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'More than just golf courses' | DC municipals to see major restorations over the coming years

WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. logo WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. 8/5/2020 Nick Boykin
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Three public golf courses ran by the National Park Service (NPS) in Washington will have major renovations completed in the somewhat near future. 

And as the PGA Championship is played at the historic municipal course -- TPC Harding Park, in San Francisco this week -- here's what could become of DC's beloved public links.

Langston Golf Course, East Potomac Golf Course and Rock Creek Golf Course are the three municipals that eventually will see multiyear and multimillion-dollar restorations after an agreement between the National Park Service and interested outside investors.

While the plans for renovations are still in the developing stages, the hopes are to broaden the game of golf to underserved communities in the District and enhance the destinations and views of the Nation's Capital that can be enjoyed through golf.

NPS's golf courses in DC were built between 1918 and 1939. And just like Harding Park, these courses were some of the first municipal courses in the US, introducing people to the game of golf like never before in the states.

Also just like Harding Park -- which was once dilapidated after being a very well known course in California -- major renovations are needed for the District's public courses to keep spreading the game for hundreds of more years.

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DC's public courses will most likely never hold a golf championship like Harding Park will do this week, but the call for better golf and access to the sports is something that inspired the nonprofit National Links Trust (NTL).

NTL has begun negotiations for the future renovations, with a goal of having a lease in place with a developer no later than September 30, 2020. 

“These properties are more than just golf courses” commented Michael McCartin, co-founder of NLT. “They are unique cultural and recreational resources with a long and commendable record of offering affordable access to the game of golf. ...We are honored to take on the responsibility of revitalizing these remarkable properties and look forward to expanding recreational opportunities for underserved communities, including seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities and those new to golf.”

The news about NLT forming and negotiating for the renovations came down in late June, with statements released by the nonprofit and NPS.

National Trust Links will look to partner with Troon Golf, LLC. Designs for renovations will also likely come from golf architects Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Beau Welling — with Mike Keiser serving as a senior adviser for the course designs for NLT. 

According to Will Smith, co-founder of NLT: “We are also partnering with civic, philanthropic and environmental organizations such as First Tee of Greater Washington, DC, Golf. My Future. My Game., Anacostia Watershed Society and many others that share our vision and commitment to serving youth, historic user groups and the community generally. ...We plan to develop attractive community gathering venues and are committed to maintaining environmentally sound open spaces for the benefit of all those who want to come and enjoy these parks, golfers and non-golfers alike.”

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Located in Southeast, Langston has a rich history as being one of the first African American operated public golf courses in the United States.

The renovations to the three golf courses will be something that also will hopefully bring some original style and character to these aging courses. 

New plans for East Potomac will look to also establish a similar look to the original design of the course by Walter Travis, who took inspiration from the Old Course at St. Andrews to design the original 18 holes.

To learn more about the future plans for DC's public golf course, click here.

To play at any of the three courses mentioned in this story, click here

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