I'm looking for a new hobby to get me through the golfless winter and have decided on this: I will compile an authoritative list of golf courses that do not require shirts.
So far, I know for certain of only one such place, Squires Golf Club, a private course in the Philadelphia suburbs. Only the fellas can play Squires, and over the past 40 years or so the club has developed an excellent reputation for money games, fast play and a good bar. All your better Philadelphia athletes and team owners hang there, if they know anything about the good life. A worthy start, but I need more, and I'd be grateful for your help. If you have a lead, leave a comment below or send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A week or so ago, I wrote about a neighbor, Joe Winder, who grew up playing a nine-holer in Mansfield, Ohio, called Cool Ridge. I couldn't find it online, and now I know why. It's Coolridge, one word. Find a better name for a golf course than that. I quickly learned that it measures 3,101 yards, that the fall green fee is $10 for nine holes and $15 for two trips around, and that the course was opened in '26. That was a very good year for golf-course openings. Check it out.
But here's what's troubling me: do I put Coolridge on my no-shirts-required list? The two reviews of it on golflink.com left me scratching my head.
Here's what Stan_Signor wrote about it: "With new owner, course in pretty good shape. Shirts required at all times. Hot dogs/chips/beer-liquor/soda available."
But a writer traveling under the pseudonym golfman wrote this: "Nothing in the club house except pop and beer and about 3 different types of candy bars. The reason this course has never taken off is they over charge for what they offer and then they let anyone on the course. Last year 4 guys with no shirts on and really drunk were in front of us. At least keep the rif raf out."
The full name of the place, according its website, is the Coolridge Golf Course & Lounge. (OK, top that.) It didn't say anything about a shirt policy. I called the number but no one answered and there was no message, at least not when I tried. A guess would be that management requires shirts but is loose about enforcing the rule. If that's the case, then it goes on my list, right after Squires. But if the four gents playing in front of golfman were an anomaly, then I can't put the 'ridge on the list, although I'm sure the course and lounge have other things going for them. For starters, the photo of the course on the website is very spooky and cool and golfy.
Anyway, if you know of shirt-free courses, or know more about the Coolridge stance on the matter, I'm all ears.