Posted on Jun 19, 2014
by Dalton Vitt
A groundbreaking Thursday at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park provided a surge of excitement for local golf fans as the Tom Watson Junior Course moved a step closer to reality.
The nine-hole course project, headed locally by Dr. Bruce Twaddle, is now officially under construction and “There are hundreds of kids and thousands of kids across the region that will benefit from the Tom Watson Junior Golf Course and the junior program here at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park, not only on the course, but off the course,” Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel said.
Although famed professional golfer Watson himself was unable to attend the ceremony, several local officials were on hand for the groundbreaking, which has captured the interest of the golf industry as it works to attract younger players.
About 80 people attended the groundbreaking just north of the Mozingo Golf Course clubhouse.
“With the progressive and strong City Council and advisory board and city staff, we’ve been able to successfully rebrand and market Mozingo, placing us in a position for success for many years to come,” McDanel said. “From internal restructuring to external rebranding, through partnerships with Northwest Missouri State University, Mozingo is generating regional excitement and national attention.
“We believe that the Tom Watson Junior Golf Course may just be the missing piece to put us over the top.”
Building the course will cost an estimated $520,000, all to be raised through private donations. Twaddle and other organizers say that goal is rapidly coming within reach.
As of June 11, Twaddle said, 90 percent of the necessary funds had been raised.
“Remarkably, not one public dollar will be spent on the construction of this Tom Watson Junior Golf Course for Mozingo Lake Recreation Park,” McDanel said. “All of us appreciate the generosity of each and every donor, whether corporate or private citizen, who has shared in this vision.”
Containing nine holes and encompassing a large practice green, the new course has been designed especially with novice players in mind.
“The most important people that I want to thank are those little guys over there (children),” Twaddle said. “All those people, because they’re the ones that inspire us to do things for their future. I hope they — well I know they’re going to learn a lot of lessons out here.”
According to Twaddle, the junior-course-to-be was the highlight of a meeting of golf course architects in Tulsa, Okla. a couple weeks ago, and those close to the project and its development maintain the course will be a huge boost for Maryville.
“This is a special moment, and I think it’ll be special 20 years from now,” Twaddle said. “This is a game-changer.”