Alabama's Highland Park Golf Course was originally established in 1903 as the Country Club of Birmingham, making it the oldest golf course in Alabama. Highland Park has been the site of many important golf events including one of renowned golfer Bobby Jones’s first victories. At the age of 14, Jones played and won the Birmingham Country Club Invitational held at Highland Park.In 1927, the Birmingham golf course opened to the public. In 1955, the golf course was named for Charley Boswell, a Birmingham native, WWII veteran, and 17-time National Blind Golf Champion. His namesake continues to distinguish the greens at the Highland Park golf facilities.
The Highland Park facilities - golf course, adjoining tennis club, clubhouse facilities, etc. - are all located in the heart of one of Birmingham's favorite neighborhoods. The Highland Park area has grown significantly over the past decade as the city of Birmingham continues to revitalize the Downtown Area.
One visit to this charming, hip neighborhood and you'll see why Highland Park Golf Course is a gem to enjoy.
Before he was blinded, Charley Boswell had never played golf. He was a competitive athlete at Ensley High School, lettering in three sports. After graduating in 1936, Boswell earned a football scholarship to The University of Alabama where he played under Coach Frank Thomas. He would later move on to play minor league baseball for the Atlanta Crackers before being drafted by the United States Army.
Boswell was permanently blinded by a tank explosion in World War II after attempting to save an American soldier’s life. Boswell was 28 years old.
Despite his blindness, Boswell still wanted to be a competitive athlete. He tested several sports before beginning golf, a game he did not try until his rehabilitation. Boswell became increasingly talented at blind golf and quickly created a remarkable career with 17 national championships, 11 international championships and a long list of accolades. In fact, Highland Park renamed its golf course after he shot an 81 on Oct. 5, 1956 – a world record for a blind golfer.
The Veterans Administration Blind Services in Birmingham opened the Charley Boswell Southeastern Blind Rehabilitation Center in 1982. Additionally, he founded the Charley Boswell Celebrity Golf Classic and chaired the event for 15 years, raising more than $1.5 million for Birmingham’s Eye Foundation Hospital. Boswell also served as the president of the United States Blind Golfers Association from 1956 to 1976. Locally, he was inducted into the Birmingham Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1965 and into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1972, as well as many other organizations.
The plaque pictured above flanks the first tee. The tee marker serves as a reminder of how truly inspirational Mr. Boswell was, as well as his ongoing support of this community and our nation’s veterans.
Highland Park proudly celebrates its namesake Charley Boswell - the athlete, humanitarian and Birmingham native who not only defied the odds in his own life, but who also improved the lives of many others and continues to do so through his charitable legacy.
In 1998, the restoration of Highland Park Golf took place under the watch of Bob Barrett, a highly respected golf course developer and manager, working with renowned architect Bob Cupp.
The re-development was an overwhelming success. The course now offers a classic design complimented with modern amenities. Today, Highland Park is more popular than ever with the growth of the UAB student population as well as the redevelopment of the Downtown Birmingham scene.
Since its restoration, Highland Park continues to host many popular golf events including the Tiger Woods Foundation Junior Golf Clinic, the Birmingham Mayor's Classic, and others.
Highland Park Golf Course is currently managed by Honours Golf. For more information, please visit www.honoursgolf.com.