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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Northwest News

Then & Now: Babe Zaharias Golf Course

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What is today Babe Zaharias Golf Course opened in 1926 as Forest Hills Golf and Country Club. The original included riding stables and its magnificent two-story Norman-French Clubhouse pictured in this 1926 Burgert Bros. photo. In 1949, the property was purchased by renowned athlete Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias. While managing the course the famous golfer spent most of her days playing alone or with the men’s club and hosting clinics and exhibitions for local golfers. For a period of time, she lived in the clubhouse. After her 1956 death from of colon cancer at age 45, the course closed and the clubhouse was abandoned. According to the golf course website, the overgrown course became a haven for motorcycle riders and the clubhouse a hangout for local teens. A 1962 fire of undetermined origin destroyed the clubhouse. The city of Tampa took over the course, reopening it in 1974 under the management of the Tampa Sports Authority. Today, chipping greens front the existing clubhouse, 11412 Forest Hills Drive.

— George Wilkens

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