Close to the Pin
At Moccasin Run—the “country club for everyone”—golfers discover one of Chester County’s most challenging yet playable courses
by Bill Donahue


For living proof that anything is possible through perseverance, hard work and a little ingenuity, look to Curtis King and his family.


Building on a rich dairy-farming heritage amid the rolling hillsides of Chester County, the Kings transformed a swath of family farmland into one of the region’s best-maintained 18-hole golf courses: Moccasin Run Golf Club. The par-72 course, which has been something of a well-kept secret since it opened for play in 1988, remains family owned and operated to this day.


From the very beginning the Kings have made course conditions a top priority—and it most definitely shows, as Moccasin Run boasts some of the most immaculate greens and fairways in the greater Philadelphia region. In addition to course conditions, the Kings place equal emphasis on family hospitality, customer service and pace of play, all of which can make or break an enjoyable day of golf.


“Everything here needs to look perfect and beautiful to the eye,” says Curtis King, who built Moccasin Run along with his father and brothers starting in 1986, and has since become the course’s sole owner. “Course conditions aside, we’re very big on customer service and making this a warm, welcoming place where people don’t feel like we’re doing them a favor by letting them play here.”


Billed as “the country club for everyone,” Moccasin Run is a pure golf course. Golfers won’t find pool memberships, tennis courts or fancy restaurants here, but they will discover pristine conditions worthy of the most-esteemed country club.


“You also see it with some of the small details throughout the course, like the flower beds at the tee boxes, the hardscaping and the granite tee signs,” he says. “The average or better golfer might not notice it because he’s more concerned about the condition of the course, but there are a lot more people who do notice and tell us these touches really add to the overall value and experience we want to provide.”


The Kings built the course with design direction from John Thompson, a fellow dairy farmer whose family preceded the Kings in successfully transitioning from agriculture to golf. Thompson designed his family’s course, Pickering Valley Golf Club in Phoenixville, as well as Foxchase Golf Club in Stevens, Spring Hollow Golf Course in Spring City and Furnace Bay Golf Course in Perryville, Md. With Moccasin Run, Thompson strove to create 18 holes that are challenging yet playable. According to Curtis, Moccasin Run has evolved since its opening, in part because the landscape has “grown into the layout of the course.”


“If people haven’t been to Moccasin Run or haven’t seen it in five or 10 years, it’s a different place now,” he says. “In 1988, you could hit the ball anywhere, and it’s not like that today at all. If you miss a shot and do get into the trees, you can at least advance here. Since year one, our goal has been to offer the best conditions that we can possibly give, and our customers always comment how nice the fairways and greens are.”


Regardless of their handicap, golfers are assured of an enjoyable day at Moccasin Run, whose big-target greens average 6,500 square feet. Golfers are unlikely to find another course in the region with such secluded areas that truly enable one to relish Chester County’s peace and quiet at its idyllic best.


“You’re not playing through developments, and you’re not playing the golf course with houses lining the fairways,” Curtis says. “It’s all agricultural farmland surrounding us. It all depends on your personality, but for me, I don’t want to play with streets around the golf-course perimeter, hearing traffic going by all the time. The only thing you’ll hear out here is a tractor tilling the farm and harvesting the crops.”


Despite the tranquility, the course has its fair share of demanding holes.


“There are six or seven holes where you have to play over water, though you can take the water out of play depending on your tee shot,” Curtis says. “Golfers are going to get a lot of rolling hills and challenging shots, with plenty of risk involved, but there might only be two holes here where you have to drive the ball 300-plus yards and have to choose another club [other than a driver] off of the tee.”


Moccasin Run features four sets of tee boxes. This enables a golfer to play the course to suit his or her particular skill level, according to Rodney King, Moccasin Run’s PGA professional and also the golf coach for nearby Octorara High School.


“If you’re playing the right tee boxes you’re going to find it a very challenging but playable golf course,” he says. “It’s a very fair golf course for the high handicapper but challenging enough for the low handicapper to come out and have fun. Being a member of the Philadelphia section of the PGA, I have the privilege of playing a lot of very nice private golf courses. I’m not saying we’re the best course around, but we’re right up there with the private clubs in terms of course conditions and playability.”


For his part, Rodney’s favorite holes are No. 15, which is the course’s longest par-5 at 582 yards, and the signature No. 18, an intimidating 370-yard finisher that “brings them back.” “You could win or lose a match on the 18th hole,” he says. “But no matter who you are and how well you play, I think you’re going to have a very fun time here.”


Adding Value

Moccasin Run, which is the home course for Octorara, is also promoting the game—and ensuring its future—through a thriving junior program designed to not only teach kids ages 6 to 17 how to properly swing a club, but also to preserve its etiquette. The junior program, which runs Tuesday and Thursday evenings from early May through early August, enables parents to spend time with their sons and daughters and share in the tradition of the game at a very affordable price.


Moccasin Run also facilitates a number of group outings, tournaments and other special events throughout the year. Guests are welcome to enjoy an outdoor pavilion for events, complete with a full catering menu that Curtis describes as “excellent”; the course allows groups to bring in a caterer of their choice, if they prefer. Before getting ready to play the course, guests can take advantage of the course’s practice facility, which includes a driving range and greens for chipping and putting.


Although Moccasin Run has earned its reputation for having some of the best conditions around, the Kings are by no means resting on their laurels. For instance, Curtis intends to remodel the clubhouse as a way to add a conference room for groups that want to come in for lunch and golf meetings, as well as some other amenities. He also has been busy on the marketing end, developing a loyalty program that entitles golfers to valuable discounts—10 percent off greens/cart fees and 5 percent off goods in the pro shop—based on the annual amount they spend at Moccasin Run.


Curtis has also worked with other area golf courses on a program whereby a golfer can buy a special Trail Pass Card. Golfers who purchase this card receive 20 percent off every time they play at participating courses, which currently include Moccasin Run, Crossgates Golf Club in Millersville and Tanglewood Manor Golf Club in Quarryville.


“You’re coming here because you love the game of golf, and we’re going to provide you with great course conditions,” says Curtis. “We also work very hard at monitoring pace of play so people can come in and play a round in four and a half hours, without making you feel rushed. … Everything we do here is to add value and give golfers every reason to come back again.”


Moccasin Run Golf Club

402 Schoff Road

Atglen, PA 19310

Phone: 610-593-2600



Rob Hall is a photographer based in Plumsteadville.