William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park was established October 26, 1896 and is the second oldest public golf course in the nation behind Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx borough of New York City.
William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park is the place where the leading figures of golf converge in history: The player who won America’s first professional match became the first head professional here (Willie Campbell); the youngster who ushered the American game to the forefront of the world stage honed his craft here (Bobby Jones); the world’s premier golf architect re-designed the layout here (Donald J. Ross); today’s reigning threat on golf’s all-time record book gave a clinic to neighborhood kids here (Tiger Woods).
William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park is also the place where countless unsung heroes have championed the public game: America’s first female golf professional taught aspiring women here (Georgian Campbell); the inventor of golf’s most handy item pioneered minority play here (George F. Grant invented the Golf-Tee); a band of locals kept the course alive while teaching children here; and numerous Boston Mayors, Park Commissioners, citizens, Massachusetts Golf Association officials and private benefactors have made yeomen efforts to ensure that golf would remain a public game here for more than 100 years.
On a larger scale, William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park has also served as a microcosm of 20th century American life. The rise of a leisure class, world wars, depressions, boom times, immigrants, urban decay and social unrest has all affected golf-and golfers-at William J. Devine at Franklin Park. Yet on and off the grass, William J. Devine’s people have persevered to score victories over many competitors-classism-racism, sexism and ageism to name a few. To play here today is to witness the future of both public golf and America in the 21st century...and the outlook for both looks promising.