For Immediate Release
Monday, September 9, 2019
Contact: Sarah Revell
Rogers Park Golf Course Featured as Florida Historic Golf Trail Course of the Month
Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced today that Rogers Park Golf Course located in the city of Tampa in Hillsborough County has been chosen as the featured course on the Florida Historic Golf Trail for the month of September.
“We are pleased to feature Rogers Park Golf Course as a new addition to the Florida Historic Golf Trail,” said Secretary Lee. “Located next to the Hillsborough River, this once segregated course was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.”
Image Courtesy of Rogers Park Golf Course
During the segregation era, the property that is now home to Rogers Park Golf Course was an African American community park in Tampa. After church on Sundays, many families would spend the day on the swings, slides, baseball field and picnic area. The park is named after African American businessman and philanthropist Garfield Devoe Rogers who donated the land to the City of Tampa for a park and golf course. The park was dedicated in 1951.
That same year, Tampa Mayor Curtis Hixon gave permission to a group of African American caddies who worked at Palma Ceia Country Club to build a 9-hole golf course at Rogers Park. The work was led by Willie Black, originally from Albany, Georgia, who had previously helped build several golf courses in Georgia. Black directed a group of volunteers to remove trees and shape the land by hand. Work on the 9-hole course was completed in 1952 and Black became the first Head Golf Professional at the course.
In 1961, the course was expanded to 18 holes when an additional 9 holes were constructed on an adjacent parcel of property to the west of the park. After the golf course was desegregated in 1963, it became a golfing destination for amateur and professional golfers throughout the nation.
In 1976, the City of Tampa gave management rights to the newly formed Tampa Sports Authority and a $400,000 renovation project began with Ron Garl as the designer. 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.
“It is truly an honor to have Rogers Park Golf Course selected as the Florida Historic Golf Trail’s featured course for September 2019,” said Kennie Sims, Vice President of Golf Operations. “We are extremely proud to manage a golf course with such historical significance.”
Today, the 18-hole, par 71 Rogers Park Golf Course features five sets of tees playing from 5,000 to 6,800 yards. The course offers a serene adventure and a great golfing experience for golfers of all skill levels. Located only 20 minutes from downtown Tampa, Tampa International Airport and the beautiful beaches of Tampa Bay, the 160-acre golf facility is surrounded on three sides by the Hillsborough River, which offers isolation from homes and the hustle and bustle of busy streets. Rogers Park is also home to the First Tee of Tampa Bay program.
For more information on Rogers Park Golf Course, visit their website.
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About The Florida Historic Golf Trail Florida's golf history, recognized as one of the oldest in the nation, dates back to the late 1800s when a number of early courses were created along with the development of railroads and hotels in the state. The Florida Historic Golf Trail is a collection of more than 50 historic, publicly accessible golf courses throughout the state that can still be played on today. Through the Florida Historic Golf Trail, golfers can play on courses designed by world-class architects and played by famous golfers such as Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Babe Zaharias, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Information about the history and current day contact information for each partner course can be found at FloridaHistoricGolfTrail.com. Find the historic course near you and Come Play on History!
About The Division of Historical Resources The Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources (DHR) is responsible for preserving and promoting Florida’s historical, archaeological, and folk culture resources. The Division Director’s office oversees a grants-in-aid program to help preserve and maintain Florida’s historic buildings and archaeological sites; coordinates outreach programs such as the State Historic Markers program and the Florida Folklife program which identifies and promotes the state's traditional culture. DHR directs historic preservation efforts throughout the state in cooperation with state and federal agencies, local governments, private organizations, and individuals. The Division Director serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, acting as the liaison with the national historic preservation program conducted by the National Park Service. The Division is comprised of two Bureaus, archaeological research and historic preservation. For more information visit flheritage.com.