It’s the end of the line for Horsham Valley Golf Club in Ambler.
A sign out front of the clubhouse, plus this
notice on the course’s website, make it clear that HVGC will close its doors for good
after Tuesday, July 3.
The course is currently open for play but
will be permanently closed to the
public after Tuesday, July 3, 2012
"Thanks for the memories."
Harry Barbin and Dave
A casualty of the drop in golf rounds nationally,
a struggling economy and a glut of courses in Eastern Montgomery County, the
property on Babylon Road in Ambler appears destined for the development of
residential housing, as the local Patch
The development, spearheaded by Cutler Group, will be divided
into three phases, the first of which will begin closest to Babylon Road and
then move backward. The finished product will include 94 units on a 70-acre
The initial phase will encompass the area that would connect to the
PECO Power Line trail and a retention base.
McBride said tree removal will be
heavily "front-ended," with 646 trees being taken out in the first
phase, followed by 179 and 135 in the second and third phases, respectively.
The local paper, The Intelligencer, sounded the warning in March, when it published
a story headlined "Montco looks into the future of its golf
Eight new 18-hole golf courses have opened in the
county since the mid-1990s but six have closed including the Island Green
Country Club that straddled Lower Moreland and Philadelphia.
The Horsham Valley Golf Club remains open although
there are development plans in place for the 66-acre property, according to
"Golfing is still going on there but it could go
under the bulldozer at any time," said Stokes.
While I learned the sad news only tonight, it
has been known for years that Horsham
Valley’s future was iffy at best.
I can recall owner and head pro Harry
Barbin telling me six or eight years ago that
surviving as a daily fee course was tough and that a deal was in the works to
sell the land for development. That
deal never quite happened and the course limped on – until now.
Open since 1957, Horsham Valley was never a championship course and never pretended
to be anything other than what it was – a working man’s golf course. In 1998, when I reviewed it for the Inquirer,
I likened Horsham Valley to the golf
course equivalent of a neighborhood bar:
Just as Cheers was a neighborhood tavern, Horsham Valley
Golf Club in Ambler is a neighborhood golf course.
Short at only 5,115 yards from the back tees, Horsham Valley
will never be mistaken for a championship layout -- not with seven par 3s, a
slope of only 102, and a par of 66.
But so what?
On any given day, Horsham Valley is
brimming with as many happy golfers as any swanky country club in the area. For
plenty of golfers, Horsham Valley fits like a comfy old shoe.
included a little of the course’s history:
The course opened in 1957 as a nine-hole course, designed by
owner Doug Melville and his father, Jock Melville, who also designed what is
now Twining Valley. Over the next decade, another nine holes were added. Barbin and his partners bought the course in 1980.
Since then, there has been a series of improvements. An
irrigation system was added, bunkers were recast, and eight new tees have been
built over the last three years.
Barbin and Horsham Valley do their parts for junior golf. It's the home course
for the Hatboro-Horsham High School golf team, and Wissahickon
High practices there. Money raised at Horsham Valley helped send eight
youngsters to the PGA Junior Golf Camp last year. This year, thanks to auctions
and fund-raisers, the club donated $6,500 in college scholarships.
Horsham Valley is not always aggravation-free. With upward
of 40,000 rounds a year played there -- many by youngsters and beginners --
play can be slow, especially on weekends.
Still, for a lot of golfers, that's a small price to pay,
especially if the fairways are full and mowed, the snack bar is stocked with
cheap hot dogs and cold drinks, and the staff is cordial.
dogs, cold drinks and a cordial staff.
Not a bad legacy.