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Mason Rudolph Golf Course project now on hold

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The City of Clarksville is pumping the brakes on plans to turn one of the city’s two public golf courses into a park.

Earlier this month, the city announced that the Mason Rudolph Golf Course would close near the end of May and reopen as Mason Rudolph Legacy Park on June 1. Less than a week later, Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts announced a pause on the project, pending further feedback.

Clarksville resident Price Hopson frequents the Mason Rudolph Golf Course, where he practices with his grandsons and helps coach the Clarksville Junior Golf Tournament program.

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“I was raised on Golf Club Way right down here. Mason Rudolph walked in front of my house and waved to me when he was coming out here, learning how to play golf,” Hopson said.

According to the Clarksville Parks and Recreation Department, a recent evaluation estimated it would take roughly $4.4 million to make the property a viable golf course. Pitts noted several challenges the property faces, including a sinkhole and irrigation issues. After initial feedback, Pitts said the plans to transform the 48-acre course have been put on hold.

“We’ve heard from those who are passionate about the Mason Rudolph Golf Course and I applaud their passion and concern,” Pitts said. “I want to reassure everybody we’re committed to the process; we’re not going to make another move until the public has a chance to see what it is that we propose, or others propose because again, there are some very interesting ideas floating around out there.”

Now, city officials are working to determine the best course of action when it comes to gathering public feedback. Pitts said he especially wanted to hear input from neighbors surrounding the course.

“We’ve had some really good conversations and I look forward to seeing the ideas, putting them on paper, and then ultimately figuring out what we need moneywise and support wise going forward, be it public or private,” Pitts said.

Hopson’s grandsons said they hoped to see the course left open.

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“You can like practice and do better in competitions,” Finley Justice said.

“Just keep it open. I mean, people are using it,” John Hopson added.

Of the negative feedback, Pitts described certain social media posts as “vitriolic” and “hateful.” He asked that negativity not be pointed at city employees.

“It’s pointing fingers at our city employees who do nothing but show up everyday and do the best job they can. It’s up to me and the council to give them resources. So, if they’re going to direct any kind of vitriol, it needs to be directed at me because this is again, like Harry Truman said, where the buck stops.”

Hopson highlighted the advantages of Mason Rudolph Golf Course for young learners, including a laidback atmosphere and relaxed pace, on top of being affordable. In regards to the course’s sinkhole, he suggested utilizing local high school or students at Austin Peay State University to help address the problem.

Hopson said he knew the mayor personally and was confident that city officials would ultimately choose to let Mason Rudolph remain as a golf course.

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“It just had to be brought to the forefront, the value of this course to the kids and to seniors that want to come out here and play,” Hopson said.

Pitts said in the coming weeks and perhaps months, city officials would come up with a plan on how feedback will be collected, which will likely include polls and surveys.

Pitts invited anyone eager to share their thoughts before that process is finalized to email him with comments. He can be reached at joe.pitts@cityofclarksville.com.

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