Sounds like a lot of these instances are the result of mismanagement over the years. But, as they say, times marches on. Our city has lost a number of exclusive private clubs (not golf) over the years. Members die out and the younger set isn't ready to cough up the big bucks it takes to join a private club, with or without golf.And then there is the profit motive. We did have a nice 18-hole public course close a few years back and the land was going to be sold for development. But the neighbors got the town to put it up for a referendum and the voters decided to purchase the land for trails and forever wild!
Having grown up sneaking onto the Creek Club on caddie's day, playing Nassau with the high school team( in the clubhouse a replica of the Calamity Jane the pro Maiden gave Bobby Jones, and the game Nassau that came from it's Morgan and Astor members not wanting their full scores posted in the Herald Tribune ), playing Bethpage Black before the sign at age 13, passing lost golfers living in shacks by the sandtrap on the fourth hole, (metaphor), trying to putt the diabolical Ross greens at Mark Twain as an old man, I say "Let them be left, oh let them be left" to paraphrase Hopkins. Golf is history, living still...
I imagine that part of the problem, as stated in the article is the lack of surrounding real estate needed to make improvements. In the Pittsburgh area, we have many older courses, but they have no room to lengthen them now, as they are surrounded by development.. Simply closing them is not a pleasing solution, though, for a number of reasons. 1). The pro's are hitting much further than ever, but most amateurs aren't , so these courses Don't need to be 7200+ yards from the tips. 2). Closing them increases the burden on nearby courses that remain open, and many of these owners, in a pure money grab, will increase green fees as neighboring courses close. 3). Once they close, and development happens, they are gone forever, and where will you find real estate to build bigger, better replacements? There are other issues, too, such as environmental impact, water & fertilizer usage. Losing a local course, whether it is a muni, private, or privately owned for public play is never a good thing, and it really doesn't matter about it's history. If I lose a friendly historic , Donald Ross course in my area, it is no more of a tragedy than you losing a friendly local course designed by Smedley No-name, because we both lost a course, and Smedley's course may have been just as nice, and just as important to you.
As we know, Golf is a centuries oldsport of Tradition and Honor.It is one of The Most Globalof Games. Yes, I feel as Golfers weshould preserve and protect the best of the best. One of the ‘magics’ of golf is that no two courses are alike,as courts, fields and pitches are alike in most sports.Diversity of courses, to me, is one of the great aspects of the Game!
The Wilmington,NC MUNI (Donald Ross) was renovated five years ago to put it back in its original configuration. Greens had shrunk to postage size over the years but are twice the size now. More 3-4 putts but hitting green in regulation. Course is thriving!
I'm not feeling warm fuzzies from the USGA or the PGA. I live in Raleigh, NC and have seen many courses in the south that were very playable for beginners and walkers being bought by developers with the approval of city & county governments for the additional tax revenue. Not sure what the USGA & PGA brain trust in these organizations are doing to partner with local governments to save these courses, that could actually grow the game, but they better get their game plan together soon. Once these courses are gone, you'll never be able to replace them in their geographic locations, again. First Tee or no First Tee you need these type of courses to build and sustain the game with the general public.
Sad to hear about Great Southern. Beautiful layout. Typical small Ross greens. Played it a few times about 20 years ago
There are other great old courses that are on the chopping block mostly in the East. Who can forget Englewood CC, Englewood, NJ. I think they played a US Open there way back when. Then came the GW Bridge and Route 80 cutting thru the front nine. It was gone by the late 70's. I wonder if Orchard Hills, River Edge, NJ is still around? Great beginners course .. Municipal courses are under attack! There's one outside of Newark, NJ that was the local track for so many of us "professional caddies" on Monday's or rainy days.....loved it!
I can say orchard hills is still a 9 hole course owned by bergen county 9 holes were eliminated to construct bergen county community college back the 1970s.my father an avid golpher and resided nearby and claimed in the day it was as good as any country club.orchard hills was indeed a great place to learn the game my friends and I would walk there because we were to young to drive it is located in Paramus nj almost adjacent to Ridgewood country club
Wow, it saddens me to see Mare Island close as it was a classic course. Unfortunately, as these high end courses gobble up golfer's discrepancy spending and in turn leaves little money left for local golf when they return home. Many people go on golf vacation and pay $5000 for a week. What they don't get is you could belong to a nice club and play golf for that price all year. . Another problem is the dynamic pricing model many courses are using. Say a course has regular green fees of $35, but using dynamic pricing you could be charged $50 or even worse on weekends. Dynamic pricing is just another name for price gouging. As a consumer I won't pay $10 for a item with a MSRP of $6 and same goes for golf. Slow play is the other dynamic killing golf, yet course continue to ignore this. Next add in $600 drivers and $500 to $660 individual iron costs and there goes the chance for main stream golfers to have good clubs especially since most of these clubs are mass produced in the Asian market.
YES,,,,,we are allowing golf history to fade ,,,just as we have forgotten the greats of golfs past who paved the way for what the young guns are enjoying now,,,,,we should all do our part to restore, play and support these historic venues and keep spirits alive nation wide