MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The golf industry has struggled the past two decades trying to draw more and more junior players to the sport.
One of the biggest reasons golf has been unable to successfully build its junior pool is it’s an expensive sport to play.
The city of Murfreesboro, in cooperation with Old Fort Golf Course, just might have a solution as far as reaching more and more kids, including those from low-income areas.
The new Bloomfield Links Golf Course opened Saturday for players of all ages and skills. The course is designed for those who are just beginning the sport, but the main focus is giving young boys and girls the opportunity learn and play the game at a low cost.
In fact, for the rest of the current golf season (six to eight weeks), all children age 17-under can play the new course for free when accompanied by an adult.
The course features six holes ranging from 60-130 yards and is located at the old demolition landfill, which is behind Fortress Rosecrans and the Thompson Lane overpass. Parking for the facility will be at Old Fort Golf Club in the back of the parking lot. You can walk to the course by using the Greenway Trail, and it takes approximately two to three minutes.
The course sits on about 20 acres of land, of which 12 will be used for the six-hole layout.
“We want to make it to where every kid that wants to play golf can play golf,” said Old Fort professional Tracy Wilkins. “We’ve been doing clinics for a while for kids from Spring Valley and Franklin Heights, but really, they can’t afford to play golf.
“We want this to kind of be the T-ball version of golf. It will be a different approach. We want to teach the game, but we want to teach life skills. I’m really excited about it opening and the opportunity it is going to give us to reach a lot of kids.”
Wilkins said the property became an ideal spot because it can’t be sold. He added many restrictions have been lifted because the old landfill has been closed for 20 years.
Dennis Griffith of Atlanta, Ga., who was in charge of the renovations that took place at Old Fort in 2004, designed the new layout. However, Wilkins said it took a true community effort.
“We had so many volunteers step up and donate their time, dirt, grass and services,” he said. “We then got big help from the Wadsworth Foundation with a grant that came as part of Links Across America.”
Wilkins said various activities will be planned next year when the total construction and sprucing up is completed.
He added that clinics, leagues and numerous events will be offered at a very affordable price.
Several service organizations like First Tee, First Shot and the Tennessee School for the Blind will also be part of making Bloomfield Links Golf Course a success.
The name Bloomfield Links comes from the land that was once the Bloomfield Dairies. In fact, the land’s history dates back to the pre-Civil War days.
The story was the land used to be full of Jonquil blooms of all varieties that people from all over would come and see, and that the family sold to florists from coast to coast.
For more information about Bloomfield Links, please visit the Old Fort Golf Club Facebook page or call 615-896-2448.