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Lions Municipal continues to be the beating heart of Austin city golf

Austin's historic public golf course will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2024.

AUSTIN, Texas — Lions Municipal Golf Course, or Muny, has been a staple in the Austin community since 1924.

Next year, the first public golf course in the South to racially desegregate will turn 100 years old.

However, this civil rights landmark's future remains uncertain, as rezoning efforts and potential new plans for the 141 acres of land continue to develop.

"If Austin were to lose this place, it would be a tremendous loss," said Scotty Sayers, co-chair of the Muny Conservancy.

Sayers and his fellow co-host, Ed Clements of "The Fifteenth Club," are two of the many fighting to "Save Muny" ahead of National Golf Month in August.

"It's just a place to go and gather. And, as Ben Crenshaw says, 'To recreate and play golf,'" Clements said.

Hole No. 16 - "The Hogan Hole"

Hole No. 16 at Muny is better known as "The Hogan Hole" because of legendary golfer Ben Hogan's experience playing it back in the early 1950s.

"So, Mr. Hogan walks up here. He says, 'Where should I hit my tee shot?' And George Hannon, the UT golf coach eventually, was caddying, and he said, 'You just hit down there as close to the water as you can.' Hogan knocks it in for a birdie, and Hogan says, 'This is one of the best holes I've ever played.' From then on, it was called the Hogan hole," Sayers said.

August - National Golf Month

August is National Golf Month, which means there are a lot of opportunities to play one of the more than 60,000 rounds of golf annually at Lions Municipal.

"People come out for the driving range. They gather on the putting green. It's a place to socialize, have fun and improve your game. This place is a real melting pot. It's the lifeblood of our golf," Sayers said.

Muny turns 100 next year / Efforts to "Save Muny"

"We're 99 years old. Next year is the big year, 100. There's not many places like this in the country," Sayers said about the course's incoming 100th anniversary.

"There are not many 100-year-old golf courses in America anymore. That's the thing," Clements said. "Our effort to save Muny has captured the golf world internationally. Jim Nantz of CBS Sports always will say, 'How's it going? Are you saving Muny? How's everything at Muny?' We know the importance of saving green spaces, especially saving golf courses here in this town, where we don't have enough golf courses in Austin. We don't have enough."

Crenshaw wins '95 Masters for Harvey Penick

An iconic golfer and Longhorn legend, Crenshaw grew up playing at Muny. His first hole-in-one happened while playing Lions Municipal.

Crenshaw's longtime golf coach was Harvey Penick, a former head golf pro at Austin Country Club. Four days before Crenshaw began his journey to win his second Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, Penick passed away. 

A day before the opening round, Crenshaw served as a pallbearer at Penick's funeral. Four days later, back in Augusta, an emotional Crenshaw was wearing his second Green Jacket.

"In 1995, after Harvey Penick died, Ben went and goes over and he wins the Masters. And it's been an emotional day. Reporters are all putting mics in his face, and he just shakes his head, and he said, 'You know fellas, I had a 15th club in my bag today. It was Harvey,'" Sayers said.

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