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June 25, 2024

Golfer Jordan Spieth's foundation will fund new putting green at Cobbs Creek

The century-old course in West Philly is undergoing a $150-million rebuild and this new practice area will be used to introduce young players players to the sport.

Recreation Golf
Cobbs Creek Golf Albert Lee/City of Philadelphia

The historic Cobbs Creek Golf Course is undergoing a major renovation that will include an education center created by Tiger Woods' TGR Foundation. Nearby this building will be a 20,000-square-foot putting green funded by the Jordan Spieth Foundation. Both are expected to be finished in 2026. The course in West Philly is shown above in a photo during a groundbreaking ceremony in July 2023.

PGA golfer Jordan Spieth is joining Tiger Woods in the effort to restore Cobbs Creek Golf Course, with Spieth's foundation contributing $250,000 that will pay for the construction of a putting green for young players.  

Cobbs Creek Foundation, the organization overseeing the $150 million redesign of the century-old course in West Philly, said Tuesday that the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation awarded the grant to build a 20,000-square-foot putting green outside the planned TGR Learning Lab, a facility designed by Tiger Woods' charity that will teach STEM classes for children along with courses shaped by community feedback. Both are expected to open next year.

"The Junior Putting Green will serve as an inviting space where young players can be introduced to the sport, develop their skills, and foster a love for golf,” Jordan's wife, Annie Spieth, said in a statement.

Cobbs Creek Golf Course shut down in 2020 after decades of disrepair and flooding took their toll on the once-trailblazing landmark. The 340-acre property along Lansdowne Avenue, divided by Cobbs Creek, was one of only a few courses in the country that allowed Black golfers when it opened in 1916. It stood at the forefront of integration and helped give rise to prominent players like Howard Wheeler and Charlie Sifford, the first African American to win a PGA tour event.

In early 2022, the Cobbs Creek Foundation said it would restore the property with an 18-hole championship golf course and 9-hole course (the former Karakung beginner's course), along with constructing a two-tiered driving range, and a new clubhouse and restaurant. The TGR Foundation revealed last year it would build a short course and learning lab.

The restoration began last year with the start of work on the TGR Learning Lab.

The 9-hole course and Spieth's putting green will serve as spaces to introduce golf to people new to the sport, which has surged in popularity in the years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, Cobbs Creek Foundation said it will partner with Nike on an annual junior golf tournament to be held at the renovated campus. The company also will be the official retail partner at the golf course.

Spieth, 30, had a meteoric rise in pro golf in the middle of the last decade, becoming a household name with his victories at the 2015 Masters Tournament and U.S. Open when he was just 21 years old. He won the Open Championship two years later and now needs only a PGA Championship to complete the career grand slam of major tournaments — a feat only seven pros, including Woods, have ever achieved.

The work on the course in West Philly includes a $15 million plan to restore Cobbs Creek and the surrounding wetlands, the source of the flooding that was a factor in the closure of the grounds. Despite objections from environmental groups, who opposed the clearing of trees on the property, the city granted Cobbs Creek Foundation exemptions from anti-erosion regulations that will allow it to maintain the original layout of the championship course and construct taller facilities. The plans also include a new reservoir and pump house for irrigation.

The Cobbs Creek Foundation hopes the project will put Philadelphia back on the radar for future PGA Tour events, which historically have been played at courses in the surrounding suburbs. The 2026 PGA Championship will be played at Aronimink Golf Club in Delaware County, for example, and the region last hosted the U.S. Open at Lower Merion Golf Club in Montgomery County in 2013 with plans to host again in 2030.

The foundation anticipates that the driving range and short course will be finished in spring 2026, followed by the championship and 9-hole golf courses later that summer.