” BMW selected the Aronimink, Alex had no problem replying, “Well, it is a magnificent course, and the setting and location of the Club are superb. Plus the BMW Championship has raised more than $19.6 million for the Platt Evans Scholars Foundation. Supported by Western Golf Association, the Foundation awards full tuition and housing scholarships to caddies of modest means. Of the 870 Platt Evans Scholars enrolled at 18 universities across the country 8 are from Pennsylvania. Proceeds from the 2018 BMW Championship will be used to fund Platt Evans Scholarships to Penn State University. Funds will also be used to establish a scholarship house at Penn State-University Park, where Scholars will live together.  (Click here for more information on the Evans Scholarship Program)

“What many people don’t realize is that many Clubs have discontinued the ‘caddie’ concept, while Aronimink and its members continue to support the program, realizing that it is a tradition that is valuable to the game and to the young people who it helps support.”

Alex drove us past Hole 7, one of the most photogenic on the course past some current construction to Hole 9 which will share a tee box with number 17 when completed.  The fairway of #9 is a long uphill walk to the clubhouse where we concluded our interview.

When asked about sponsorship opportunities, Alex explained that BMW was the title sponsor, but that there are many opportunities for businesses and organizations to participate. For more information on corporate opportunities click here.

“One of the greatest features of the BMW Championship is the 70 top players who will be here to compete for a collective prize of $10 million,” said Alex.  “That’s impressive!”

2018 BMW CHAMPIONSHIP INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP TICKETS

The BMW Championship will make its inaugural visit to Aronimink Golf Club September 4-9, 2018. Come see the top 70 players in the world compete in the penultimate event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs. Please Click Here to review ticket options.

AN INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSIONAL GOLFER SEAN O'HAIR

Sean M. O'Hair
Born: July 11, 1982 Lubbock, Texas
Home: Chadds Ford, PA

Best results in major championships

Masters Tournament  T10: 2009
U.S. Open  T12: 2010
The Open Championship  T7: 2010
PGA Championship  T12: 2006

Achievements and Awards

Four PGA TOUR wins
PGA Tour
Rookie of the Year  2005


Though born and raised in Lubbock Texas, pro golfer Sean O’Hair has lived nearly half of his life in the Delaware County area. Sean entered golf early and knew by the age of five that he wanted to devote is life to the sport. With hard work and resolve he turned pro at the age of 17 and qualified for the PGA Tour in 2005, winning Rookie of the Year honors that same year, winning his maiden PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic and finishing second at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Sean, who now lives in Chadds Ford, has been a member of Aronimink Golf Club since 2005 and is currently on the PGA Tour and hoping to qualify for the 2018 BMW Championship, which features the top 70 players in the season-long FedExCup in September.

At the age of 35, Sean has already enjoyed a long career, and is looking forward to the competitions ahead in 2018. At the time of our interview, Sean was on a break at home before heading off to Pebble Beach, the Pacific Palisades, and on to the first event of the Florida Swing in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.


DD:  Sean, since you live in the area, you must be quite familiar with the course at Aronimink, what would you say are the biggest challenges of the course?

Sean O’Hair: Aronimink is a beautiful course, and I am looking forward to playing on “home turf.” It is somewhat intimidating to play “where you live” in that many of the people you know as a husband, father and community member will be watching you with high expectations. I would say that Hole No. 8 is the toughest, and requires everything from a 5 iron to a 5 wood. It’s a long par 3 with par being a good score. Hole No. 4 is also quite difficult in that the green is fairly small for such a long drive and can be tricky to get to.


DD: The course has been refurbished and the bunkers rebuilt. Does the renovation make the course more difficult to navigate?

Sean O’Hair: I played the course this past year with many of the changes made, and for me it seemed somewhat easier. Aronimink is an “old school” course and was well received some years back by the golfers in 2010 at The National. The course could be challenging for the “everyday golfer” since the bunkers frame the fairway, but I think that with some off the trees removed, the fairways have opened up.  I haven’t played the course after the full renovations, but I suspect that it will be made tougher for the pros.

DD: Aronimink is very much a “caddie club.” Proceeds from the 2018 BMW Championship used to fund the Platt Evans Scholars Foundation for caddies at Penn State University.
What is your opinion of the need for “caddies” in the modern world of golf?


Sean O’Hair: You’re asking a guy who has had both his wife and father inlaw as caddies and does in clubs like Aronimink. Carrying clubs is only a part of what a caddie does for the golfer, in part because it benefits both parties. The golfer can learn from a caddy’s experience what he’s learned from watching and assisting other golfers who have played the course, and the caddy benefits from meeting and commiserating with people in all fields of life. The caddy learns how to communicate with others, learn the values and the quirks of various players, and earn money to support schooling or other endeavors.  Caddying provides life lessons and gets kids out of doors and help make them responsible. Sometimes I worry about the world my kids live in today where video games and text messaging replace real world communication and experiences.

DD: Speaking of your family, your wife grew up around here. Where did you meet her?

Sean O’Hair: My wife is from Aston, but I met her at a practice session at Heron Bay in 2001 and we were married in 2002. She’s close to her family, so I moved into the area. We have four children: Molly, Luke, Grady and Trevor.

DD: Golf today is year round sport. Does your travel schedule make it difficult for family life?

Sean O’Hair: The travel can be difficult, but I love golf and I’ve made it my life’s work. Any commitment can be “selfish,” but as in many fields, a golfer needs to build balance into his life. I try to juggle my priorities and stay grounded. My family is important and essential to me, and I need to be there for them.


DD:  How do you spend your down time?

Sean O’Hair: With four kids its pretty much with them and my wife. My wife and I enjoy restaurants in West Chester and the Chadds Ford area. I travel so much that staying home is a vacation for me.

DD: As you get older, what have you learned most about the game of golf?

Sean O’Hair: I have been with it so long that I feel I have learned everything in life from it. My greatest weakness is my own expectations of myself and I try to deal with that on a regular basis. I think what I’ve learned most is that to remain viable in any field a person must be able to adapt to change. The game has changed a lot since I started out. Rookies are 21 and under rather than 22 to 24 years of age. They start out of the gate quicker, and have grown up in a world of rapid changes. As I get older I have to be careful not to extend myself too far both physically and mentally. I have to use my experience over my ability to beat the ball where I want it to go. And I have to keep the motivation to win…always. When I lose the motivation, it’s time to retire!


DD: What would you do if you retired?

Sean O’Hair: I don’t think I’ll ever lose my passion for golf and I hope that I will always be able to play the game without the pressures of earning an income. Golf is expensive and stressful. Unlike most team sports where you get a contract and are paid even if you’re injured, golfers only get paid if they play…and only paid well if they win. If I retired I’d like to teach clinics or be involved in it the game in some other way. Golf is my life and it has taken me a long time to become self-aware, know who I am and what’s valuable. If you don’t learn that, you never will gain anything.

Aronimink Golf Club Hole-by-Hole Descriptions

Click each hole to view outlines of tees, fairways and greens; photos of holes; and tips on playing each hole of the course.




Ross designed Aronimink to put even the best golfers to the "supreme test" - that of exceptional long-iron play. The Ross challenge is evident from the very first hole, which presents a sharp drop right off the tee, followed by a 250-yard uphill climb to the green. The course also requires endurance - especially on the 16th hole with its 545-yard,par-5 challenge.

To assure players are at the top of their games, Aronimink is balanced with well-crafted shorter holes that make strategic excellence and accuracy essential. However, in classic Ross style, the ingenuity of the course's design opens it up to all levels of abilities-presenting a rewarding challenge to the most skilled professionals, while giving average golfers a course on which they can play with confidence.

2018 BMW CHAMPIONSHIP VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

More than 2,000 volunteers will be on hand to help ensure the 2018 BMW Championship’s success for players and patrons when Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, hosts the tournament in September 2018.

Registration for positions is now open to the public, the Western Golf Association, which is conducting the event, has announced. Volunteers perform key tasks inside and outside the ropes during tournament week, including serving as marshals, assisting with player and VIP transportation and helping welcome thousands of patrons to the event each day.

“The BMW Championship could not happen without the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers,” said Vince Pellegrino, WGA Senior Vice President of Tournaments. “We’re grateful for all that our volunteers contribute to the success of our event.”

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and commit to work at least three shifts during tournament week. Shifts range from 4-6 hours in length, depending on assignment.

“This is a great opportunity for golf fans in greater Philadelphia to show their support for professional championships in our region and experience all that goes into staging a PGA TOUR event,” said Joe Fabrizio, Aronimink Golf Club president. “We look forward to having our neighbors and friends join us for an exciting week at Aronimink.”

Volunteers are asked to purchase a volunteer package for $148. Valued at $629, the package includes:
  •     Two Peter Millar golf shirts
  •     One Peter Millar outerwear piece
  •     One BMW Championship hat or visor
  •     BMW Championship commemorative pin
  •     Two One Day Tournament Round Grounds Tickets
  •     One Volunteer Credential, valid for entry all week
  •     One invitation to the Volunteer Appreciation Party
  •     Food and beverage vouchers
To volunteer or to view descriptions of each of the 15 volunteer committees, please CLICK HERE  Many positions fill quickly, so those interested in specific volunteer positions are encourage you to sign up soon, if interested.

Delaware County Hotels and Restaurants

The sites below are offered as a service of the Destination Delco Tourism Bureau for those visiting Delaware County for business, pleasure, or a social occasion. It is designed to help you select a lodging or meeting place and places to eat and entertain to suit your comfort, travel plans, and budget.


Click here for our Restaurant Guide