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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46 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.19 Renewal ated the Harris Park Midtown Sports and Activity Center, with a park and basketball court. A playground, miniature golf course and a volleyball court followed. "I just thought I could use sports as a catalyst," Harris recalls. "I thought we could use sports and clean up the neighborhood and just change the mindset of the people who live here." Harris recalls buying a saw — $60, on clearance — at a local big-box hardware store and clearing the land by hand. He also continued to buy lots, on the east side of Wayne Avenue, surrounding his childhood home at 4029 Wayne. As a kid, he'd bounce down those steps in front of that old bungalow and, with- out looking too far, be able to find a place to play basketball or baseball or volleyball. But golf? He seems to remember tagging along with a friend's family and playing once as a child, though the memory is faint. "I did get to play very early. I did like it, and I wanted to play, but there was no- where I could play. e closest place to play is Swope, and I don't think the bus even runs out there," Harris says of Swope Me- morial Golf Course, a good seven urban miles away. "I could go outside and play basketball and baseball and volleyball, but there was nowhere to play golf. I feel like, if "I could go outside and play basketball and baseball and volleyball, but there was nowhere to play golf." — Chris Harris I had a chance to play as a kid, I could have been good. "I grew up and realized, I can literally build a golf course. You never know what's going to be the spark. I said I wanted to do a basketball court, and I wanted to build a small golf course. Now I have a golf course." 'I always just give it my all' Phase I of the Harris Park Golf and Learning Center opened late last year. e pitch-and-putt course features six synthetic- turf tees and two synthetic-turf greens, with a zoysiagrass fairway, two bunkers and fes- cue roughs. Harris (perhaps generously) estimates the longest shot at 65 yards, and a creative combination of tees and greens, not to men- tion four holes per green, can lead to a 12- hole round. Phase II calls for another green with three more tees — more creative routing makes for a potential 18-hole round — and a separate nine-hole putting course, plus a clubhouse. e only things standing in the way: funding, which is about $100,000 away from a $250,000 goal; and that home at 4029, where Chris Harris grew up. In April, Harris had the home leveled, a "bittersweet" moment that simultaneously closed one chapter and opened another. Construction on Phase II began the final week in June. New homes have sprung up behind Harris Park, and property values have gone up dramatically in a neighborhood once considered among the worst in Kansas City, Mo.

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