Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Battenkill Country Club Awarded 'First Links' Grant

Lester George assesses course for accessibility to beginners

Battenkill Country Club, on the banks of the Battenkill River in Greenwich, NY, has been awarded a grant from the First Links program, offered jointly by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and the PGA of America. First Links encourages golf course owners to contact a golf course architect for a conceptual evaluation of their property to ensure a thorough investigation of all design options for their facility and an experienced eye for improvements that will enhance play and grow the game by helping to develop existing or new golfers.

The Board of Directors of Battenkill Country Club invited Lester George, based in Richmond, Virginia, to Battenkill to assess what course alterations could be made to improve the learning process, both for beginning golfers and experienced longtime players. Lester George, a member of the ASGCA and President of George Golf Design, was selected due to his extensive experience with practice facilities nationwide, most importantly his work with The First Tee program. Well-practiced at working with clubs with limited acreage, Lester led the club through the process of prioritizing what features will best impact the club and its players. He looked for ways to offer more strategy and challenge to local players, while increasing the impact of Battenkill Country Club's learning programs. Hoping to improve and significantly add to the learning facility, Lester George combed the Battenkill property for ideas to incorporate a full-swing practice area, short course, a short-game practice area and assess the addition of forward tees for younger players.

"It means a lot for our club to be chosen as one of the facilities to be awarded the First Links grant," said Bill Wigand, golf pro at Battenkill Country Club. "We have enjoyed working with Lester George and exploring the changes we could make to our course. We also would like to thank the ASGCA and the PGA for their efforts to help all of these facilities. It is really important to get people started in the game of golf, and even more important to retain them. Through everyone's efforts we hope to achieve this goal."

Battenkill Country Club, a nine-hole semi-private club, was originally built in 1925 and initially used as a factory club. In addition to offering a golf venue, the club serves the Greenwich community with professional golf lessons, youth clinics, and the hosting of tournaments. The course is about 2950 yards, playing to a par 35. They have been inspired by the Family Golf Program, promoted by the PGA and US Kids Golf, which recommends that facilities try to accommodate players of modest skill. The improvements being planned for Battenkill would make golf more enjoyable and accessible to Greenwich golfers of all skill levels.

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