Philadelphia Golf Legends: Phoenixville's Don Weiland
A legend can be determined by many features.
When it comes to measuring Don Weiland’s status, consistency is the gauge. The Phoenixville CC member qualified for match play in 12 consecutive GAP Amateur Championships. Although he never won a championship on the Association level, Weiland did capture the attention of golf fans and pundits alike during the 1940s and 50s.
A member of a well-regarded golfing family, Weiland grew up in the game alongside five siblings: Frank, Peter, Douglas, Nancy and Helen Marie, who won the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Amateur Championship in 1961 and 1963. The Weilands played golf daily and competed in tournaments throughout the Philadelphia region. Don flourished during his youth, rapidly compiling an impressive record that included a runner-up performance in the 1944 Junior Boys’ Championship at Old York Road CC.
The superb streak soon followed. Weiland’s best finish in the Association’s most prestigious event came in 1949, when he earned medalist honors at Huntingdon Valley CC. Weiland compiled a 6-under-par score en route to the semifinals, where he was defeated by John Markel of Berkshire CC, 1-up. Weiland went on to earn a match play berth in nine straight Amateur Championships. During that span, he was dealt tough match play draws and fell to formidable names such as Dick Allman of Philmont CC, John Dyniewski of Whitemarsh Valley CC, Lincoln Roden, III of Huntingdon Valley CC and Alan Sussel of Squires GC.
Weiland returned to the semifinals in 1958 at Whitemarsh Valley. He experienced yet another difficult loss, this time at the hands of good friend Dyniewski in the form of a 5&4 score. Dyniewski also edged Weiland in the 1953 Patterson Cup by a stroke at Aronimink GC.
But golf wasn’t filled with purely sour moments for Weiland. The 84 year-old competed in the U.S. Open in 1950 and 1953. He defeated three-time GAP Amateur Champion Howard Everitt in the 1954 Sonny Fraser Tournament, a premier invitational at the time. Weiland also made the Mason-Dixon team on six occasions.
In 1963, life transported Weiland to Nigeria, where he worked in the meatpacking and refrigeration industry. Golf remained a part of Weiland’s plan, though. He became a member of the Ikoyi Club and won the Nigerian Open, then a budding international tournament. Weiland returned to his hometown more than a decade later and played on the Association’s senior circuit.
Today, Weiland still enjoys the game of golf. He takes to the course weekly throughout the warm-weathered months.
Launched in 2010, the Legends video series features prominent local players recalling their experiences and accomplishments both on and off the golf course. This is the seventh installment in the series overall. O. Gordon Brewer, Jr. of Pine Valley GC, Herman J. Fry of Reading CC, Blaise Giroso of Fieldstone GC, John Guenther, Jr. of Heidelberg CC, John Markel of Berkshire CC and Lincoln Roden, III of Huntingdon Valley CC were also spotlighted.