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Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #75 on: November 05, 2007, 10:54:15 PM »
More from Tilly...

March 1915

The Philadelphia Public Golf
Course is destined to
be built in the park at
Cobb's Creek. That
the links for the people
is to be actually
constructed at last is
most gratifying to
those who have advocated
the project
for so long a time,
but to some it seems
that a more fortunate
selection of site might
have been made. The
Cobb's Creek section
is quite hilly and a
few blind holes are
inevitable. This is an
evil which should be
avoided, particularly
on a course which is
bound to be thronged,
and by those who are
not prone to be too
observant of the
ethics of the game.

April 1915

THE PRELIMINARY
WORK in preparing
ground for
t h e Philadelphia
public golf course
is under way. The
tract of land finally
selected is in
Cobb's Creek Park
close by the city
line. It is accessible by electric cars
of the Philadelphia and Western railwayŚ
about five minutes walk from
69th St. terminal,
and about the same
distance from the
terminus of t h e
Philadelphia Rapid
Traction Comp
a n y ' s line at
Haverford and
Landsdown avenues.
The new
course also may be
reached from the
State Road station
of the Westchester
and Ardmore trolley
line.
The committee
announces that the
course will be ready for play next September
but naturally it cannot be in
very good condition so early as this and
18 holes have been planned although at
the beginning it was thought that only
9 would be built during the first year.
The building of the Philadelphia
public course is the source of a great
deal of satisfaction to lovers of the
game in this section, but there is just
a tinge of regret that a less hilly and
more extensive tract was not selected.
It must be remembered that the
crowds of players over public courses
are not particularly prone to observe
the ethics of the game and for this
reason a course which offers blind
holes is likely to prove a bit dangerous.
Certainly the first plans of the
new course were criticised because of
this objectionable feature and as a
consequence they have been modified.
The work is under the supervision of
the park commissioners, but they are
in touch with some of the leading
golfers of the city and it is likely that
their suggestions
will bear much
weight.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 08:25:59 AM by MPCirba »

Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #76 on: November 06, 2007, 08:24:56 AM »
Mark,

I'm hoping you can perhaps share your source(s) for the information I have bolded below from your website.  

About 10 years ago I came across similar info, but didn't photocopy it, and just wrote some notes in my architecture folder.   I'm hoping you can point me to the source material.

Thanks for any insight!


The idea of creating a golf course in Fairmount Park dates back to January 15, 1913. On that date the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) held their annual meeting and unanimously adopted the following resolution: "Upon motion duly seconded, the president was requested to appoint a committee of six club presidents to confer with the Park Commissioners and other municipal authorities as to the possibility and feasibility of establishing a public course in Fairmount Park." The committee consisted of: John W. Peeper, Huntingdon Valley Country Club; Colonel Edward Morrell, Philadelphia Country Club; C.H. Geist, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club; Ellis Gimbel, Philmont Country Club and Robert W. Lesley, president, ex-officio, Merion Cricket Club.

Initially a plan was approved to develop a 50-acre course near Belmont Mansion in West Fairmount Park. The Park Commission rejected the plan due to concerns that park visitors would be injured by stray golf balls. In January 1915 the commission announced that it had agreed to establish a public golf course in Cobb's Creek Park, an area today covering 786 acres initially acquired by the City of Philadelphia in 1904

Construction of Philadelphia's first public golf course began in 1915 and opened to the public on May 29, 1916, with the President of the Fairmount Park Commission, E.T. Stotesbury, making the ceremonial first drive. According to a contemporary newspaper account, "Much credit is due to Hugh Wilson of the Merion Cricket Club, who drew the design for the course, and to A.B. Smith of the Huntingdon Valley Cricket Club and Jesse T. Vodges, Chief Engineer of the Park, who supervised the actual construction of the links." Known as the "Poor Man's Country Club" the 36-hole course maintained low fees and in 1940 attracted more golfers than any municipal course in the nation.


Joe Bausch

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Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #77 on: November 06, 2007, 10:17:08 AM »
Mark, I'm sure I'll be out to CC relatively soon, but I'm very curious to the exact locations of the tees on the old #12 and #17.  I've boxed up both Google maps of each hole.  Which quadrant(s) are the original tees located? Here is the old #12, with the green lower left and the current #14 tee upper right:



Here is #17, with the green lower right, current tee lower left, and current #6 green near the upper left:

@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #78 on: November 06, 2007, 10:26:50 AM »
July 1916

THE Philadelphia Public Golf
Course, located in Cobbs Creek Park
was opened to the public on May 30th.
At the close of the day 118 had registered
by paying the registration fee
of $1. One hundred and fifty caddies
had collected long before the caddie
master, William Coughlin, had appeared.
No uniform rate had been
decided upon, and the caddies received
whatever the players chose to give.
All of the lockers, which number 412
for men and 101 for women, have
been taken or reserved. The charge
made for these is $10 for each locker.

Aug 1916

THE BEST score made to date over
the new public course at Cobbs Creek
was turned in by Joe Seka, professional
to the Stenton Field Club. His
card read 78.

Sept 1916

ALREADY the Public Course at Cobbs
Creek at Philadelphia has been a
trouble breeder. A number of players
formed a club for the purpose of conducting
tournaments over the Public
Links and although they announced
that these tournaments would in no
way interfere with the play of others
there were some who strongly opposed
any such procedure. Despite the opposition
the club was formed and is
known as the Cobbs Creek Golf Club
and on the 19th of August they held
a tournament which was won by Mr.
J. J. Moriarty with the gross score of
107 and a handicap of 30. The best
gross score was made by Mr. J. J.
Sheehan, who made the round in 93.
Nearly fifty players competed.

February 1917

A GREAT DEAL of criticism is being
leveled at the public course of Philadelphia
at Cobb's Creek. Some contend
that while most of the holes are
for a good test of the game, they,
nevertheless, are not open enough for
the requirements of a public links.
But it is not the course itself which is
proving unsatisfactory so much as its
government. It is contended that the
fees which are demanded are greatly
in excess of those which the real public
may afford. As it is now Cobb's
Creek offers opportunities to those
golfers of Philadelphia who have been
members of other clubs but who take
advantage of the privileges of the
public courses because it is less expensive
than the regular organizations.
The chief argument which made
Philadelphia's public course possible
brought forth the fact that there were
thousands of working people in the
city, who would play golf if they
might do it inexpensively. At present
these very people seem to be quite remote
from golf as ever before. Certainly
the Park Commissioners have
made a number of ignorant blunders.
Such bungling is inexcusable for the
Commission might have the advice of
those who really know the game, but
evidently they have resented too much
poaching on their preserve.
As an illustration of this, a prominent
Philadelphia newspaper, before
the course was opened, offered to provide
a permanent trophy and annual
prizes to be contested for only by those
who held membership in no golf clubs
and this offer received the endorsement
of the Golf Association of Philadelphia.
Assuredly this was a step in
the right direction, for here was an incentive
offered the very people for
whom the public course should have
been provided. The offer absolutely
was ignored by the Park Commission
and as the newspaper deemed it unwise
to force a gift upon those who
wished not to receive it, no further
move was made. The incident simply
illustrates the conduct of Philadelphia's
public course.
The Quaker City was among the
last of America's big cities to build a
public course, and it is to be regretted
that it seems to be the last to realize
the true significance of one. For a
number of years requests for the
building of a public course were unheeded.
Probably the ridicule and
badgering of the press did more to
secure the course than years of supplication.
Possibly a bit of the same
medicine might be a good thing at this
time. Those who find it necessary to
partake of their meals at an Automat
usually do not have the price of terrapin
in their clothes.
IT IS TO be regretted that more clubs

April 1917

THE PUBLIC links at Cobb's Creek
took a long while to build, principally
because the Philadelphia Council and
the Park Commissioners could not
make up their minds to build them.
Since the Municipal course was
opened there have been many whisperings
of displeasure and assertions
that the real public was not being
given due consideration. Charges
for lockers and incidentals have been
deemed excessive and ever since the
opening of the course an unseemly
number of players, already associated
with club courses, crowded the course
to the exclusion of the humble working man.

No public institution can be free of
criticism, but undoubtedly the conduct
of the Cobb's Creek Public
Course has not been free from blunderings.
This is unfortunate and it
is to be hoped that the committee in
charge will take proper steps to
remedy the evils.
Last year a coterie of players
formed a club known as the Cobb's
Creek Golf Club for the purpose of
conducting tournments over the public
course. Certainly no objections
could be found, for the club declared
that they asked for no privileges other
than those extended to the general
public. Similar organizations exist in
other cities where public courses are
maintained. But evidently the path
of this new club was not destined to
be strewn with flowers. Dissentions
arose and these ruptures furnished a
toothsome morsel for space writers.
First the original officers were blamed
and immediately these injured individuals
naturally were indignant,
which furnished more material for
the public press. Bickerings not only
bring the public course before the
public unfavorably, but certainly they
do the game of golf no good. Unpleasant
things may be written about
golf and all other sports and all other
happenings of life, for that matter,
but certainly nothing can be gained by
unnecessary publicity. However, if
the Cobb's Creek Public Course is not
being governed and conducted as it
should be, the Park Commission
should be advised by the heads of
Philadelphia golf and above all else
no stone should be left unturned to
provide a golf course for the people
of Philadelphia who cannot afford a
membership in a golf club and these
public privileges should be offered
with as little expense as may be possible.

June 1920

But for genuine golf activity, the most
enthusiastic type can be seen at
Cobb's Creek, the lone Philadelphia
public links, any day in the week.
The official figures on attendance
how that the number playing there
has doubled since the first year,
1916, and from the start there this
year so far, it looks as if the
figures would be trebled. The
month the course was opened only
230 played it, but the next month
the figure jumped to 2500, and even
during the war the statistics month
by month in fair weather show a
steady climb upwards. In f a c t t h e
numbers playing have increased so
that the golf there, to a mere onlooker,
does not appear in any degree
comfortable. The majority of
players are duffers, liable to hit
the ball 200 inches or 200 yards.
From sixsomes down to onesomes
they are strung along every bit of
fairway, tee, green, rough and
water of the course; some within
one-shot distance of the next
match, some creeping up on
another in stealthy, topped-midiron
shots; some playing through a
match that has just found that
"lost ball." upon which the "lost
ball" match hits the ball regardless
and eagerly enters a race to regain
its lost position while the match
that has gone through ducks a golf
ball barrage, but is powerless to go
through the match ahead in turn.
Players even come there from New
Jersey, automobiles are parked
there as if at a ball game, and
doing work on the course is becoming
increasingly difficult owing
to the fact that it is hard to flag
 the unending parade of players
over the course to get a chance to
do any repairing or constructive
work on the much-tramped links.
All this is turning the attention
of the more enthusiastic players to
the possibilities of urging an otherwise
engaged city council to set
out other public links. It has been
argued that at least three more
such courses are essential, as there
should be one in each of the four
corners of the city. There has
been considerable talk of placing
one on League Island to take care
of the southern portion of the city
and another one in Frankford for
the northern population, both of
these being crowded sections of
Philadelphia where a great playground
such as this would be a
blessing. These new courses will
doubtless come in time. Meantime
Cobb's Creek is outdoing itself
in the matter of accommodations
and getting the golfers off the tees
without a hitch.

Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #79 on: November 06, 2007, 10:31:06 AM »
Mark, I'm sure I'll be out to CC relatively soon, but I'm very curious to the exact locations of the tees on the old #12 and #17.  I've boxed up both Google maps of each hole.  Which quadrant(s) are the original tees located? Here is the old #12, with the green lower left and the current #14 tee upper right:



Here is #17, with the green lower right, current tee lower left, and current #6 green near the upper left:



Joe,

Not wanting to speak for Mark, but I think the tee's on 12 were due right of your #9 square.

I think the tee for 17 is in your #1 square.

Hopefully Mark will be on shortly and be able to properly correct me.  ;D

Also, I'm really interested to hear the source of the contemporaneous newspaper account, because there has been a lot of speculation recently that perhaps Hugh Wilson wasn't the actual designer.

I would like to answer that one once and for all.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 10:42:35 AM by MPCirba »

MSusko

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Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #80 on: November 06, 2007, 10:48:00 AM »
Joe,

#12 tee is in the #8 square and #17 tee is in the #3 square.  To my knowledge the green at #17 has never been changed but I'll talk to some of the oldtimers to find out for sure.

Mike,

The guy that did the research for the webpage is no longer with us.  I'll call him to find out his sources.

Joe Bausch

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Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #81 on: November 06, 2007, 11:11:01 AM »
Thanks for the info Mark on the tee placements.  I know the distances estimated from Google Maps should be taken w/ a grain of salt; my calculated distances are as follows:  #12 is about 130, and #17 would be about 200 yards, maybe 210 tops.
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

MSusko

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #82 on: November 06, 2007, 11:27:49 AM »
The oldtimers say that the 17th green has always been in the same place but it used to be flatter than it is today.  They said that the yardage was around 220 but it played short of that because of the drop from tee to green.  It's amazing to me how well these guys remember the course pre WWII.  They are having a big discussion about it now so I'm sure I'll have more to follow.

Mark

Geoffrey_Walsh

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Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #83 on: November 06, 2007, 12:03:13 PM »
It's interesting how the newer trees are clues to the old design.  It looks like they were planted to obstruct the walking paths and the old shot corridors.  The trees and the proximity to the prior green led me to guess 8 or 9 on #12 and 2 or 3 on #17.


Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #84 on: November 06, 2007, 12:12:45 PM »
Thanks for the info Mark on the tee placements.  I know the distances estimated from Google Maps should be taken w/ a grain of salt; my calculated distances are as follows:  #12 is about 130, and #17 would be about 200 yards, maybe 210 tops.

Joe,

It would be nice to see a visual comparison of the 17th at Cobbs versus the 17th down the street built by the same guy.  ;)

Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #85 on: November 06, 2007, 12:24:32 PM »
Mike,

The guy that did the research for the webpage is no longer with us.  I'll call him to find out his sources.

Mark,

Thanks...we'll wait with bated breath.   It would be wonderful to nail this down.   :D



Geoffrey_Walsh

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Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #86 on: November 06, 2007, 12:38:35 PM »
An article (from August of this year) for those unfamiliar with the current situation at Cobb's:

http://www.travelgolf.com/departments/coursereviews/pennsylvania/cobbs-creek-golf-club-olde-course-philadelphia-bad-conditions-5771.htm

Geoffrey_Walsh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #87 on: November 06, 2007, 12:45:28 PM »
Eight years before the USAPL chamiponship went to Bethpage, it was held at Cobb's Creek in 1928.  "The qualifying medal went to Sam Graham, also of Pittsburgh, on 78-74-152, as scores up to 165, the highest ever, qualified for match play."

http://www.usapl.org/2007/history/past-champions/1928.html

I would think there must have been press coverage of the course and tournament at the time, no?

In addition, here is a summary of the other tournaments held over the years:

http://www.golfphilly.com/history.html

I never knew Charlie Sifford honed his game there in the 40's.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 01:06:23 PM by Geoffrey_Walsh »

Geoffrey_Walsh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #88 on: November 06, 2007, 01:15:11 PM »
Joe,

I'm not sure if you have posted this link, but I think your collection of photographs is extremely helpful for this discussion:

http://darwin.chem.villanova.edu/~bausch/images/Cobbs_Creek/index3.html

The picture of the #17 green shows how it is oriented towards a tee further left of the current one.  Almost all the greens are sloped back to front and face their original approach shots.  The same can be said of #6, #8 and #14.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 01:23:25 PM by Geoffrey_Walsh »

Joe Bausch

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Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #89 on: November 06, 2007, 01:17:22 PM »
Thanks for the info Mark on the tee placements.  I know the distances estimated from Google Maps should be taken w/ a grain of salt; my calculated distances are as follows:  #12 is about 130, and #17 would be about 200 yards, maybe 210 tops.

Joe,

It would be nice to see a visual comparison of the 17th at Cobbs versus the 17th down the street built by the same guy.  ;)

Strangely, Google Maps aerial view of that course up the street, whose name slips my mind right now, doesn't allow a zoom to the same level as Cobb's.  But I'll give something a shot during a break in the action here this afternoon.
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Joe Bausch

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #90 on: November 06, 2007, 02:04:19 PM »
Mike,  I guess this what you were looking for, which I hacked together on the ole computer w/ the help of Photoshop and Google maps.  I don't know why the aerial that day of Merion seems out of focus.



Merion's #17 is on the left (which seems to run due north), and Cobb's #17 on the right as viewed along the line from the 30's tee box.  Cobb's 17th I've rotated to make the comparison easier (it seems to run in the SE direction).

As GW indicated in a previous message, perhaps a pic of Cobb's 17th from my trip there this summer, taken from the current tee box, is helpful at this time:



Perhaps somebody else (Wayne?) can post a current photo of Merion's #17.  Those at GolfArchitecturePictures.com aren't quite what I was looking for as it seems some trap work was being done at the time of the pics.  I would have snapped a nice pic of #17 recently, but Shivas was in my group and I didn't want to wreck his round.   ;D
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Geoffrey_Walsh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #91 on: November 06, 2007, 02:28:55 PM »
Thx for posting that picture, Joe.  Those are natural, rugged bunkers made the old fashioned way... neglect. ;D
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 02:30:04 PM by Geoffrey_Walsh »

MSusko

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Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #92 on: November 06, 2007, 02:37:18 PM »
Believe it or not.  And I know those of you that are familiar with the situation at Cobb's probally won't.  We have a bunker renovation scheduled for #17 this winter.

wsmorrison

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #93 on: November 06, 2007, 03:00:50 PM »
Here are 2 somewhat recent photos of the 17th at Merion East.  The second photo shows Bill Dow following through.





Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #94 on: November 06, 2007, 09:01:16 PM »
Joe,

Thanks for posting them.   Of course it proves nothing, but I do find it interesting that the par three 17th at each course is a long, 200+ par three from a tee perched very high above a well protected target set in a dramatic natural amphitheatre.   Hmmm...coincidence?  

Wayne,

Thanks for the additional pics of 17?   Any idea what that construction is going on behind there in the top photo?   They aren't pushing 18 back again, are they?  ;)

btw, I thought the Hy Peskin's picture of Hogan's followthrough was a classic.

Ben ain't got nothing on our boy Bill!  ;D

Joe Bausch

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #95 on: November 07, 2007, 11:13:31 AM »
Currently #6 at Cobb's tees off from right next to the current #7 tee (and just behind #5 green).  Many of you will remember the tee being across the creek, closer to the road.  That bridge across the creek is no longer there (perhaps it was washed out in a flood?), but this Google aerial was apparently taken when the bridge and tee were present:

@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

wsmorrison

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #96 on: November 07, 2007, 11:22:21 AM »
Mike,

The work you see is a dated photo showing the construction of the championship tee prior the 2005 Amateur.  Most of the work being done over this offseason is XGD drainage in all greens, stream repair and sodding and seeding of fescue around the course to increase playability and finding your ball.


Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #97 on: November 07, 2007, 01:04:17 PM »
Wayne,

Thanks...those all sound like really good things.

All/Mark,

How does the weekend of December 1st look for getting together at Cobbs to chat?


wsmorrison

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #98 on: November 07, 2007, 03:47:01 PM »
I am available that weekend.  Should we bring our clubs?  We can always play nearby if need be.

Mike_Cirba

Re:Cobb's Creek "Restoreable"
« Reply #99 on: November 07, 2007, 06:17:37 PM »
Wayne,

Great...I'd bring the clubs.   Either way we should walk the Cobb's property on an archeological dig.  ;D

Hopefully the mild weather will last a bit longer.    

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