TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There’s a new golf course in Tampa aimed at bringing in a wider range of golfers.
This will be another milestone for Rogers Park in Tampa. The addition of a Par 3 course makes for a great place to bring your kids out to play.
“It’s been almost three years in production and it’s just going to benefit all the kids in the First Tee of Tampa and the community at large,” First Tee of Tampa Bay Executive Director Ian Baxter said. “We’re just so happy it’s open.”
Officials will celebrate how this course started and where it is now with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday.
What started as three holes in 1947 as a place for the Black community to practice their swings, is now an elaborate golf course for everyone.
“We want to introduce the game, of course to kids through the First Tee but we want the public to play and we want more people to come down here from the community, from the Tampa area to experience this,” Baxter said.
First Tee Tampa Bay kids will have designated dates and times to play.
Norman Black used to be in the program many years ago and was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to take the first swing on this new course. He said he’s thankful for the First Tee program for more than one reason.
“Not even just like golf, it’s more-so lifeskills,” Black, the now APGA Tour Player said. “Skills that you’ll need to use whether you play golf, whether you’re in the corporate world, or whatever you want to do.”
Designed by renowned architects, the nine holes ranging from 60 to 120 yards are not short of challenges — perfect for both kids and adults.
“We didn’t want to just put out nine tee boxes and nine flat greens.,” Baxter said. “All the greens have character. They have a design. There’s a reason why they’re made the way they are. So even if you’re fortunate enough to hit the green on your first shot you’re still going to have a challenge getting into the hole just because of how we built the course.”
The partnership with the Tampa Sports Authority aims at making this an affordable place to play.
“Hole number two is already giving me nightmares and I haven’t even played it yet,” Baxter said. “It’s about 120 yards off the tee, the green is almost sideways looking from it. Looks like you can’t even see the green.”
It should take about an hour to make your way around the course.
“I was here when it started, the first board we had, and we never thought it was going to get to this level,” First Tee Tampa Bay Executive Board Member Lionel Ballard said. “But now Rogers has all these dimensions– expanding it and working with the First Tee, partnering with the YMCA, partnering with the Sports Authority. I mean it’s amazing. I think it’s going to be a tremendous asset to Rogers Park.”
The park is known for its scenic views and now there’s this walking course to take it all in.
The public can book their first tee times for Sunday, Nov. 5.