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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Kenny Rodewald tees off on the first hole at Foster Park Golf Course on Thursday. Rodewald, 79, has been playing at Foster for 75 years and was on hand to help kick off anniversary celebrations for three local courses.

City marks milestone for parks, great links

Officials celebrated more than 80 years of municipal golf in Fort Wayne on Thursday, marked by longtime patron Kenny Rodewald hitting a picture-perfect shot off the first tee at Foster Park Golf Course.

Rodewald has been playing golf at Foster for 75 years – since he was a 4-year-old.

Parks and Recreation Director Al Moll and golf professional Rick Hemsoth joined Rodewald to mark anniversary celebrations at three city golf courses.

Foster Park Golf Course is 85 years old this year, Shoaff Park Golf Course is 55 years old and McMillen Park Golf Course is 50 years old.

The celebration will continue June 23 at all of the city’s golf courses with reduced fees, special drawings and golf course membership giveaways. Golfers older than 80 can play at McMillen Park Golf Course for free June 23. In addition, everyone who plays that day will be entered in a drawing to win a golf membership for the year.

Separately, Moll announced the parks department’s intention to replace lost trees on all the golf courses.

“We’ve had to take down about 300 damaged trees on the courses because of the emerald ash borer crisis,” Moll said. “Due to the loss of so many trees, and to commemorate the anniversaries, we’re committed to replacing 85 trees at Foster Park Golf Course, 55 trees at McMillen Golf Course, and 50 trees at Shoaff Golf Course this year.”

To play golf on June 23 at Foster, McMillen or Shoaff golf courses, tee time reservations will be accepted starting Sunday at