Golf Course Management

AUG 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 47 of 107

44 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.19 Renewal It's a gorgeous spring night in middle America. Temperature in the 70s, light breeze, a couple of high clouds and maybe a half dozen contrails crosshatching the blue sky here in Flyover Country. On the air wafts the scent of someone's dinner … the sounds of a nearby basketball game … an occasional car horn … maybe a distant siren … the hint of music from a mov- ing car … the bark of a dog. Chris Harris takes a deep breath, stretches out his arms. "It really is perfect," he says, looking out at the golf course that bears his name. "It's so peaceful and quiet. Everything is just ideal." Harris, 50, is the chief caretaker for the Harris Park Midtown Sports and Activity Center and the Harris Park Golf and Learning Center, but he's so much more than that. He's their visionary. And to understand his statement — to appreciate his is no ordinary epiphany that, yes, golf courses really can be pretty easy on the eye — it's imperative to understand Harris' vision. Because to compare Harris Park to any of the game's aesthetic and architectural mar- vels — the Pebble Beaches or Augustas or Shinnecock Hillses — or even the local lovely 18 is to do a disservice to all, because the marvel at Harris Park doesn't lie in its landscaping, or its geography, or its maintenance. Harris Park's magnificence is that it exists at all. "You wouldn't think," Harris says, "that you'd find this right in the middle of one of the worst neighborhoods in Kansas City." 'Something was wrong' Harris Park is located in what is known as the Ivanhoe neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., which, according to the Urban Neighborhood Initiative, was settled in the 1890s by German immigrants. e UNI says in the 1930s it was populated by middle- and working-class white fami- lies before suburban flight. Above: Golfers at Harris Park eventually will be able — with a little creativity — to carve out an 18-hole round by mixing and matching. Phase I, which opened late last year, features six tees, two greens, two bunkers and a fairway. Phase II will include another three tees, a fairway, a bunker and a nine-hole putting course. Opposite (clockwise from upper left): A look at the grand plan for Harris Park Golf, including the under- construction second phase (the new green is marked as A on the illustration; the putting course is D); Harris Park this summer began hosting classes by First Tee of Greater Kansas City; Chris Harris, the visionary behind the Harris Park project, had to level his childhood home to bring his dream to fruition. Illustrations courtesy of Chris Harris

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