A golf course designed specifically for wounded and disabled veterans has been expanded from nine to 18 holes.
Created by Nicklaus Design, the new ‘Nicklaus Nine’ has now opened for play at the American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Lakewood, Washington.
An opening ceremony took place this weekend at the course, which is run by a group of more than 200 volunteers and operates without any federal funding or paid employees.
“It is a very interesting thing to watch these guys that come home after serving our country and to help them transition back to society,” Nicklaus said. “Golf has been a big, big booster to a lot of the guys that have post-traumatic syndrome. We’ve got a lot of men and women coming back home, and they need our help.”
American Lake Veterans Golf Course is open to all veterans, their families and guests, including those in active duty, retired military, National Guard and reserve members.
The course is the 400th from Nicklaus Design to have opened since Nicklaus embarked on his golf course design career in the late 1960s.
“I could not be happier that American Lake turned out to be Nicklaus Design’s milestone 400th golf course,” Nicklaus said. “Everything that American Lake stands for parallels our mission at Nicklaus Design, and that is to give people a place to recreate and congregate, and to design a course that best services the needs of the people who play there.”
Nicklaus added: “It’s been a labour of love to be involved in the planning, fundraising, groundbreaking and design of the Nicklaus Nine at American Lake. I have always said that, in some ways, golf course design is a vehicle for me to give back to the game of golf. This time, we get the opportunity to give back to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives and limbs so we can live free in this country.”