Rural Missouri - June 2016 - (Page 8)
Accessibility-oriented golf course opens in mid-Missouri
Above: Danny Baker, the men's golf coach at Greenville (Ill.) College plays the ﬁrst hole at the new Ken Lanning Golf Center. Below: Chet White of Jefferson City gets a swing lesson from
Eldon Golf Club Professional Mike Cummings during a free golf lesson for veterans as part of the PGA HOPE program.The driving range is next to the new accessible-golf course in Jefferson City.
by Paul Newton | firstname.lastname@example.org
make it accessible, but also make it challenging. That's the balance
and beauty of design, trying to create the variety to make it fun for
everyone. If it's fun, you're going to come back."
cott Hovis knew there was a problem. The golf executive has
The course was a labor of love for Scott, who began playing the
seen the rampant expansion of the game that ran parallel to
game with his parents at the age of 3.
the rise of Tiger Woods stagnate and start to rescind. For him,
"Golf has given me everything I have," he says. "About ﬁve
growing the game meant not only encouraging those who were
years ago, my dad came down with Parkinson's disease. He's
able to play to do so but, also to open the game to people who previCity
played his whole life. I've watched how that terrible disease
ously may not have had the opportunity.
deteriorated his body and he can't get out and play on a norSo the Missouri Golf Association executive director worked with
mal course. That was kind of a trigger for me into thinking
a broad coalition of donors, volunteers, engineers, state ofﬁcials, the
how can we help people play who maybe now can't?"
National Guard and others to create a one-of-kind, handicap-accessible
After the statewide golf association moved into its new digs
golf course in Jefferson City: The Ken Lanning Golf Center.
The late Ken Lanning - a Rolla native and veteran - was "Mr. Junior Golf" at Turkey Creek Golf Center in 2011, talks began on how to utilize the undevelin Missouri according to Scott. "He started junior tournaments I was playing in oped land adjacent to an existing par-3 golf course at the center.
The National Guard got involved through an Innovative Readiness Training
when I was 5. He loved to help people play golf."
The ﬁrst-of-its-kind nine-hole course features all par 3's with no hole being project, which pairs units due for training in the guard with worthwhile civilian projects. Scott was informed in
longer than 135 yards. The fairMay 2015 that a group of engineers
ways, greens and bunkers all have
from Festus had been approved to
undulations, but nothing too steep
help with their project and they'd be
for a wheelchair to navigate. But,
there in June. "I thought they meant
the crème de la crème is the course's
June 2016," he says. "They meant
greens. They are made out of a synthey'd be here the next month. We
thetic turf that has been speciﬁcally
talked it over with the board and
designed to accept golf balls as any
decided to run with it."
grass green would while also being
Run with it they did.
able to handle wheelchairs and othThey broke ground on June 6,
er motorized carts.
2015. "It was a wet month, so that
"I was bafﬂed when I ﬁrst saw the
hurt," Scott says. "But we had our
greens," Scott says. "They aren't just
ﬁnal walkthrough on October 15."
circles. They're angled and shaped
The course could've opened then,
with the terrain. The balls don't just
but the decision was made to let it
catapult into the air like the turf on
sit, go through a winter and mature.
a football ﬁeld either. It takes the
The golf course is relatively ﬂat,
however, it does feature enough
Course architect Todd Clark of
elevation changes to inﬂuence
Kansas City says that while the
shots. Other unique traits include
synthetic greens certainly make the
its 8-foot-wide cart paths around
course unique, his job was to apply
the entire course which allow two
the same principles to it as he would
carts or wheelchairs to drive side by
side. Each teeing area is equipped
"We wanted to make sure water
with three tees. A forward tee which
will ﬂow off the green in two or three
measures 674 yards and a back tee
spots," he says. "Then the idea is to
RURAL MISSOURI | JUNE 2016
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Rural Missouri - June 2016