Thursday, January 12, 2006

Austin Upgrading Clay/Kizer Complex

The Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer complex in Austin is already one of the best municipal golf facilities in Texas. The courses themselves are outstanding. And by muny standards, its practice area is pretty darn good: a very large driving range that can handle many more golfers than most, plus a couple practice putting greens.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the city is now upgrading the practice facilities, and it sounds like the results will be something you'd much more expect to see at a wealthy private club:

Work is scheduled to begin Jan. 27 on an 11-acre practice facility south of the Clay/Kizer driving range and east of the first hole at Kizer. It will consist of four holes of 150 to 200 yards, a practice range, a sand trap and a putting/chipping green.

The facility, which should be completed in the fall, will be open to the public, but it is especially earmarked for youngsters who are just learning the game.

"The idea for this originated with Joe Balander," said Kevin Gomillion, director of golf and tennis for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. "Joe envisioned a junior learning center. He wanted a short course and practice area where kids could learn how to play without any pressure."


Austin school district students who are working with their coach or teacher will have free use of the facility. Projected fees for the public are $5 for adults and $2 for children.

The local golf course architecture team of Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell designed the facility, and that's a good omen. Bechtol and Russell have earned rave reviews for dozens of their courses in Texas, including the University of Texas Golf Club and ShadowGlen. In addition, Russell was solo designer of Roy Kizer.

The folks in Austin's Parks & Rec department who focus on golf should run seminars for other cities on taking care of your golfers.

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