First Links grant for Battenkill


Sean Dudley

Battenkill Country Club in New York has been awarded a grant from the First Links programme, which is run jointly by the American Society of Golf Course Architects and the PGA of America.

As a result of the grant, Battenkill's board of directors has asked golf architect Lester George to assess its nine hole course, originally built in 1925, to see whether alterations could improve the playing experience for beginner and experienced golfers alike.

George, who the club says it selected because of his experience working on practice facilities across the USA, notably with the First Tee programme, and with clubs with limited space. George has led the club through a process of prioritising possible improvements, including looking for ways to offer more strategy and challenge to local players, while increasing the impact of the club's learning programmes.

With the aim of significantly adding to the club's learning facility, George has 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, the club's professional. “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.”