Watson and Gibbons
Tom Watson To Design Kids Course in NW Missouri
By Torleif Sorenson on 10/8/13
H/T: Pete Madden

Maryville, Missouri is a town of about 12,000 residents roughly two hours northeast of the Kansas City area and is home to Northwest Missouri State University. Some hoidy-toidy big city-types will probably never go there.

Eight-time major champion Tom Watson has — and for good reason.

Last week, the Kansas City native and his chief golf course architect Bob Gibbons were surveying some rolling prairie next to Maryville's Mozingo Lake Golf Course, plotting land for a kid-friendly, 9-hole golf course.

In making this track, Watson, Gibbons, and a local dentist named Bruce Twaddle want no heroic, U.S. Open-style holes. Watson explained the concept to St. Joseph News-Press reporter Bryce Mereness:
"This course is designed for beginners, for kids or anybody, really, to play the game where you aren't forced to play 400-yard par-4s or 500-yard par-5s, or 180-yard par-3s — things that are manageable for beginning golfers.

"That's the whole idea for this, to make it fun for them and not too long, where they can hit a shot and get rewarded for it."
Twaddle was in Scotland in 2011 on a golf vacation when a local caddie pointed to a short, kid-friendly layout (usually known over there as an "academy course") — and a humorous sign that made Twaddle do a double-take when he saw it:
"They had a sign there that said, 'No adults allowed unless under the direct supervision of a child.' That's when the light went off [sic]. Everyone I related that story to, it made sense.

"It's an easy sell because we have the land, we have the resources to do this, and we have the people in the community who believe in young children and want to help develop them."
Twaddle was born and raised in Maryville, earned his D.D.S. at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and moved back home to practice dentistry. Twaddle has been spearheading the fundraising, which has brought in $25,000 thus far, with additional commitments of $100,000. The estimated final cost is around $550,000.

And if things go as some people hope, some of those kids using this 9-hole academy layout may eventually play NCAA Division II golf next door at Mozingo Lake for the local university. Currently, there is only a Northwest Missouri State Bearcats women's golf team.

When the course is complete and opened in 2015 (as anticipated), this writer may just have to detour off Interstate 35 just to visit this course and see how it turned out!

Contributions to the fundraising are being handled by the Nodaway County Economic Development Corporation, a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. If you wish to pitch in with a contribution of your own, you can send a check to:

Nodaway County Economic Development
PO Box 456
Maryville MO  64468-0456

Contributors sending a check should write "Mozingo Lake Junior Golf Course" in the memo line, so that contributions get routed to the correct account.

read more

Read an interesting golf article? Tip your editor!

Image via Tom Watson Design

[ comments ]
falcon50driver says:
They can call it CHUNK e CHEEZE
KeithH says:
Go Bearcats!
[ post comment ]
    New Products
    Caption This
    World Am
    How Bizarre!
Most Popular: