Opening up the game for all – the benefits of public courses
As old as the game itself, the public course has been an integral part of golf’s history. St. Andrews, the very birthplace of the sport, began as a public course and has been one for the majority of its lengthy history. However, It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that the idea of publicly owned courses really took off, both in Europe and the United States. Their rise in popularity helped the sport to gain traction by allowing it to cast a wider net.
Some still have the misconstrued idea that public courses are not as well-maintained as their private counterparts, but that’s simply not the case. Not only are some of the best courses in the world public, they are where many of the best players in history have gotten their start and can also be credited with introducing many a new player to the game.
While there are many benefits to playing public, the most obvious is financial. Many average Americans cannot afford to pay the high asking price for a membership fee, so public courses have helped to introduce the game to players who’d be unable to afford to learn otherwise. For this reason, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people of all backgrounds and skill levels on public courses – from the child learning to play for the very first time to the retiree making the most of their day. Not only is there a variety in players, but also the added benefit of playing on a variety of different terrains and layouts when playing on different public courses.
Since opening its doors in 1916, Cobbs Creek has been the epitome of what the public course stands for – a safe haven for all to enjoy the game no matter their race, gender, or level of skill. It was Philadelphia’s first public offering, designed by Hugh Wilson and the Philadelphia School of Golf Architecture, who were tired of having no good courses locally available for the average golfer to play. They wanted to be able to compete with the skilled players of neighboring New York who were in proximity to many good courses. Not only did they establish a great public offering for the city of Philadelphia, but it has been esteemed as one of the best in the country. People from all over the United States would flock to Cobbs Creek to pay homage to its lush rolling greens.
As such an important example of public courses, Cobbs Creek’s revitalization helps to preserve the history of the game and ensures that golf will continue to be available to players of all ages and backgrounds for years to come.