AUSTIN, Texas -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, is out with its list of the 11 most endangered historic places in the country.
On the eclectic mix of sites, from steamboats to natural sites and buildings, is one golf course: Lions Municipal in Austin, Texas. You can view the Web site's full spread on Lions, which includes some really neat aerial and historic images, here.
We've covered the struggle to save Lions on numerous occasions recently, particularly during the Dell Match Play World Golf Championships in the spring. I've also written a little more at length about the potential of the property for a local Austin preservation group.
But for both locals and anyone who understands and appreciates the need to save historic, public golf courses, it's great to see national, non-golf entities identify its importance. Lions' story isn't just about preserving a recreational space but its unique place in the civil rights movement.
"As the complex struggle for racial justice continues to take center stage across America, places like Austin's Lions Municipal Golf Course have much to teach us about peaceful efforts towards increased human decency and respect," said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "But Muny cannot continue to highlight an important side of the American story unless we take action to preserve it as a resource for its community."
As a local (one who loves playing the Austin munis) I'll sum up my thoughts on the issue by saying the University of Texas has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring in one of its most distinguished alumni, Ben Crenshaw, to update and enhance Lions into a gem that could be a nationally recognized university course and serve as a teachable moment on civil rights in a welcoming public, beautiful place for generations to come.
UT is quite strangely a rare, top public university that doesn't have an official golf course accessible to its students (University of Texas Golf Club is located well west of town, and is private.)
Golf Channel travel expert Matt Ginella visited with Crenshaw about what Muny means to him in a recent episode of Ginella's Journeys, and anyone can support the cause by purchasing a t-shirt at SaveMuny.com.