Philadelphia native and architect Jim Wagner sketches a vision for Cobbs Creek restoration
Jim Wagner is no stranger to Cobbs Creek. The Philadelphia native, now a longtime partner of Gil Hanse and Hanse Golf Design, was a Cobbs regular and, like so many others, watched as the course declined. As he noted in Golf Course Architecture, “Looking back on it I’m not sure whether it was true understanding of architecture or through osmosis but there was plenty to learn about architecture, golf and life playing a round at Cobbs Creek.”
Today, Wagner is leading the vision to restore Cobbs Creek, marrying his professional skills as an architect with his personal history at the course and shared determination to return Cobbs Creek to its former glory. During a recent visit to the course, he shared some of his initial plans and insights into what the future of Cobbs Creek will look like.
Our mission is to create an all-inclusive, state-of-the-art golf campus that unites communities and educates and shapes the leaders of tomorrow. To bring that mission to fruition, Wagner, in collaboration with the Cobbs Creek Foundation and its various construction partners, covered several areas of the Foundation’s goals with a fresh new blueprint for the course.
This layout included a proposal to lengthen some of the course’s holes, increasing shot values and building up low-lying areas that have been prone to flooding over the years. An innovative irrigation plan was also discussed at length, with an irrigation pond suggested to provide a economical, sustainable way of irrigating the golf course. New buildings, including a first-of-its-kind Learning Center, the preferred location of the new Education Building and traffic flow, not to mention a new, world class, maintenance building which will include space for an Agronomy Learning Program for young Philadelphians to learn about Turf Sciences – a lucrative business where some earn well over six figures. Wagner hopes educating a new generation of students about these career opportunities will change lives and communities for the better, along with a new scholarship fund he and Gil Hanse created to benefit employees or children of employees who work at clubs the duo have worked on, or with. This naturally includes Cobbs Creek, and Wagner envisions a natural partnership with the planned Education Center and Agronomic Learning Program.
As he sees it, “If we can help one person, it will be well worth the effort.”
The odds were against Cobbs Creek for a long time, but it’s people like Jim Wagner that will carry it forward.