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Swope Memorial could see $7M renovation, reopen by 2026

Swope Memorial could see $7M renovation, reopen by 2026

While A.W. Tillinghast is most famous for courses like Winged Foot and Baltusrol, the legendary designer also carved out a number of municipal courses that have had a tremendous impact on the golf world.

Among those is Swope Memorial, a course in the Kansas City chain that opened in 1919 and was touched up by Tillinghast again in 1934.

The course has a ton of history and even hosted the Kansas City Open, a PGA Tour stop, in 1949. It’s one of the best tracks in Missouri that you can play, according to Golfweek’s Best, ranking only behind the three Big Cedar Lodge courses and another in the Branson area.

But the course sees considerable play and is showing its age. According to a story in the Kansas City Star, the course is cracking and city administrators know this to be the case.

“The bunkers have seen better days, the irrigation system is antiquated,” said Douglas Schroeder, director of golf services for Kansas City Parks & Recreation. “The cart paths are made of asphalt, and most don’t allow for proper drainage. The greens are being invaded by poa annua, which is a bluegrass that can’t survive in the heat.”

“One thing led to another,” Schroeder continued, “and finally it was like, It’s time. This is a prized asset of the parks department, and we need to spend some money to get it back to the gold standard it should be.”

That’s why the city’s parks department will take a proposal to the city council seeking $7 million to renovate the classic course and give it a new spin. If everything goes through as planned, the course will be closed for more than a year and will reopen in the spring of 2026. The city has hired CE Golf Design, which is based in Kansas City and led by Todd Clark, to oversee the project.

“I really think it’s something that will benefit the city greatly,” Schroeder told the Star. “For local golfers, but also for tourism. This will be a course people will want to visit.”


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