The Muny Conservancy was created to end an unpredictable leasing loop and raise dollars for the purchase of the 141-acre site in Austin, Texas that Lions Municipal Golf Course has occupied for nearly a century. The Save Muny Committee has been raising public awareness on the grassroots level since 1973. Now, as UT seeks a permanent use for these 141 acres, The Muny Conservancy is working to raise the necessary funds to purchase and renovate Lions Municipal Golf Course once and for all.
“As a native Austinite and product of The University of Texas, I will stake my reputation to protect Muny. Our goal is to find a win-win solution that preserves this gem as an affordable, public golf course and green space for future generations to enjoy.”
– Ben Crenshaw, Muny Conservancy Co-Chair
As the first public course in the South to racially desegregate, Lions Municipal Golf Course is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a big title, but the story was simple. In late 1950 – following the Supreme Court’s decision in Sweatt v. Painter but well before Brown v Board of Education – two young Black boys walked on to the course and began playing.
Still in the throes of the Jim Crow era, there were not yet any integrated public golf courses south of the Mason-Dixon line. The Muny staff working that day called City Hall to seek advice on how to handle the trespassing youth. After a quick discussion with council member Emma Long, Mayor Taylor Glass said, “Let them play”.
This simple act – allowing a couple of kids to finish their round – is how Muny earned the title of the first peacefully desegregated course. From that day onward, Lions Municipal Golf Course was open to all who came to play.
“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.”
– Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Today, as the city’s most beloved and affordable course, Muny currently hosts 60,000 rounds of golf each year, stages more charity tournaments than any Austin course, serves as a practice facility for more than 12 middle and high school golf teams, and is home to hundreds of protected heritage trees.
Land ownership will allow the Muny to welcome even more Austinites and become an even greater asset to the community. They plan to host community events like farmer’s markets and concerts, embrace the next generation with extra putting greens, lawn bowling, croquet and an expanded driving range. There are even plans to build a new clubhouse with a restaurant, and a special event space that will honor the historic desegregation of the course.
To read more about future plans for the Muny, or to make a donation, visit the conservancy website: https://www.themunyconservancy.com/
The Imperial Save Muny collection of hats and T-shirts have been hand-picked by the Save Muny Conservancy and a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the Save Muny community outreach campaign. You can also mix and match and Design Your Own Imperial cap with the Save Muny logo.