York, Pa.: America’s first capital of golf?

Golf courses in York County may turn from green to black, as in asphalt.
Residential builders want to cover over some or all of Copper Beach, Heritage Hills, Springwood, Honey Run and Hawk Lake courses. The same beautiful land that makes up these courses is appealing to developers.
This isn’t the first time that development has sprouted up on a York County golf course.
In fact, it happened to the county’s first course. The Springdale section of York and York College of Pennsylvania cover the county’s initial course dating back to the 1890s — or perhaps before. Then as now, the sand traps gave way to the cement mixer because a growing population made the land more valuable for other purposes.
The names of luminaries Grier Hersh and A.B. Farquhar were connected with this south York course, as the following excerpt from “Never to be Forgotten” points out:

Golf course attracts players
York businessman Grier Hersh constructs a nine-hole golf course, complete with bunkers, in present-day Springdale. The course is the county’s first. (One source places construction in the 1870s.) The course consists of nine holes covering 2, 281 yards. Duffers use wooden clubs and gutta percha balls, made from a rubberlike gum extracted from trees. Farquhar, whose home is nearby on land now occupied by Farquhar Estates, writes: “When I first saw the game I regarded the idea of rational men leaving their business and walking over a field to hit a ball with a stick as being quite absurd, but Mr. Hersh invited me to try a round with him. Within ten minutes after we commenced, I was infatuated with it. Your troubles all vanish and you think of nothing else. I used to leave my office and drive to his golf course nearly every afternoon to play a round, and now I have a golf course on my place.” Hersh started something with his 32-par course. The county counted 19 golf courses, including 11 championship courses by 1993. York County Golf Promotions Inc. tagged the county “America’s First Capital of Golf,” and several new courses have been constructed in the past five years. It claimed the county had more courses per capita than any other U.S. community, except Myrtle Beach, S.C. Hersh, long-time president of York Bank, is connected with the founding of the Country Club of York. The club plays host to one of the county’s oldest courses.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in A.B. Farquhar, Archives, all posts, Books & reading, Events, Explanations/controversy, Local landmarks, People, York sports. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to York, Pa.: America’s first capital of golf?

  1. Jim, the same thing is happening at Kain Park(Lake Redman).
    Several years ago, the York Water company(which owns the land Kain Park is situated on and leases it the the York County Parks) sold a fairly large parcel of the park for a development.
    Two years ago, York Water subcontracted with Gladfelter Paper to log a substantial area of the park.
    This year, the same thing is happening with regards to the logging.
    I was hiking down at Lake Redman this past weekend and acres upon acres of beautiful woodland have been turned into a moonscape and several hiking trails have been destroyed.
    Are you aware of this?
    This isn’t selective logging, this is clearcut logging, leaving nothing behind except tree stumps and tractor tire ruts. It’s not pretty.
    They aren’t done yet as another area of the park is flagged for logging.
    I saw a bald eagle near Lake Williams on Sunday, I can’t imagine he will be hanging around to long with all the destruction going on.
    I am an avid mountain biker and I helped found the York Area Mountain Bikers along with the current president of the York County Parks Advisory Board Skip Durgin. While I can’t speak for the current leadership of YAMBA, most of the 300+ members including myself are not pleased with spending 1000′s of hours of volunteer labor over the past 5 years destroyed by the actions of the York Water company.
    I understand that York Water company has a responsibility to it’s shareholders to make a profit, but it also has a social responsibility to preserve what little open woodlands are left here in York County for future generations of York Countians to enjoy.
    I have a 12 year old son and Kain Park is his favorite place to hike and spend time. Where will he go or take his children to if most of Kain Park is logged?
    If this is something your paper can shine a little light on-it would be much appreciated.
    I’m betting that York Water is counting on doing the logging and no one will notice.
    Sure, it’s not the end of the world or anything, but when was the last time you heard of a subdivision being plowed under to make room for more woodland?
    Thanks,
    George McNally II
    Feel free to call me at 840-0272

  2. We noticed. You might have noticed we did a story on this on the front page of the Wednesday,March 29, Daily Record. Feel free to recast this as a letter to editor and email it to letters@ydr.com.

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