Cobb's Creek Olde Course

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birdsboro

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On Friday I played this course with China and another fella, and i have to tell you... in about 6 months to a year that course is gonna be SUPER nice. We played it last summer as a gag sorta, mainly because i like the older courses, and found it to be pretty rough. The fairways were missing grass, some of the tee boxes were just dirt, and lots of trash blowing about. Keep in mind that this course is a municipal course owned by the city of Philadelphia, also it serves as part of Fairmount Park, so its an open space too. At any rate, even though it was run down, you could see alittle of the beauty underneath(think finding an old stingray in a barn somewhere). Well we got together and went down on Friday(mind you its a one hour drive) to see if its any better, well i was impressed, a few years ago it was handed over to Billy Caspar management and it seems that finally they are putting money back into it and returning it to some semblance of its former glory. They have completely rebuilt the third green......which i feel is one of the nicest holes in PA..its a down hill dogleg right with a super nice green defended by Cobb's Creek itself... and on the par 3 17th a downhill 180yd par 3 they are finishing up rebuilding the whole thing.....the green is open but the rest of the hole is just dirt....but it has the apperance that all it needs is grass seed and they are good to go. the rest of the course is just overall in better shape compared to last year. I have never really done a course review before and am not sure if you all can understand what i am saying, but maybe China can get on here and chime in.... or anyone else from the area. I will go back in a few months and give an update.....
 

China Cat>Rider

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This course is on the verge of being spectacular. I read somewhere that this is the 6th best muni in the united states. Maybe when Ben Franklin played there...

The layout is truly wonderful. The conditions border on good to bad. Most of the tee boxes were more sand than grass. The fairways have large patches of dirt and most of the greens were barely playable considering they had just aerated. But with a complete rebuild of #3 and #17 it shows they are trying to bring back some of the courses old glory.

Not that I have played it (yet) but you could compare this course to Scotlands Olde Course. If you can get past the fact that you will have some bad lies and will be in the nasty stuff if you can't keep it straight then you will be rewarded with a nice course with TONS of character.

Basically if you're in the area and play the course as a true golfer then you just can't beat the layout and overall design. Or wait another year and it just may be one of the best courses in the northeast. And its dirt cheap too!
 

TheGasman

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Thats great guys. Its good to see the City handing over operations to a company who knows what they are doing.
 
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The OP was right on that this course could be something amazing if restored. Well, there's been a plan in the works for a few years to restore this place to its original design and those plans are now being finalized. I've heard that an annoucement around the U.S. Open should happen. Basically, Gil Hanse will be doing the restoration work and private donors are putting a ton of money into changing the course to its original design. They are also hoping for a Publinks championship at some point and are moving the Philadelphia GAP office to the course.

The restored Old course will also come onto the Karakung course, which will be turned into a 9 hole. The plan is that for tournament play, the Old course will be able to use yardage from the Karakung 9 hole course to top out over 7,000 yards.

For anyone not in the area, Cobbs Creek Olde was designed at the same time Merion East and Pine Valley were. All three courses were built as the centerpieces of tournament golf. The course went downhill dramatically, even being used as a missile silo in the 1960's, but playing it now you can see how unique and great the design is. Lots of painstaking research was done to find out the original design and the project gained tons of momentum in an effort to return the course, and Philadelphia public golf, back into the national conversation.

I'm pretty excited that it looks like this will now become a reality and I'll keep everyone posted on what I hear.
 

TheCrest4

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The OP was right on that this course could be something amazing if restored. Well, there's been a plan in the works for a few years to restore this place to its original design and those plans are now being finalized. I've heard that an annoucement around the U.S. Open should happen. Basically, Gil Hanse will be doing the restoration work and private donors are putting a ton of money into changing the course to its original design. They are also hoping for a Publinks championship at some point and are moving the Philadelphia GAP office to the course.

The restored Old course will also come onto the Karakung course, which will be turned into a 9 hole. The plan is that for tournament play, the Old course will be able to use yardage from the Karakung 9 hole course to top out over 7,000 yards.

For anyone not in the area, Cobbs Creek Olde was designed at the same time Merion East and Pine Valley were. All three courses were built as the centerpieces of tournament golf. The course went downhill dramatically, even being used as a missile silo in the 1960's, but playing it now you can see how unique and great the design is. Lots of painstaking research was done to find out the original design and the project gained tons of momentum in an effort to return the course, and Philadelphia public golf, back into the national conversation.

I'm pretty excited that it looks like this will now become a reality and I'll keep everyone posted on what I hear.
Wow, I have actually played the Karakung course when I visited my buddies up in Philly 2 years ago I believe. It was a dump hahaha but it also dirt cheap. I remember on one tee box that was all dirt and no grass we were asked by some questionable folks who were drinking beverages out of brown paper bags if we have any cigarettes they could bum. Oh man what an experience that was.
 
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Wow, I have actually played the Karakung course when I visited my buddies up in Philly 2 years ago I believe. It was a dump hahaha but it also dirt cheap. I remember on one tee box that was all dirt and no grass we were asked by some questionable folks who were drinking beverages out of brown paper bags if we have any cigarettes they could bum. Oh man what an experience that was.
Oh yeah, very easy to believe. I've heard stories about kids stealing golf balls in fairways and homeless guys giving pretty good caddie advice on some of the holes. And the courses are virtually unplayable once everything starts to dry out. They definitely have their work cut out for them.
 

birdsboro

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I actually really like this course and the layout.... I even like the fact that its in the middle of the city. I just wish that there was some proper grass...lol. After all the rain this week I may go down and play it Monday...
 

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All-Has anyone played Cobbs Creek this year?

I know it is not in perfect condition, but have heard from some in the know that early in the season it is a little nicer.

Planning on playing on a Friday afternoon soon and thought I could give the old place my money.
 

jplevens

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Hi All

I know this is an old thread but for those mildly interested, and perhaps not keeping up with things at Cobbs Creek - i'd suggest you check out the Friends of Cobbs Creek website (dot org) and have a look around.

As @Philly Golf Guy suggested (a few years ago) things are definitely in the works for bringing this course back up. In short: Watershed conservation, golf course renovation, and community service will all be the navigational lighthouses by which this ambitious effort will be driven. There is a Foundation created to forward these efforts. Cobbs Creek dot org has this to say "The Foundation has entered into a long-term lease with the City of Philadelphia for the rehabilitation, restoration, use, maintenance and management of the Cobbs Creek waterway and golf course. "

I play here, and one of the things that keeps me coming back is the potential of the 'bones' this course has. Even after decades of neglect and some not-so-smart re-routing of the layout, some of the holes are compellingly great, and one can see that as you play. If you do a YouTube search, you can view an old, but informative vlog with a few of the key organizers spearheading the campaign for preserving the course.

At this time - its in relatively decent shape given its usual state. When I play here I decide to be content with an absence of grounds keeping/natural veneer and play with a nod to what the holes 'could be'.

With FDR recently closed, muni-seeking displaced Philadelphia golfers have been coming here.
 
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chpar4

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Played at LuLu a month ago with Joe Baush. He is one of the principles on the Project. Stated by 2022 things should really be good. Sounded like the gears are really starting to turn on this project.
 

575M

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Great to see the Cobbs Creek name getting good press. I always considered their stretch of holes 3 thru 6 my favorite stretch of holes on any municipal course in the Philadelphia area. As I recall they also had a 600+ yard par 5. I did think their 18th was one of the weakest finnishing holes for what was considered a championship track.

The 1st time I played that course was roughly mid to late 1960's and it was with my dad. Approcahing the 1st tee there was a crowd of roughly 20 guys laughing and smoking cigars. My father new a few of the guys as they worked together for the US Postal Service. As we got closer one of the guys called us over and introduced us to Charlie Sifford who was just getting ready to tee off. Could not have been nicer to me. Thinking about it now I'm wondering if Charlie was in the Philly area to play in the old IVB Golf Classic at Whitemarsh Country Club.
 

NoLine

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Great to see the Cobbs Creek name getting good press. I always considered their stretch of holes 3 thru 6 my favorite stretch of holes on any municipal course in the Philadelphia area. As I recall they also had a 600+ yard par 5. I did think their 18th was one of the weakest finnishing holes for what was considered a championship track.

The 1st time I played that course was roughly mid to late 1960's and it was with my dad. Approcahing the 1st tee there was a crowd of roughly 20 guys laughing and smoking cigars. My father new a few of the guys as they worked together for the US Postal Service. As we got closer one of the guys called us over and introduced us to Charlie Sifford who was just getting ready to tee off. Could not have been nicer to me. Thinking about it now I'm wondering if Charlie was in the Philly area to play in the old IVB Golf Classic at Whitemarsh Country Club.
I encountered Charlie several times in the early 90’s, he used to regularly be at the old Freeway Golf Course in Sicklerville, NJ. I believe it was one of the only black owned golf courses in america at the time. I’ve been gone from NJ for 20+ years, believe the course shut down.


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J.B. Cobb III

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I guess I need to play this course! Maybe they’ll give me the friends and family rate?!😆
 

575M

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I encountered Charlie several times in the early 90’s, he used to regularly be at the old Freeway Golf Course in Sicklerville, NJ. I believe it was one of the only black owned golf courses in america at the time. I’ve been gone from NJ for 20+ years, believe the course shut down.


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Course was sold 3 or 4 years ago. No idea what happened to the property thereafter.
 

OGputtnfool

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I played Cobb's Creek in 2003. Not sure if it was the Olde Course (do they have 36 holes), but the course I played sounded like what you described the first time you played it. The course still holds the "top" spot for the worst course I've ever played... and I've played some doosies.
 

fuffle master

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I remember playing Cobbs Creek many years ago. I don't remember the course being in very good condition so restoring it would be very nice to see.
 

NoLine

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I hope to see it restored though I feel as if they’ve been talking about restoring it for as long as I’ve been alive.


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ORT

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We used to play there when I was in high school because it was one of the only places that would let you get a cart without asking how old you were. Then one of my buddies ran over another guy on the third hole and broke his arm. That was the last time they let any of us rent a cart.

Course itself was OK at best and really bad other times, especially when you would find empty beer cans in the bunkers along with other unseemly things.
 

FrancisD

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Last time I played Cobbs was 3 or 4 years ago and I forget what hole it was but I hit my ball right off the tee into some trees, I went in there to take a quick look and stumbled upon 2 guys hanging out, I think they might have been living back there...

Also is it the 18th hole where the parking lot is just right of your approach shot? I know there was one hole where I saw my buddies GTO sitting there and decided to just punch something down there fairway in fear of slicing it into the parking lot.
 

575M

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When I was playing Cobbs Creek back in my high school days the 18th was an extremely short downhill dogleg left par 4. A good strike off the tee would take the hill and put the ball just in front of the green maybe 30 yards or so out? As far as the parking lot I just don't recall if it was in that area.
 

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