Foster Park Golf Course has recovered from the Flood of ’03 and is back better than ever. Mayor Graham Richard officially opened the recently renovated Foster Park Golf Course on Thursday, April 15th. After suffering major flood damage last summer, Foster Golf Course’s Grand Re-Opening is a welcome event for area golfers. “Foster survived the worst flood in its history—but thanks to the hard work of the Parks and Recreation staff, the 76th anniversary year will be phenomenal,” said Mayor Richard. To celebrate the grand re-opening, the Parks and Recreation Department offered half-price golf at all four of the city’s courses on Saturday, April 17. While at the golf course, you could also participate in fun activities and games such as Beat the Pro, and putting contests.
Foster Golf Course closed on July 7th, 2003, when the St. Mary’s river over flowed its banks and sent a torrent of water through the course. The pro shop was 2 1/2 feet under water, requiring more than $60,000 in repairs and replacement of materials. Many places on the course were covered in more than 5 feet of water. Damage to the course required more than $70,000 in materials, including 7,700 lbs. of seed for fairways and greens, tiles and sand that were washed out of the sand traps, fertilizer and chemicals for the lawn care, and new landscaping.
“The fairways and greens were under water and basically ‘cooked’ from the heat last year,” said Bill Miller, Foster’s PGA pro. “We used blowers to dry out the fairways, pressure washers and squeegees to clean off the silt, and then the work of replanting and caring for the greens was a lengthy process.” The greens staff worked tirelessly to re-seed the greens and fairways, and take special pride that they brought the course back to its glory. “I think that the course is in fantastic shape considering how devastated it was last year. And the greens are the best they have ever looked,” Miller said.
The park’s horticulturists and flower enthusiasts had a hand in making the park beautiful as well, with beds of flowers. This park has more than 30,000 tulip and daffodils that will be reaching its peak blooming period any day now. Known as one of Fort Wayne’s most beautiful parks, Foster Park features the lovely Foster Gardens with the Bridal Glen and gazebo.
Located at 3900 Old Mill Road, Foster Park is admired by tourists and residents alike. Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation gardeners take pride in their seasonal floral displays, but have a soft spot for the tulips.
“We look for unique flowers, with names like Blueberry Ripple, Sun Ray, Violet Beauty, Parrot, and Triumph,” said Larry Walter, manager of landscape and horticulture. “This year’s display, with more than 75 tulip varieties, is not to be missed!”
Bring your family, or just stop by, and enjoy this fabulous sign of spring.
“Father of the Park System” Colonel David Foster believed that Fort Wayne residents should have a city park within a 10-minute walk of their home. In 1905 Fort Wayne had 8 parks. Today, there are 80 of them, covering 56 square miles. The growth of Fort Wayne’s park’s like Foster has been possible through the generous gifts of land as park sites. This land has been donated by individuals such as Sam and David Foster, John B. Franke, D. W. McMillen Sr., Fred B. Shoaff, and A. W. Keeler, just to name a few.
In 1912, along the St. Mary’s River 110 acres of land was donated by Sam and David N. Foster, and their families, to become what is now Foster Park. Foster Park is located at the intersection of W. Rudisill Blvd. and Old Mill Road. The original wooded section contained 67 acres. Then the Foster’s donated another 40 acres extending the park as far as Stellhorn Bridge. The Park Board purchased 120 additional acres of land in the early 1920’s. Samuel and David Foster donated another 30 acres for Foster Park, making a total of 218 acres of beautiful park extending along the riverbanks for 4 miles.
Located within Foster Park are: pavilions, playground equipment, tennis courts, replica of Abraham Lincoln’s birth cabin (donated by Lincoln National Life), cable footbridge, flower gardens, and the first public golf course in Fort Wayne. The construction of Foster Park’s Golf Course (18-hole layout with a par 71) began in 1926 and opened in 1928. In 1955 the clubhouse was built. In 1990 the Bridal Garden was dedicated in Foster Gardens. In 1997 the new Foster Garden walkway was constructed making the gardens more accessible to all visitors.