• Gina Matarazzo

Photo Fun Excursions: Mount Airy Golf Club

I took numerous photo trips during 2019, with most of them being in the Summer. Some were individual or with friends, while others were part of a fantastic photography course I took at Northampton Community College (Tannersville, PA). If I dedicated one blog to all the trips I made last year, that blog would be long! So, instead, I have decided to feature some of these trips in my blog twice a month, entitling them “Photo Fun Excursions” My goal is to introduce you to some of the places I loved exploring. These are the places where I captured great photos, but most importantly, they created great memories. This week’s stop is the beautiful golf course at Mount Airy Casino Resort!

Mount Airy Casino Resort, located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, has so much to offer. I frequent Mount Airy often—and not for the gambling! From weekly Starbucks excursions with my sis to girl’s night at the pool with my bestie to watching the swans in the lake, Mount Airy is a place to kick back, relax, and have fun. It is also a beautiful place to photograph!

If you have never been to Mount Airy Casino Resort or have never even heard of it, let me give you a little background. The Pocono Mountains used to be a huge vacation spot. There were so many resorts located here Caesars Brookdale on the Lake, Birchwood Resort, Penn Hills, and the infamous Mount Airy Lodge (as it was once known). Opened in 1898 and fully constructed by the mid-1950s, Mount Airy Lodge was the ideal spot for vacationers. New Yorkers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city would come to Mount Airy Lodge to enjoy activities such as sailing and golf. During the 1960s and 1970s, significant renovations were conducted, and Mount Airy Lodge was at its peak. The entire lodge encompassed over 1,200 acres and had close to 900 rooms. Sadly, like many of the other Poconos Resorts, the peak ended. Mount Airy Lodge began to fall apart, and tourists were flocking to newer, more modern resorts. The resort was in debt, and in 1999, Mount Airy Lodge went into foreclosure. The owner of the lodge committed suicide, and the resort was taken over by another company in 2000. From 2001 until 2004, Mount Airy Lodge was abandoned. I was young at the time, so I don’t remember how it looked. Of course, I do remember that catchy “beautiful Mount Airy Lodge” commercial! However, I have seen some of the still abandoned resorts in this area, such as Birchwood and Penn Hills, and I can imagine that the way they look was also how Mount Airy Lodge looked. In 2004, the Lodge was demolished, and plans for the new Mount Airy began. Things were looking up, and on October 22, 2007, Mount Airy Casino Resort debuted. With more than 1,800 slot machines, over 70 table games, and 188 rooms, Mount Airy is back in business and attracting people from all over again! But enough about history, let’s get to one of my favorite spots in Mount Airy: the golf course.

Last Memorial Day weekend, I had the opportunity to photograph the golf course at Mount Airy. I had become friends with the golf pro there, and he gave me permission to drive around the course and take pictures. Let me start by saying it was such a fantastic experience, and I am so grateful he gave me this opportunity. I remember arriving early in the morning, maybe around 10:00 am, and having a golf cart all ready for me. It was so awesome! Second to photographing the golf course, was driving the golf cart (it was my first time driving one by the way!) I believe I finished by 2:00 pm. Four hours of photographing! No stopping for lunch or anything else! Just straight shooting! I was like a kid in a candy store! But, it was also my first time being on the course. 

From the parking lot of Mount Airy, you can see the course. However, you cannot see the entire course, and you don’t realize how big it is until you actually get onto it. The whole course encompasses over 6,500 yards and is modeled after legendary holes from championship courses. There’s even a hidden waterfall and creek that you cannot see unless you are on the course. Now, I am not a golfer—unless it’s mini-golf—but the course at Mount Airy is beautiful! There are plenty of inclines and turns on the course, so there is no way you can travel around the course unless you have a golf cart. I am not going to lie— it was difficult at times maneuvering that golf cart! But the view was amazing! Yards of greens surrounded by trees and the lake is postcard perfect! And with the bright sunny skies, I got so many amazing shots that day! Plus, seeing the resort from different angles gives you new perspectives!

To capture these shots, I used only my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II mirrorless camera. Mirrorless cameras are lighter and easier to carry around. Knowing that I would be on the course during peak hours and would sometimes need to move fast to get out of the way of golfers, I figured my mirrorless camera was the best one to take. Plus, I had just purchased the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II lens and was pleased with the pictures I had captured with it. With the 28-300 mm equivalent focal length, it was perfect for capturing the entire golf course. 

Photographing the golf course was an experience of a lifetime! I never imagined I would get that opportunity. If you want to experience the golf course for yourself and enjoy an amazing 18 holes of fun, visit https://mountairycasino.com/golf/ and schedule a tee time. While you’re there, don’t forget to have lunch at the Club House. Their menu has many great sandwiches and beverages! 

Thanks for reading!

XO Gina

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