Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 9:28 am
The miracle of Mozingo is revisited Jim Fall maryvilledailyforum.com | 0 comments
It was a sunny autumn afternoon, pretty much 20 years ago, that I first realized that something wonderful was in the making for Maryville and northwest Missouri.
Certainly, I was not doing the first story I had written about the ongoing development of the 3,000-acre city outdoor recreational facility being built east on Highway 136.
Oh no, I had written many prior pieces about the planning that had gone into the whole idea, about the acquisition of the land, about the importance of developing a more stable water source for the city, about the recreational potential presented by the rapidly filling 1,000-acre lake or by the emerging 18-hole championship golf course, much less the RV park, the primitive camp ground or the several other recreational amenities already underway or in the planning stages.
It was an exciting time, and even some of the opposition which had slowed the process over the years had begun to evaporate.
I was struck by the fishing possibilities the lake itself presented, along with the boating and other water sports.
But what really had me excited was the new golf course.
And what a golf course it could — would — become.
I am not sure Don Sechrest, the Mozingo course’s original designer, or even Ron Darnell, who came on board as course superintendent a year before it opened, really could have imagined then what it would have become today.
Darnell admitted as much Tuesday afternoon as he proudly conducted a tour similar to several earlier ones he had taken me on back in 1994.
Only this time, we were inspecting the construction progress on the new Tom Watson-designed youth course rapidly nearing its own completion.
To say Tuesday’s tour was an eye-opener would be a dramatic understatement.
I had seen it from around the edges. I had visited with Ron, and with Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland, who oversees the Mozingo Lake Recreation Area for the city, but I had no idea.
With U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson calling the shots, I knew it would be first class.
I was not disappointed.
It is truly going to be another Miracle at Mozingo.
Carved from the same rolling hills that gave birth to the existing championship course, this extraordinary new course is designed specifically for teaching youngsters the glorious game, and life.
Rest assured, it is not your average golfer’s idea of a little par-3 pitch-and-putt layout. Not even remotely.
It is a championship golf course, designed specifically for the instruction and maturity of our next generation of golfers, built to exact USGA standards.
Carved from the rough terrain that looked like a golf course to Tom Watson the first time he saw it, it has been created in that image to perfection by crews from the same construction company that built the original Mozingo course 20 years ago.
The workmen are delicate craftsmen in their own right who demand the same exact perfection as the course’s designer, only they work with dump trucks, bulldozers, Bobcats and back-hoes.
There was a whirlwind of activity Tuesday after Watson made an unannounced visit to check on the progress. Even during the hour or so he was on site, his attention to detail was evident. He approved final details of the large practice green that will be a significant feature of the facility; he discussed placing a couple of shelters in strategic locations.
Heiland said he never even skipped a beat talking about how many tons of specially mixed sand would be spread on the surfaces of the four greens that would be completed by the end of the day — 250 tons on each, in case you’re wondering.
Weather permitting, the projected seeding will not be delayed too much beyond the anticipated Oct. 1 start date. Each hole, green, fairway and all, will be done in unison so the carefully designed watering system can be utilized from the very beginning. The four-inch main water line that supplies the new course will be connected to the same water sources as the main Mozingo layout.
It seems hard to imagine such an ideal project here.
But it really shouldn’t be.
Maryville is a wonderful place, with caring, generous people. A dedicated few took the lead at first and turned this project into a community effort — and the community has risen mightily to the occasion.
Just another Miracle in Maryville.