How Can I Play Wilmington Country Club?

The Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed South Course has taken decades to host its first PGA Tour event, but can you play it?

A view of the 13th hole at Wilmington Country Club
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wilmington Country Club is a picturesque golf club located in the stunning Delaware Valley. 

There are two courses, with the longer and more well-known 7,534-yard South Course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. As a result, it features many of his trademark bunkers throughout – and not just near the greens. Others are found on fairways, giving players plenty to think about off the tee as well as with approach shots.

Golf has been played on the site since 1901 when Wilmington Country Club was established with a nine-hole course. That all changed in the 1950s, when Jones Sr. designed the first of two 18-hole courses on the site, the South Course. That opened in 1959, with the North Course, designed by Dick Wilson, coming the following year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its long history, Wilmington has hosted some of the game’s legends, including Arnold Palmer in a 1963 exhibition tournament. Three years later, both Palmer and Jack Nicklaus graced the course for another exhibition. Nevertheless, 2022 marks the club’s first year hosting a PGA Tour event, with the BMW Championship.

Following the 2020 announcement it would do so, the South Course received a makeover from Andrew Green, including a lengthening of the course and the repositioning of the 14th green, making the hole 60 yards longer. Other holes of note include the 585-yard third, with its water-fronted green and bunkers guarding it to the right, left and at the back. Later on, the 18th leaves players facing a dogleg-left and an uphill approach shot with bunkers at the bend.

A general view of the 16th green at Wilmington Country Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The course is private, so playing as a member or a guest of a member are the best ways to experience the challenging and beautiful parkland course. Initiation fees and monthly dues are unreported, but anyone wishing to become a member can fill out a form on the club’s official website. If you do, you’ll be following in the footsteps of US president Joe Biden, who became a member of the club in 2014 and played it for the first time in his White House tenure in April 2021.

Who Designed Wilmington Country Club?

Golf has been played on the site since 1901, when the club was established. However, Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the course that’s used today. The more prominent South Course opened in 1959 with the Dick Wilson-designed North Course opening the following year.

What Tournaments Has Wilmington Country Club Hosted?

As well as several high-profile exhibition tournaments involving legendary figures in the game including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, Wilmington is also the venue for the 2022 BMW Championship – its first PGA Tour event.

Mike Hall
Freelance Staff Writer

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.