Last summer I participated in two experiences promoting youth golf. One of them was getting First Tee – Western New York to run a golf clinic for John Barbers (YMCA) summer school kids at Washington Middle School. After COVID restrictions thwarted two attempts to transport the children to the Chautauqua Golf Course Learning Center, we were able to gain at least one clinical experience for the first tee golfers. With the help of eight Chautauqua Golf Club members and golf director Kirk Stauffer, it was a complete success. First Tee – Western New York is now interested in starting a community program with the YMCA.
The second youth golf project involved a request from the city of Jamestown for ideas to use the $ 28 million the city will receive from American Rescue Funds.
When I heard this, my mind lit up immediately! My mind went back to memories of playing golf on the original Jamestown Municipal Golf Course. Like hundreds of other children, I had the chance to practice a sport that was supposedly reserved for the rich. For only $ 7.50 per season we played 9-63 holes every day on the course I refer to as “The miracle on Curtis Street.” What an opportunity!
Jamestown Municipal Golf Course was truly a work of immense willpower and dedication.
Scheduled in 1939, construction was started by the city alone and completed in 1956. City government, private individuals and service clubs shared the cost of the project. George Sharpe, a private individual, spearheaded Jim Sharpe of the city’s Department of Recreation.
A year or two after the golf course opened, the city began building another worthwhile project on the same property. The new project was the Jamestown Community College. Unfortunately, the golf course shrank as the college expansion took up more and more land. Although it worked successfully and never lost money, the course closed in 1969.
The city planned to build a new course in Chadakoin Park. Blueprints were developed, but the course and the “Children” were abandoned in the early 1970s.
The knowledge and skills that I learned in the course have been with me all my life and are an integral part of my personality. More than ever, I think that the youth of our city could really benefit from my proposal. The First Tee program gets kids to play a game they might not otherwise play and it educates, nurtures and inspires teenagers to new heights.
With the $ 28 million investment in urban development, my mind tells me that now is the time to build a small golf course / learning center on unused land in Chadakoin Park. To be successful, this project needs community support. I ask for your help.
If you support my idea for a golf course and / or youth golf program, speak to friends and co-workers, government officials, local service clubs, public school administrations, local golf courses, and area foundations. Get them on board! To be successful, both physical and financial assistance is essential.
Our ability to create and maintain opportunities for our teens to experience positive personal growth and development is critical to building a successful life, neighborhood, and community. The game of golf and programs that teach both golf and the values inherent in the game can provide one way to achieve this end.
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Scott Johnson is a resident of Jamestown.
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