The city of Chaska, Minn. will partner with Learning Links, a non-profit that focuses on helping those with disabilities take up golf, for a $1.5 million project to upgrade Chaska Par 30, a municipal short course originally laid out by Robert Trent Jones. Artistan Golf Design, a Scotland-based firm, submitted the approved design for 10 new holes and a Himalayas-style putting course. Once the funding goal has been reached, groundbreaking is planned for April 2020, with the course opening in the summer of 2021.
The city of Chaska, Minn., outside of Minneapolis, has approved plans for the redesign of Chaska Par 30, a municipal short course originally laid out by Robert Trent Jones that neighbors Hazeltine National Golf Club, Golf Course Architecture reported.
The project is a partnership between Chaska and a local non-profit organization, Learning Links, that has a stated mission of “[creating] a place where anyone can learn and enjoy the sport of golf regardless of ability, skill or age.”
John Kellin, Head Golf Professional of Chaska Town Course, an 18-hole municipal course, is representing the city on the project team, Golf Course Architecture reported.
“Tournament golf is part of Chaska’s identity,” said Kellin. “Hazeltine National has hosted the Ryder Cup, the U.S. Open and the Women’s PGA. Chaska Town Course co-hosted the U.S. Amateur in 2006 and will do so again in 2024. We’re proud of this heritage, but our day-to-day focus is on serving the widest cross-section of golfers that we can.”
Elite adaptive golfer Caroline Mohr will work with Artisan Golf Design, a firm based in North Berwick, Scotland that is led by Benjamin Warren, to ensure that playing features on the new Par 30 are fun and safe for golfers with disabilities, Golf Course Architecture reported.
“After fifty years of service, the Par 30 needs investment,”Warren said. “Through stakeholder engagement, it became clear that the project’s goals should also embrace sustainability and accessibility.”
The project has reached 75 percent of its funding target, with 50 percent of a $1.5 million budget being contributed by the city, Golf Course Architecture reported. The plan is to break ground in April 2020 and reopen the course in summer 2021.
“Our design retains the current par of 30, but features ten all-new golf holes,” Warren told Golf Course Architecture. “We’ll move the clubhouse over to Hazeltine Boulevard and build a Himalayas-style putting course inspired by the public putting greens in my hometown, North Berwick.
“These types of facilities are a tried and tested entry point to the game,”Warren added. “Absolutely anyone can enjoy the feeling of trundling a golf ball towards a hole. There’s going to be a lot of energy around the new clubhouse.
Added Mohr: “This is an exciting time for adaptive golf. Visibility and participation are increasing, and we have a new world ranking system that enables players with disabilities to compete in the same category as able-bodied golfers. I can’t wait to see adaptive golfers on the main tours in the near future!
“The therapeutic benefits of spending time in green space are well known,” Mohr continued. “Coming back to play golf after the loss of my leg was freeing, healing and exciting. The golf course is a place to find your voice as a player, challenge your limits and grow. It is not only a place to practice your golf swing, but to actually deepen your knowledge about yourself, test your focus and learn about how you react to specific challenges. That’s the interesting part about golf—it goes far beyond the game on the course.
“Inclusion [of golf] in the Paralympic Games at Paris 2024 or Los Angeles 2028 seems likely,” Mohr noted. “Athlete categories will be diverse. Perhaps competitors with severe impairments will be chasing medals on a barrier-free short course? Time will tell, but seeing the Learning Links model replicated in more communities would be really positive. Could Chaska Par 30 be the entry point for a future Paralympian?”
Warren also noted to Golf Course Architecture that “There seems to be some momentum in short-course development.”
“The developers of destination resorts have proven that these facilities are popular and profitable,” he said. “Short courses are a perfect fit for urban lifestyles and can wipe their feet financially as part of a city’s golf portfolio. The project partners in Chaska aim to show that a barrier-free golf facility can be an asset for the entire community.”