I'm sitting here recovering from cervical spinal fusion surgery with a tube through my chest into my stomach to feed me for a while as I'm unable to swallow properly yet, and I find this thread...
Let's first get a better understanding of the proposed PGA program and Tilly's involvement.
The PGA Course Consultation Tour when started was never supposed to have lasted as long as it did. Jacobus & Tilly believed it would be 3-4 months; all in the PGA were stunned when it took on a dramatic life of its own with requests for Tilly to visit clubs around the country. The reason it ended in the fall of 1937 was because Tilly & his wife Lillian, who accompanied him throughout the entire Tour, was exhausted from the constant travel. He needed to set roots down once more for both of their sakes.
Tilly's deal with the PGA included that he would NOT do any of the design work for the club's he visited. That, for the most part, he would recommend local architects to each club that asked so that architects around the country could be put back to work. This didn't include clubs where he had ongoing relationships and was consulting with at that time. An example of this is SFGC. He stopped in on the club twice during his tour but because they were current clients he was able to provide them with the plans & oversight needed for whatever work that he recommended.
On the other hand, even if he visited clubs that he originally designed, if he wasn't actively working with them at the time he would recommend architects to the club. A good example of this was Brook Hollow. He recommended a young man named Perry Maxwell who would redesign the greens in 1937-9 and then rip out the putting surfaces and change the grass from Bermuda to Bent grass in 1940-41.
So the purpose of the new course initiatives was to put to work starving course architects throughout the country and not provide Tilly with hundreds of new clients. In fact, what was most likely the primary purpose which was quietly in the background, was to see the many PGA professionals who were out of work employed at these new clubs, thereby strengthening the organization and increasing very needed cash flow into the PGA.
In other words, it had the potential to be a win-win-win for many...
There were a number of course built through the WPA after this both with & without the help of the PGA. But by and large this initiative never got off the ground. For example, the Hungry Mother project only went so far as Tilly visiting the site, meeting with local engineers who would draw up the proposed course (Tilly was asked by Jacobus to do this design) and yet it stalled almost immediately as federal funds for the project simply weren't available. There were far too many open hands begging for funds to help industries and states with large number of unemployed workers that golf course and park projects, although worthy, were far from the top of those receiving the funds.
As for the true story behind the entire Bethpage Park project... I am currently on track to see my long overdue exhaustive history of Bethpage State Park and all 5 of the golf courses finished by late spring and hopefully on its way to the printer with a release of a limited edition only run of 1,000 copies before the Barclay's in August.
Every possible question one might have about Bethpage, the Black and all the other courses are explored and answered, as well as information about the upcoming PGA, Ryder Cup, relationship with the USGA and much more...