Bob-O-Links Golf Course — 1924-1973

by Paula Bosse

bob-o-links_abrams-rdBob-O-Links golf and St. Thomas Aquinas… (click for larger image)

 by Paula Bosse

The photograph above (with a view to the southeast) shows Abrams Road (at the left), a few blocks south of Mockingbird. On the right is St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and school, and on the left, part of the Bob-O-Links Golf Course, Lakewood’s only public golf course. If you’re familiar with that part of town, it’s pretty incredible to see all that open land right in the middle of it.

Bob-O-Links, a 9-hole course, was opened by Harry McCommas in 1924 on 60 acres of the land originally owned by the pioneer McCommas family (the family’s full 640 acres covered land that stretched from what is now Abrams Road to White Rock Lake). Despite a creek meandering through seven of the course’s nine holes, the course was an immediate hit, mainly because it was one of the few public courses in town. This is where East Dallas residents with golf-fever would go to play if they couldn’t afford to join the Lakewood County Club.

From an article by John Anders in The Dallas Morning News:

When [Harry] McCommas, 75, decided to build a golf course on his grandfather’s sheep pasture in 1928 [sic], there were only three other golf courses in Dallas. And two of those three are now gone. “We were really out in the country then. There was no water, gas or electricity so we hauled in our water by truck. We didn’t need much since it was originally a sand course.” (DMN, July 6, 1973)

When the course opened in 1924, it was pretty much out in the sticks. By the late 1950s, though, Lakewood was booming, and developers were eager to build things — much to the dismay of nearby residents. Development was staved off for over a decade, but during that whole time, developers never stopped trying to get the area re-zoned, either for commercial use or for apartments and townhouses. Eventually — inevitably — the land was sold, and the days of the little golf course came to an end. The only “victory” the neighborhood could claim is that only single-family homes would be built on the land.

Bob-O-Links Golf Course closed on July 4, 1973. And as one drives down Abrams Road these days, it’s almost impossible to believe that it was ever there.

bob-o-links

bob-o-links_matchbook_flickr
via Flickr

bob-o-links_matchbook_2b
via Flickr

bob-o-links_dallas-park-board-minutes_070858Dallas Park Board minutes, July 4, 1958

bob-o-links_1962-map
1962 map detail

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Sources & Notes

I have no information about the top photo. It was posted on the Lakewood neighborhood group on Facebook by local bon vivant Michael Vouras. Comments on his post suggest that it may be a photo in the possession of St. Thomas Aquinas, taken around the mid 1960s. I welcome more info! (UPDATE: Below in the comments, other dates are suggested.)

A present-day aerial view of the same area can be seen here. The golf course (formerly on the left) has been gobbled up by houses.

A great article on Bob-O-Links — “The Bygone Days of Bob-O-Links Golf Course” — was written by Patti Vinson and appeared in a 2015 issue of The Lakewood Advocate; read it here.

Further reading from the archives of The Dallas Morning News:

  • “Re-zoning Denied for Bob-o-Links” (DMN, Sept. 17, 1960): this re-zoning request was to build a 35-acre shopping center; it was shot down by angry neighborhood residents
  • “Negotiations Finished To Buy Bob-o-Links” (DMN, Feb. 9, 1973): purchaser was long-time Dallas developer Hal McGraw who promised to build only single-family homes
  • “Farewell, Bob-O-Links” by John Anders (DMN, July 6, 1973): very entertaining article about Anders’ last round on the course, with memories of his earlier experiences on the course and quotes from owner Harry McCommas 

Wish I’d been there. “FORE!”

Pictures larger when clicked!

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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