GOLFER'S GUIDE NEWS - What's New in 2008

The year 2007 was certainly unusual in that it was the first in memory where more golf courses closed than opened. The golf business in general is flat and will probably continue to be that way again this year. The good news was that most courses did better business in ’07 and that may continue in 2008 as the trend of course closings grow in the Delaware Valley.

Ashbourne CC, long a classic private course, has closed down, to be developed into homes if Matrix Golf can get the permits. Two other courses will shut down at year end, Horsham Valley Golf Club in Ambler, Pa, bought for corporate use, and Heritage Links in South Jersey, probably for home sites. Play them while you can.

There are two bright spots, however, including a new course scheduled to open on April 1. It’s the Woodbridge Golf Club near Kutztown, Pa. I visited the course a few weeks ago and it looks like it will be a winner; open space, rolling hills, a links feel Give it a try and let me know what you think.

The other new opening, or should I say, re-opening, is at Rock Manor Golf Course just outside of Wilmington. It’s been around since 1921 but the original routing was cut dramatically in the 1960’s when I-95 was built. Thanks to the Blue Ball Project, a cooperative effort of the Delaware DOT, Dept of Natural Resources and Environment and the New Castle Conservancy, Rock Manor is again a championship 18-hole design. There is now a lighted driving range with half an acre of grass tee space, a fleet of new golf carts with GPS, a full service golf academy and an outdoor pavilion with seating for 180.

The city of Wilmington and club manager Billy Casper Golf will be renovating and expanding the clubhouse and will act as home to THE FIRST TEE of Wilmington. Rock Manor will surely be one of the big stories of 2008.


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