NEWS AND FEATURES
Horsham Valley GC to be Horsham Valley Estates 
Horsham Valley GC to close after July 3, developed for housing

By Joe Logan
Published June 28, 2012

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 Koch

 

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 website reported recently.

 

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 plot.

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 courses."

 

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 Stokes.

 

"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.

 

I even 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.

 

Cheap hot dogs, cold drinks and a cordial staff.  Not a bad legacy.

 

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4 Comments   |   0 Pending   |   Add a Comment  
Steve[7/7/2012 4:39:09 AM]
The Toll Bros sign was up on July 5. Horsham Valley Estates will be their new development of MacMansions.
tim[7/5/2012 10:41:43 AM]
For those who were members and long time players at Horsham valley, they will sorely miss it. The members got to play it one last time on July 4, followed by a party for members and friends of the club. For them it was like family, as everyone gathered around to watch Harry and Dave and their families hit the last shots into the 18th green, there were many a tear shed. It wonít be remembered as a great course, but it will be remembered as a home away from home for many where you were always treated well. I doubt that will ever be replicated anywhere else.
The Muni Golfer[6/30/2012 1:28:40 PM]
Played my last round at HVGC yesterday. The course was in surprisingly good shape considering its fate and they were mowing the tee boxes during the round. It is sad to see courses like this leave the local golfing landscape. We need more courses that are welcoming to everybody, regardless of age, gender or ability. HVGC wasnít long, but it wasnít pretentious. It was a course where you had to the ball in the right spot or you could get into trouble. Every other year or so I play there and always looked forward to the challenge, especially on the back nine with the power lines and the tough Par 3 at #15. I was happy to buy the last HVGC polo shirt on the rack. At least Iíll have that and my memories.
Steve[6/29/2012 3:37:31 PM]
It looks like their golfers will be heading to Fairways and/or Twining Valley as they are at the same price point as HV. Limekiln is too expensive for them.


 
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