In this section learn more about the history of the course and its hometown, see a selection of historic and current images of the course, learn about what the course is like today, and discover nearby historic sites.
The Babe Zaharias Golf Course is located in North Tampa in Hillsborough County. In the 1920’s, the B. L. Hamner Organization created a 2,000 acre development known as the North Side Country Club area which was to feature two 18-hole golf courses. Only one course, the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club, was built, and opened in 1926. The golf course was designed and built by J. Franklin Meehan, a landscape architect and golf course builder from Philadelphia. Meehan was known for building golf courses quickly. Golf Professional Jimmy Thompson was quoted as saying “I would not say that Forest Hills is a good course, it is an exceptional one.”
In 1950, Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, one of the world’s greatest female athletes of the 20th century, became the winter golf professional for the club. In that same year, she and her husband George purchased the golf course and changed the name to the Tampa Golf and Country Club.
They moved into the caddy house just off the putting green but eventually built their dream home, Rainbow Manor, a ranch style house, just up the road overlooking a lake. Babe and George lived in Tampa until she passed away in 1956 at age 45, and the golf course was abandoned for many years after her death.
In 1974 the City of Tampa re-opened the golf course and named it in her honor. Babe Zaharias Golf Course has hosted many tournaments for the Tampa Bay area, including the Babe Memorial Tournament sponsored by the Optimist Club and the Annual Babe Zaharias Day Tournament.
The 18-hole, par-70, Babe Zaharias golf course features four sets of tees playing from 4,800 to 6,000 yards. Located in the tree-lined residential neighborhood of Forest Hills, this short course plays very tight and will provide a real test for the average golfer. Golf at The Babe for a true Tampa Bay area tradition.
The front nine is called the “Babe” and the back nine is called the “George” in honor of Babe’s husband former professional wrestler George Zaharias. The 10th hole is affectionately called the “Big George.”
In 1933, Forest Hills Country Club was the site of the 7th Annual Florida Women’s State Amateur Golf Tournament. Miss Mary Rogers and Miss Frances Owen, both from Jacksonville, were all square after 18 holes. The end came on the 19th hole where Miss Rogers parked a 190-yard brassie shot on the green and two putted for par. Unfortunately, Miss Owen hit her drive in the rough and her third shot also found the rough. Her fourth shot landed in the greenside bunker and she finished with a six.
However, according to a newspaper article at the time, the real drama took place on the 16th hole when a Blue Racer snake darted out of the bushes right at Miss Owen and startled her. A moment later she missed a two-foot putt that would have given her a two up lead with two to play. Miss Owen went on to miss another two-foot putt on 18 that squared up the match and the rest is history.
Rogers Park Golf Course - During the segregation era, the property that is now home to Rogers Park Golf Course was the only park for the African American community in Tampa. After church on Sundays, many families would spend the day on the swings, slides, baseball field and picnic area. Rogers Park Golf Club was created in 1952, when Mayor Curtis Hixon gave a group of caddies from Palma Ceia Country Club permission to build a nine-hole golf course. The first Head Golf Professional, Willie Black, directed a group of volunteers to remove the trees and shape the land, all of which was done by hand. In November 2014, the original Rogers Park Golf Course site became the fourth golf course in Florida to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit Rogers Park Golf Course for more details.
11412 Forest Hills Drive
Tampa, Florida 33612
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