Golf Course

‘Frequent Flooding’ and Lack of Profit Cause Course to Close

FDR Golf Club

After frequent flooding and because of a lack of profit, FDR Golf Club will officially close Oct. 31.

The announcement of the South Philly golf course’s closure comes shortly after the release of a master plan for revitalizing FDR Park, which was unveiled to the public in May.

In a statement on its website, the club said the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department decided to close the public course because it was “no longer sustainable due to frequent flooding and unprofitable operations.”

A Parks and Recreation spokesperson said the decision followed “extensive flooding” and an “extensive community engagement process.” The spokesperson was unable to immediately comment further on financial problems.

Billy Casper Golf, the company has managed the FDR club and other city courses since 2008, did not respond to a request for comment.

Opened in 1940, the golf club is a public course relatively close to Center City. The city’s other public courses are Cobbs Creek and Karakung, Walnut Lane, John Byrne, and Juniata.

New master plan for FDR Park

Due to the closure, an extra 150 acres will be in play as part of FDR Park’s new master plan. The course’s statement said the space would be used “for expanded public use and ecological restoration.”

As for future golfing at the park, the master plan describes plans for a public driving range.

Prior to the creation of the plan, Fairmount Park Conservancy officials surveyed people in the area for feedback and suggestions, some of which made their way into the proposal.

The master plan calls for adding trails, meadows, basketball courts, and more play spaces, parking, rest areas, and restrooms.

Most current features of the park will be updated, refurbished, or repaved as part of the $200 million dollar project, which has a goal of creating “a self-sustaining public space that is owned and managed by the city and generates revenue from on-site concessions and events to operate and maintain the park.”

The work expected to be paid for through a mix of local, state, federal, and private funding.

Richard Solano, a resident of the neighborhood and former assistant manager of the golf club, is against the closure of the course, and said the master plan additions to the park would “disrupt the neighborhood.”

“They want to add wetlands, but they attract bugs, mosquitos, and other animals,” he said. “They want to add these parking spots, but all the traffic and fumes would not be good for the neighborhood.”

The next few years

Early phases of the project should be completed in the next three years, although the plan has been called a “multi-decade” one. Initial steps include:

  • Repaving park roads
  • Repairing the roof house on the Guardhouse
  • Constructing a 40-acre mitigation wetland that will provide wildlife habitat and access to nature

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