A California non-profit public benefit corporation
To restore and preserve classic public and municipal golf courses in the United States in line with
today’s golf technology when appropriate and to promote traditional golf ethics to children.
|DANIEL A. BERGMAN
President and Founder
ELIZABETH S. LANGWORTHY
STEVEN M. GREEN
Chief Financial Officer
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Daniel A. Bergman
Elizabeth S. Langworthy
Robert A. “Rocky” Mills
Steven M. Green
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A worthwhile cause
Keep It Classic restores municipal courses for free.
By Mark Wogenrich | Of The Morning Call
July 23, 2008
Mark Fine, a golf course designer, was skeptical at first when approached about Keep It Classic. But after further review, he believes it is something he'll be proud to be a part of. He just wishes it had come along sooner. (DON FISHER, Allentown Morning Call / July 12, 2008)
At first, Mark Fine was skeptical. Who wouldn't be? Here was a guy promising to restore classic golf courses and gift them back to municipalities that own them -- all without collecting a dime from the courses themselves.
And, by the way, would Fine like to help with the redesigns?
''But the more I listened, the more I realized, this idea will work,'' he said.
Since that January meeting in Orlando, Fine, an Allentown-based course architect and scratch golfer at Lehigh Country Club, has toured the country scouting locations for Keep It Classic, an intriguing new non-profit organization.
Founded by Los Angeles attorney Daniel Bergman, Keep It Classic calls its mission ''to restore and preserve classic public and municipal courses in the United States.'' To do so, the group plans to identify courses designed by well-known architects (Donald Ross, A.W. Tillinghast, Alister Mackenzie) that have fallen into disrepair. Then the group will renovate or restore the courses and return them to their current ownership. The organization also will devise maintenance plans for operators to follow.
Depending on the level of renovation necessary, individual projects could run from several hundred thousand to several million dollars, all of which Keep It Classic intends to finance through donations and grants. Once the program gets going, Bergman, a business real estate lawyer with plenty of connections in the game, envisions course owners applying for grants to restore their facilities.
The catch? Owners must designate their courses for preservation status, preventing them from future redevelopment (say, into a shopping mall). They also must agree to develop youth golf programs, such as clinics, instruction or designated kids-only tee times.
''This is a love of mine,'' Bergman said. ''I'm the only one not receiving financial remuneration from it. I don't care. That's not why I'm doing it.''
For Fine, once he got past his initial skepticism, the project had infinite appeal. Fine opened his course design business, Fine Golf Designs, five years ago and has undertaken renovation and restoration projects across the country. He also designed the outdoor facility at The First Tee at Marvine in Bethlehem.
Bergman selected Fine and Arizona-based architect Forrest Richardson (co-authors of the 2006 book ''Bunkers, Pits and Other Hazards'') following a dinner meeting at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January. Since then, Fine and Richardson have identified about 75 potential courses, all with historic architectural relevance.
Among the courses they have looked at are Cobbs Creek, the Philadelphia public layout designed by Merion architect Hugh Wilson, Balboa Park in San Diego and Sharp Park in Pacifica, Calif.
''Courses built during the classic era had the best land. Today, courses are built over gullies and gulches, and the best land goes to homes,'' Bergman said. ''But now, we have courses, on great land done by masters, that are falling into disrepair. And the public is not able to experience what golf is all about.''
Fine and Richardson also have made a preliminary master plan for renovating Oakmont East, the sister course to 2007 U.S. Open host Oakmont. Plans for that project are on hold: The East course, a public facility owned by Oakmont Country Club, closed following last year's U.S. Open and is not scheduled to reopen until after the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont.
Bergman is in the process of generating donors for Keep It Classic, which he hopes, when running at full speed, will handle 2-3 renovations per year. Fine is eager to get going but wishes the project had begun sooner.
''Golf needs something like this now,'' Fine said. ''It's a little depressed, and courses aren't getting money thrown at them. It's good for the courses and good for the game. That's why I'm so excited.''
Keep It Classic, Warner Center Plaza, 21800 Oxnard Street, Suite 1060, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 TEL: 818-700-3480