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By Joe Juliano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

August 29, 2018

The process seemingly has taken forever, the efforts by a small yet resolute group of folks dedicated to golf and golf history who were determined to restore the luster of Cobbs Creek Golf Course, a crown jewel of city courses for nearly 50 years before falling on hard times.

For years, the low-lying holes near the creek have been areas of constant flooding when it rains. Trees and waste areas were overgrown. A city that had more pressing needs offered only minimal maintenance to keep the course in operation.

However, persistence and patience, and even faith, aided a progression of events that had begun back in 2007 with an inquiry about the existence of aerial photographs taken when Cobbs Creek was a young and vibrant course. A key step came in 2010 when commercial real estate broker Chris Lange entered the picture.

Now, the curiosity about a course that once hosted national events and received visits from the likes of Ty Cobb, Connie Mack and Joe Louis is about to be rewarded. A unanimous City Council vote in June awarded the course for $1 in rent to the nonprofit Cobbs Creek Restoration and Community Foundation, an organization of which Lange is president, for the purpose of restoring, maintaining and operating the facility.

It won’t be cheap. Once the city and the foundation work out the final details of an initial 30-year lease, the foundation will present a strategic plan to the city for restoration of the course and the creek, and community engagement, and will seek to raise $20 million in private donations to fund the project.

“The plan is to restore the creek and restore the golf course, which we’ll do in an environmentally sensitive way,” said Lange, 64, a two-time Golf Association of Philadelphia player of the year from Bryn Mawr. “Then we’ll be giving back to the community in a lot of really good ways, some of which through The First Tee, but with other golf and education programs, scholarship opportunities for the kids and local high school golf teams.”

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