We’re not sure what sort of handicap Tom Volkmann maintains as a golfer, but his pitching game is pretty good.

Volkmann is the vice president of the ACE Golf Foundation, a nonprofit group that works to introduce young people to golf. On Thursday, Volkmann pitched the group’s plan for revamping Lincoln Park Golf Course to the media, interested spectators and the community at large.

The proposal calls for shrinking the Lincoln Park course from nine holes to six, constructing a double-decker driving range, perhaps an amphitheater and building a clubhouse designed to meet the strictest standards of the U.S. Green Building Council.

And — here’s the best part — Volkmann said the ACE Foundation won’t be asking city taxpayers to foot the bill for the multimillion-dollar project. He said the group will seek private funding from individuals, businesses and foundations.

We’re not about to proclaim that the proposal outlined last week by the ACE Foundation is exactly the right prescription for the ailing Lincoln Park Golf Course. If the City Council and city parks officials decide the plan is worth pursuing, they’ll need to seek extensive public input, including from those who use the course most frequently.

The ACE Foundation plans to start on that input with a pair of public meetings, one next Wednesday evening at the Museum of Western Colorado and one Jan. 8 at Mesa State College.

Lincoln Park Golf Course is something of an anomaly in today’s golf world — with only nine holes in a constricted setting and a too-small driving range. There’s little room for rearranging greens and virtually no separation between fairways.

Furthermore, despite having the cheapest greens fees in the valley, Lincoln Park has seen declining golf use of late. The city has had to subsidize its operation.

Those who like things just the way they are must realize that, based on current trends, some sort of change is almost certainly coming. And other proposals may not include a golf course at all.

Lincoln Park has been an important community asset since it served as Mesa County Fairgrounds in the early part of the last century. It makes sense to maintain a golf course at the park that is easily accessible to those who can’t afford expensive greens fees or membership in private clubs. But it is also reasonable to update that golf course and make it more functional for the 21st century.

We applaud the ACE Foundation for doing just that and we hope, if the project moves forward, the group follows through on its pledge to make the improvements without taxpayer assistance.


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