Loss of three holes upsets senior golfers

The debate continues — nine holes or six?

Giving up some of the greens at the historic nine-hole Lincoln Park Golf Course is something that dedicated players don’t want to do, but proponents for a redesign of the course say the benefit to the community outweighs the value of those three missing holes.

Nonprofit group ACE Golf Foundation held its first informal public meeting Wednesday night at the Museum of Western Colorado to discuss its Refresh Lincoln Park plan. The proposal — still in its infancy — will shrink the course, but offer additional amenities such as a larger, lighted driving range, a new clubhouse, a restaurant, indoor classrooms with video instruction, a walking and bike path, an outdoor amphitheater, meeting space, a practice area for special-needs athletes and more.

Frank Zanin of Grand Junction, a longtime senior golfer, said the redesign won’t appeal to more people.

“More people won’t come, I guarantee it,” Zanin said.

“Why don’t they consider the Matchett Property? They could have nine holes,” he said, referring to about 220 acres of unused city-owned park space on Patterson Road near 28 1/4 Road.

His friend and fellow golfer Jim Heit agreed that ACE should take its plan to the other location and leave Lincoln Park as is.

“I’d vote for your plan if you do one thing,” Heit said. “Move it to the Matchett Property.”

Nattana Johnson of Grand Junction, a supporter of the ACE proposal, said the Matchett Property isn’t a central enough location.

She said she attended the meeting because most of the time only naysayers show up at public meetings and she wanted to offer her support to ACE.

The new design is a great way to promote children and people learning golf, she said. Right now the space is underutilized and Lincoln Park is losing money, she added.

“People should be spending time at the park,” she said.

ACE is collecting comments from the public — hoping perhaps to find some middle ground — and Mike Nathe, executive director of the foundation, said the design is flexible.

Doug Jones, golf course superintendent for the city, said in his personal opinion, the idea to refresh the course is a doable and much-needed thing. Jones especially likes the idea of a state-of-the-art learning center.

“They’re trying to do the right thing,” he said about the ACE plan.

However, he would like to keep the nine holes. He also said the need for a two-tier driving range is minimal and he doesn’t think lights at the range will need to be left on late.

Lincoln Park Golf Course was built in 1926 and holds sentimental value for some.

“That’s where people grew up;  that’s where they learned to play,” Jones said.

“We’re not trying to take anything away,” ACE’s Nathe said.

He’s thinking about the future of golf and said six-hole courses are popping up all over the country because of players’ lack of time and money. Also, the city would set a good example by aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for a green building, Nathe said.

“The future of golf is through juniors,” he said. “(The course) is family-friendly and it’s still friendly to the seniors.”

Rob Schoeber, director of Grand Junction Parks & Recreation, said he wanted to emphasize that parks and rec supports ACE and the junior program, but that the proposal was not driven by his department.

Another public meeting is scheduled for Jan. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in room 104 of Mesa State College’s new classroom building at 1400 Houston Ave.

The City Council will have final say on the project. ACE does not plan to ask the city for money.


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