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Ben Crenshaw, Kyle Chandler still trying to save Austin golf course

Ben Crenshaw, Kyle Chandler still trying to save Austin golf course

AUSTIN, Texas — Ben Crenshaw has worked on golf courses all over the globe, first as a two-time Masters champ and PGA Tour star and now as part of the illustrious Coore & Crenshaw golf course design team.

But one of the courses he’s worked hardest on, Lions Municipal Golf Course in this Texas capital city, still hasn’t seen the outcome he’s been hoping for.

On Sunday, Crenshaw and a cavalcade of stars were on hand at Austin City Limits’ Moody Theater, raising money as the Muny Conservancy attempts to purchase or lease the land and maintain it as a golf course and greenspace.

The land on which Muny sits is part of the 500 acres known as the Brackenridge Tract, all owned by the University of Texas. The course is considered the first fully desegregated municipal course south of the Mason-Dixon line and the city has leased 140 acres for Muny since 1936, paying UT about $500,000 a year. If the parties don’t come to an understanding, the university could be free to lease the property to another entity, develop it or sell it.

On Sunday, the group raised another $1 million for the cause, marking the third straight year the gala could be considered a major success. Musical talent included Asleep at the Wheel lead singer and Save Muny Board Member Ray Benson, Larry Gatlin, Jimmie Vaughan, and Gary P. Nunn.

But those on hand admitted some frustration as talks continue to lag, and university officials have done little to show which direction they might be leaning with the property.

“We’re hoping for a long-term resolution. We’d love to have a long-term lease,” Crenshaw said while flanked by his wife, Julie. “The city and the university need to get together somehow. And we need to extend it. It’s a hundred years, 100 years of success in our town. It’s not only a golf course, but it’s a great space. We’re growing so fast. In this town, we’re losing space rapidly. So it’s a multi-pronged asset. To me, it’s the health and vibrancy of the community. Because I think it raises good people.”

Among others on hand was actor Kyle Chandler of “Friday Night Lights” fame. Chandler has long been an advocate of the cause and he lives in Austin, where he has been known to play Lions with Crenshaw, his longtime manager and friend Scotty Sayers and others. Chandler is hoping the fundraising and visibility will be enough to dissuade university officials from making a poor decision, but he’s also surprised this has carried on as long as it…


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