Yes, I've seen articles that you're describing and I find it very interesting...valiant even, that the monied movers-and-shakers of Philadelphia golf at the time were so concerned about promoting and developing the game among all classes, thus the push for public golf.
It seems Tillinghast was also a very outspoken proponent, even if not directly serving on the feasibility committee. It can fairly be said that the major players at the major clubs really sort of shamed the city into building Cobbs Creek, by citing how far Philadelphia was falling behind public golf efforts in other major eastern cities.
Call me naive, but wouldn't it be wonderful to see some of that same civic pride and even some private funding exhibited today?
Perhaps it's not possible for Philadelphia and Philadelphians to do what has been done at places like Bethpage in NY, or East Lake in Atllanta, or Memorial Park in Houston or San Francisco did with Harding Park (although that particular one 's certainly not the model to follow)? Perhaps there really isn't that type of consolidated leadership amongst the golfing community, or concern with the growth and development of the game for our citizens as there was back in the 1910s.
I just don't see anything ever happening if we rely on public funding alone, because sadly, the city has larger public concerns that need addressing. However, if some type of private/public partnership could be forged to create a workable business model that would drive a renovation/restoration, I find it a little silly (again, just me being naive) and preposterous to believe that such a thing would be impossible.
There is plenty of land there. Just brainstorming out loud, I'd imagine something where the Karakung course could be redesigned into something that would attract golfers, again at lower rates, and the Hugh Wilson designed Cobbs Creek course being totally refurbished (new irrigation, new turf, etc.), and restored as closely as possible to the pre-war course.
Costs to city golfers should be kept lower, but out of city players would pay significantly higher fees (similar to Bethpage), and perhaps even some type of formal clubs established.
Again...I'm just throwing around ideas, but it seems to me that Hugh Wilson designed a very small handful of things in his too-short life and if we can't make Cobbs Creek into some type of shining example of his legacy and the history of Philadelphia golf, then perhaps we deserve out sometimes too-true reputation as a second-rate city.