Lions Municipal History Wall Showcases Course History

Photographs and other memorabilia hang in the pro shop.

Photographs and other memorabilia hang in the pro shop.

The photos on the wall date back as far as the history of the course itself.

A black and white picture of the original clubhouse, which was built in 1924, hangs in the center of the collection. Two stiff men in suits exchange the deed between the city of Austin and the Lions Club in 1937, in another small, black framed photo. Nearby is a blueprint that displays the elements of a redesign of the course that came between 1937 and 1939, at the suggestion of famed golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast.

A charcoal historical marker from the Texas Historical Commission, which resides near the front entrance to Lions Municipal Golf Course, is depicted in another picture. The marker explains the history of desegregation that occurred at Lions, also known as “Muny,” in 1951. The plaque reads: “The quiet desegregation at Muny preceded access at other public courses, as well as federal public accommodation, by several years.”

This new history wall in the pro shop is thanks to the diligent work of Billy Clagett. The wall is dedicated to telling the history of the Tarrytown golf course. It highlights the milestones and history of the 92-year-old course, and, more recently, the fight to save it.

Since its founding in 1924, Muny has been the site of many memorable, and even historic, events. It is in danger of being closed in 2019 when the city’s lease of the land runs out, but recently, University of Texas President Greg Fenves made an offer to extend the lease past 2019, albeit at a much higher price.

Before this development, the University of Texas Board of Regents, which owns the land, strongly voiced their plans to develop the land in more financially lucrative ways at the conclusion of the lease. To combat this, the Save Muny movement has made it their mission to educate the public about the history of the course.

Billy Clagett points out one of the many pieces in the collection.

Billy Clagett points out one of the many pieces in the collection.

“It [the wall] shows people the historic plight we’re going through to get the golf course saved,” Clagett said.

“I think it surprises some people, who may not be familiar with the course,” said Mary Arnold, a leader in the Save Muny movement since 1972. “It’s a really good thing for people to be able to stop and take a look and learn a little more about what has gone on there.”

Another proudly displayed element of the wall is a tan paper with a golden city seal. It reads: “I, Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas, do hereby proclaim Oct. 22 2016 as Save Muny Day.” Above it, Adler is pictured smiling next to the newest historical marker.

In the corner of the display, the Serta Trophy sits awaiting the next edition of the Firecracker Open. The tournament was founded in 1946, and is the oldest amateur golf tournament in the state. Clagett has won the event a record six times. Behind the trophy hangs 25 pictures of Firecracker winners over the years, and a comprehensive list of champions hangs alongside them. One notable winner is Ben Crenshaw, the 1969 and 1971 champion.

“This is a place where I’ve had so many memories,” Crenshaw said at the recent National Register of Historic Places marker dedication ceremony on Oct. 22. “I can’t imagine a time where this place would be transformed into something else.”

Clagett values the educational aspect the wall provides. He said once he got interested in it, he wanted everyone else to see the history behind the course.

“If you take the time to read all that stuff, then you’re going be a historian,” Clagett said. “There’s a lot of good stuff up there.”

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