Overbrook: Cobbs Creek Golf Course Has A Unique History

Justin Marlowe prepares to hit a shot at Cobb's Creek Golf Course
Justin Marlowe prepared to hit a shot at Cobbs Creek Golf Course.

In the world of meticulously manicured greenery at private golf courses and well-heeled  country clubs municipally owned golf courses typically offer a poor comparison, often appearing dull and worn-out.

The Cobbs Creek Golf Course is one exception to that seeming rule. The history of Philadelphia’s first public golf course drives a large part of the mystique surrounding it.

Golf at Cobbs Creek was officially announced in 1915 and quickly became a success following its opening in 1917. This course was originally built because amateur golfers wanted a more challenging course to help them in inter-city golf matches, according to Mike Cirba, who helps run the website https://tinyurl.com/FriendsOfCobbsCreekGC

Philadelphia residents lined up at three and four in the morning to play at Cobbs Creek during its early days.

In recent decades, this course that has hosted PGA events has lost a lot of its allure with city residents and others opting to stay away.

“They don’t like to travel here,” Cirba said. “They think it’s unsafe. It’s not exactly the best of neighborhoods.”

This lack of usage has led to some disrepair at Cobbs Creek with the facility not looking as well kept as other local golf clubs.

But Joe Bausch, who assists Cirba with the website, said he does not think that this course is on its last legs. Bausch and Cirba lead a group that is working to restore the home Cobbs course club to its former glory.

“People in the area have an adversarial opinion on the place. A disconnect has developed and we are working to fix that,” Bausch said.

Bausch and Cirba are leading the efforts to restore the course to its previous condition and to attract more club members. The club has begun plans to offer special rates to local golfers to help return the course to the prominence it once had in the area.

In fact, the club has already returned to some of its roots. In early October, the course hosted the Atlantic Publinks Challenge. That event teed-up amateurs from Philadelphia in an inter-city match against Baltimore, just like in decades past. Only this time, the outcome was different, with Philadelphia winning the match.

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