Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely and officials with the City Parks and Recreation Department today accepted a $50,000 grant from the United States Golf Association (USGA) to support the City’s effort to make the Jim Ager Memorial Junior Golf Course in Antelope Park more accessible to those with disabilities.
“We are very proud of all five of our City golf courses and of our commitment to make all City services and programs available to all citizens,” said Mayor Wesely. “The Ager Junior Golf Course was one of the first public or private golf facilities dedicated primarily to youth, and this grant again makes it a trend-setting course.”
“The City of Lincoln has proven its commitment to youth for years through the Jim Ager Junior Golf Course,” said USGA President Reed Mackenzie. “We are proud to support a project that will now make the course accessible to individuals with disabilities so that they can benefit from the game’s many valuable lessons as well.”
USGA Women’s Committee member Laura Saf was in Lincoln to make the presentation, which was also attended by individuals with disabilities from the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. Using grant and matching funds, the City will buy two single-rider golf carts for use by those with disabilities. One was on display at the check presentation. The plan to create a more accessible golf course will also involve the replacement of the two bridges that cross Antelope Creek with larger bridges and concrete approaches to allow the carts to travel the course. In addition, the grant will support scholarships and access for youth from diverse backgrounds to participate in clinics and lessons at the course.
The Ager Junior Golf Course opened in 1967 through efforts of the Lincoln Home Builders Association and other golf enthusiasts. The nine-home, par-three facility gives young golfers priority over adults. The Ager Junior Golf Course averages nearly 26,000 rounds of golf each year and currently has 435 youth golfers participating in a summer golf league. The Parks and Recreation Department applied for the USGA Foundation grant in July 2001.
“In looking at all five of the City’s golf facilities, it was felt that the Ager Junior Golf Course had the greatest potential, with some modifications, to become a totally accessible golf course for golfers with disabilities,” said Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson. “We want to thank the USGA, the Parks and Recreation Foundation and the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital for their support with this project.”
Since 1997, the USGA Foundation, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarding grants through its “For the Good of the Game” Grants Program in an effort to make golf more affordable and accessible. This 10-year, $50 million initiative has traditionally focused on programming for economically disadvantaged youth and individuals with disabilities, as well as the introduction of youth to the game and the golf industry through caddying and other work-based programs. Beyond its Grants Program, the USGA partners with national organizations to promote affordable and accessible facility development, inexpensive course access, girls golf, and initiatives for individuals with disabilities while also fostering the professional development of recent college graduates in its Fellowship in Leadership in Service program. Those wanting more information on the USGA Foundation can visit its web site at www.usga.org.