Location: North Braddock, Pa.
Course architect: Ferdinand Garbin
Tee — Yardage | Rating / Slope:
Black — 6,096 | 70 / 130
Silver — 5,862 | 67.5 / 122
Gold — 5,303 | 66 / 119
Copper — 4,721 | 67 / 113
Gold — 5,303 | 69 / 118
Saturday morning green fee: $$ [$50-$99]
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: No
Fairways: Kentucky Bluegrass
Starter: Perched precariously on a hillside overlooking the site of British Gen. Edward Braddock ill-fated cross of the Monongahela River in 1755, Grand View Golf Club was designed by renowned Western Pennsylvania architect Ferdinand Garbin. Golfers can still hear sounds in their backswings of the first ever and last operating steel mill in the area — Edgar Thompson Steel Works. The sounds offer players quite an unusual, unique – and sometimes noisy – backdrop for a round of golf.
Play because ...: The expansive views are worth the price of admission on a layout that is compacted into just 88 acres of grass. Golfers can see downtown Pittsburgh skyscrapers 10 miles away, flames shooting out of steel mill stacks, steeples of historic Greek Orthodox churches and across the river to national landmark Kennywood amusement park. And that’s just on the front nine. Who can pass up the opportunity to tackle a course with the nickname of Monster on the Mon? Former KDKA radio personality John Cigna often golfed here and came up with the moniker — and it stuck. An alternative course logo was created for golf clothing and apparel, featuring a dragon-type of creature that is a hot seller in the pro shop.
Takeaway: Bring the A-Game to this course or be prepared to dig into the bag for more than a dozen balls. No fairway is wider than 24 paces. “There are 60,000 golfers in Western Pennsylvania and there are probably 30,000 who won’t play here even if I paid them because it is too difficult,” said director of golf and general manager Tom Beeler. As many as 15,000 balls are recovered yearly from the various nooks, crannies and sheer drop-offs. “We know where the balls go. We haven’t bought range balls for 6-8 years. The better ones we sell as a pro shop item. We have some players come in and say ‘This is my ball, you’re trying to sell me my ball,”’ says a laughing Beeler. Grand View is about a 15-minute drive from famed Oakmont Country Club, so next time you are at a U.S. Open in the 'Burg pencil in some time to tackle the Monster on the Mon.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | beverage: 8.0
Pro shop: 8.0
Pace of play: 7.0
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No.14 [161 | 154 | 143 | 139 yards]
On a course with varying and significant elevation changes, this 160-foot drop straight down the hill makes golfers pause for a minute or two while deciding on club selection. Course regulars say drop down three clubs on a hole where only one-quarter of the putting surface is visible from the tee. “This is one of three of our par 3s that I kind of describe as island greens,” Beeler says. “There is no water around any of them, but you either hit the green or you’re struggling big time to get up and down.”
Best par 4: No. 15 [365 | 350 | 348 | 320 yards]
Situated down in a hollow, the hole is not long, but a driver is not really the play here because of a “bowling alley” narrow shoot of a landing area. A cliff on the right offers a few waterfalls and most players are hitting a long iron to an elevated green that can be difficult to hold.
Best par 5: No. 18 [587 | 540 | 499 | 404 yards]
One of only two par-5s on the course, this mostly uphill venture requires avoiding two separate lakes — one on the left for longer drivers and one guarding the approach to the green. The putting surface has the appearance of an infinity pool, which can fool a golfer on the chip shot.