When the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational was held for the first time in 2019 at Midland CC as part of its initial four-year run, LPGA pros used the range extensively at Currie Municipal GC for warmup and practice. The $50,000 donation from the Invitational will now help to expand the driving range and short-game area to accommodate more users and to sustain turf quality. If more funds become available, subsequent phases would relocate a putting green and tee box to make them more accessible.
The city of Midland, Mich. has received a $50,000 donation from the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational golf tournament, a new Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) event that was held for the first time in 2019 at Midland Country Club, to make improvements to the driving range at Currie Municipal Golf Course, the Midland Daily News reported.
When the LPGA pros came to Midland for the inaugural tournament in July 2019, the Daily News reported, the range at the city’s golf course was used extensively warmup and practice, and the Invitational’s sponsors now want to help fund improvements for when the tournament returns in future years.
Specifically, the proposed improvements include expanding the driving range and the short-game area to accommodate more users and to improve turf quality, the Daily News reported. In addition, the putting green and the first tee box for the East Nine of the Currie course would be relocated, to be in a more accessible area.
During the regular December meeting of the Midland City Council, the Daily News reported, Assistant City Manager David Keenan presented the donation so it could be implemented into the city’s budget. The city has been discussing driving range improvements internally for a while, Keenan noted, but never had the money to seriously consider them.
While the $50,000 donation should cover the cost of the engineering drawings and regulatory approvals for of all the proposed improvements, the Daily News reported, it will only cover a first phase, and other phases will be implemented as subsequent funding becomes available, Keenan said.
“The intent is to fund these improvements as additional gifts are submitted,” he said. “[The tournament] hopes to be able to do that annually, so that’s the level of commitment that I think they put in writing at this point.”
The city would try to stretch the initial donation as far as possible, Keenan said, but the actual cost of each phase won’t be known until the engineering drawings are done.
“We’re pretty confident, although we don’t have the numbers yet from the engineer, but speaking to our engineer, he’s relatively hopeful—I’ll put it that way — that the $50,000 is going to be able to take us through the entire phase [one],” Keenan said.
While there are multiple options for funding subsequent phases, Keenan noted, the city has no obligation to carry out the full extent of the planned projects.