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Accessible Golf Course Under Construction

Meg Hilling/KBIA

  Construction on a handicap-accessible golf course is underway this week at the Turkey Creek Golf Center in Jefferson City.

The 9-hole, Par-3 course will be made of field turf, have eight-foot wide cart paths, and access ramps for players to utilize. Organizers of the course say it will be one of the first, if not the first, of its kind in the United States.

The course, which is being constructed with help from the Missouri National Guard and Wadsworth Construction, is entirely funded through donations. Organizers say they are currently $500,000 short of their $1.5 million goal.

Scott Hovis, Executive Director of the Missouri Golf Association, says the course will help make golf a more accessible sport for Missourians.

“The motivation behind building this course is we wanted to get more people involved in the game of golf. This golf course is going to give people who don’t have the opportunity to get out every day on a normal golf course that chance,” Hovis said.

Debbie Hamler is the Executive Director of the Special Learning Center in Jefferson City, a not-for-profit that provides services to children with developmental delays and disabilities.

She says the course will offer children with disabilities a fun form in which to do physical therapy.

“You know anytime you’re doing physical things with kids with developmental disabilities, it's, even though they may not realize it's therapeutic, it's also therapeutic to just get out and move and do things,” Hamler said.

Thirty eight National Guard soldiers are currently working and living onsite as part of an Innovative Readiness Training project, or IRT project. The aim of IRT projects is to provide real world training for service members as a way to prepare them for wartime missions, as well as provide them an opportunity to serve the community. The soldiers will be onsite from June 8 to 28.

Sergeant First Class Rodney Crouse says much of their work is currently focused clearing and reshaping the land.

“We’re in the beginning stages of this project, what we are doing is simply cutting and filling, building lakes, doing all the rough work for these guys, so they can come in and do the real finishing work for it,” Crouse said.

Turkey Creek’s owner, Danny Baumgartner, says the ball got rolling on the project two years ago shortly after Hovis and the Missouri Golf Association moved their office to Turkey Creek.

“Scott brought up the idea of this course, that it would get more people involved,” Baumgartner said.

Baumgartner says the course will be free to Veterans, Wounded Warriors, the disabled, and children under the age of 12. Even though the course is specifically designed to meet the needs of certain players, Baumgartner says it will be open to the general public for a fee of $10 or less.

Hovis says potential agreements for use of the course include tournaments for the Special learning Center, Special Olympics, and Wounded Warriors, are all currently in works. Weather permitting the course should be complete by early October.