There are other golf courses that have gone the extra mile to facilitate play for golfers with disabilities, but none have done so to the extent of the Ken Lanning Golf Center, which opened last spring in Jefferson City, Mo.
The nine-hole, par-three course was designed specifically for those with physical handicaps, although juniors and seniors may play at certain times. It features easily accessible tee boxes and greens, extra wide cart paths, and artificial turf surfaces on putting greens and one artificial turf tee per hole located adjacent to the cart path.
The course is named for Lanning, who was instrumental in founding the Missouri Golf Association Junior Golf Foundation. The project is part of the Turkey Creek Golf Center, a nine-hole facility and range owned by Danny Baumgartner.
Baumgartner donated the 20 acres to the Missouri Golf Association, which has moved its offices to the complex. Kansas City-based golf course architect Todd Clark did the design work, while Wadsworth Golf Construction Co. built it. In addition to doing the construction, Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation made a donation to the project. Much of the earthwork was completed through the Missouri National Guard, who used the project as a training exercise for heavy equipment operation.
Ground was broken in June 2015 and construction activities finished in October 2015.
“This has been in the works for some time,” Clark said. “Scott Hovis of the Missouri Golf Association called me with his idea to create a facility that was truly accessible to the handicapped at all points. The 20 acres was just a flat open field that sat in a flood plain, so it offered no natural features to work with. We built four lakes to generate material to shape the course with some strategy in mind.”
Clark said the artificial greens were installed by Southwest Greens. They have a sub-grade base of six inches of aggregate. The greens have four holes cut in them that will be rotated to minimize the wear and tear.
The greens were designed with subtle contours and undulation similar to a regulation course which adds interest and character to each hole. There are no gimmie putts with these greens, Clark said.
“The synthetic turf is about 1 to 1½ inches thick,” Clark said. “It is expected to last 10 to 12 years before it needs to be replaced.
The turf is infilled with sand that will allow the turf to accept approach shots. It will be topdressed annually with sand and then rolled to create firmness. The targeted green speed is around nine feet on the Stimpmeter.
“There’s been a lot of excitement for the project,” Clark said. “The goal was to create ease of access, offer a place for families to play together, and allow golfers to work on their short game. It could be a model for others to follow in growing the game.”