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Lions Municipal Golf Course, which has been fighting for survival the past several years against plans to repurpose its prime acreage for other uses, won an important victory on Jan. 23.
A state advisory panel voted 8-1 to recommend that the Austin golf course built in 1923 be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The panel concluded the 1950s desegregation of "Muny," as it is affectionately known, was of national significance. The recommendation will now go to the Historical Commission, which has 45 days to decide whether Muny warrants listing. If the commission agrees, it has another 45 days to send the proposal to the National Park Service, which makes the final decision. If it disagrees, Save Muny can appeal.
The 141-acre golf course in West Austin is owned by UT, which leased the course to the city through 2019. In 2011, the university notified the city it would not renew the lease when it expires and instead planned to use the site for commercial and residential use.
But leaders of Save Muny claim the course merits historical protection. On its website, savemuny.com, it showcases a letter from the USGA and Austin’s own Hall of Famer, Ben Crenshaw.
“Muny has provided a chance for golfers of all ages to enjoy the game and yes, affordable and reliable, which adds to its timelessness,” Crenshaw wrote. “My story is no different than that of countless youngsters eager to play the game, but we were provided a lovely place in which these memories will last us a lifetime. I regard these things as irreplaceable.”
A National Register designation will not stop the bulldozers by itself, but Save Muny hopes the designation would increase the pressure on the UT Board of Regents to preserve the course.