The Lexington Division of Parks & Recreation, which already operated three municipal courses and was heavily involved with the administration of the up-and-coming Senior PGA Tour event being held at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort, proposed an idea to construct an upscale, municipal facility to meet the needs of both the community and the region. This facility would be designed to attract players from all over the region and to attract future championships to the Lexington area as well.
Local officials retained the help of a well-known amateur player with national recognition who had lived in Lexington for many years, Johnny Owens. Owens, who played at the University of Kentucky and had competed in every major national amateur championship both in the U.S. and Europe, agreed to come on board to help make this facility a reality. Owens first developed a feasibility study and then contacted Pete Dye. Dye, along with his son P.B., accepted the challenge of designing a municipal course that would be playable by the local golfer and at the same time capable of hosting national championships.
First, Pete Dye had not done many municipal courses and his son was just beginning his design career. One might say that Dye Design got its beginning in Lexington, Ky. A rolling piece of 200 acres of land was found in northern Fayette County. The land was wide open, contained only a handful of trees, an old cemetery and no water. The design would feature very large greens, wide fairways and a lack of trees which would make the course friendlier for the average municipal golfers yet challenge the best players. These characteristics defined the classic links-style course.
Since it opened, Kearney Hill Golf Links has gone beyond fulfilling the expectations of everyone involved. It has hosted many national and local championships, has been enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels and has been recognized as one of the best by publications such as Golf Digest, Golf World, Links Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.
The list of competitions held at Kearney Hill Golf Links is vast and includes both local championships as well as those that attract national exposure. The variety of competitions is grand and exposes the versatility of Kearney Hill Golf Links.
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