I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and started playing at the 9-hole par 32 Glenway and graduated up to the 18-hole Odana Hills.
Those facilities offered me, and countless others, the chance to grow into the game and be part of the local golf community. They were a safe outdoor space, a nature preserve, a restaurant hangout and more.
Learning the game at a municipal course exposes you to the best that golf brings out in people.
I’ve also been involved with designing municipal facilities.
Creating Chambers Bay as part of a larger open space for Pierce County, Washington was a dream come true. While the course welcomes visitors from around the globe and brought in over $130 million to the community during the 2015 U.S. Open, local residents like to walk the trails and use the parks.
Sharp Park in Pacifica, California, is a 1932 A. MacKenzie masterpiece along the Pacific Ocean. After 11 years working to save the course, we are now focused on restoring it.
And back in Madison, I am a small part of a big team led by Michael Keiser that is reimagining Glenway.
Hopefully, next year my 2-year-old son and I can go play the new Glenway. Or maybe we will just walk and pick up sticks.
Either way, it will be a great memory for both of us. All made possible because a community invested in golf for the people.
– Jay Blasi is a golf architect who has worked on courses such as Chambers Bay, The Patriot and Santa Ana Country Club. He also serves as a Golfweek’s Best rater ambassador and contributes frequently to Golfweek.