Author: Jim Vastyan
Scott Hovis, Executive Director of the Missouri Golf Association, put it succinctly when he told the audience at the kick-off fundraising luncheon for the “Links for Life” project—the pro-am tournament preceeding the MGA’s Missouri Open. “This is the #1 goal of the MGA. We’re excited about the lives we’re going to be able to touch by building one of the first accessible golf courses in the country. We recently moved our offices to the Turkey Creek facility in Jeff City. I’ll be able to see people playing this course from my office window—and I can’t wait until that day comes.”
The fundraising will be conducted through the Missouri Junior Golf Foundation of the MGA. Jon Sundvold, former Mizzou and NBA basketball standout, is President of the Foundation and, with Hovis, will be spearheading the fundraising campaign to build what is formally called “The MGA Short Course at the Turkey Creek Golf Center.” Sundvold commented, “This is a big project. It’s going to take a lot of work to raise the funds we need, but I’m confident potential donors from the public and private sector will see the value in building this unique facility.” Turkey Creek owner Danny Baumgartner has donated the land on his facility that will be used to build the course and is excited to get going on it once the roughly 1 million dollars needed for construction have been raised.
The featured speaker at the kick-off lunch was Missouri National Guard Brigadier General David Newman. He told the audience how important it will be for Missouri’s “wounded warriors” to have access to this golf facility. Newman noted that there are 500,000 veterans living in Missouri, 80,000 are disabled and 18,000 of the 80,000 are classified as “severely disabled” by the VA. He said, “These wounded warriors just want to do ‘normal’ activities—in fact, they take great pride in continuing ‘normal’ pursuits after they’ve been injured. This partnership between the MGA and the Missouri National Guard will give us just the sort of accessible facility we need to introduce, or re-introduce, golf into their lives. You simply can’t put a price on that…”
The MGA Short Course will have 9 holes, none longer than 120 yards, and several tee boxes to introduce some variety. There will be wide cart paths around the entire course and the greens will have wheelchair accessible ramps/paths. The greens will be made of field turf and so will hold a golf shot much like a grass green. But unlike a grass green, these field turf greens will accept wheelchair and cart traffic without becoming damaged…