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Gaughan continues to swing toward Nicklaus course in Buffalo

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Will Jack Nicklaus be designing a golf course in Buffalo? "It's always a challenge to raise funds for something like this but the good news is we're getting close," attorney Kevin Gaughan told WBFO News.  Close, in this case, equals $500,000 that is needed to reach the region's 20 percent share of the project "that will trigger 80 percent of our budget from outside of Western New York in order to ease the strain on other worthy causes."  Gaughan has been encouraged by the enthusiasm of local civic leaders and philanthropists toward the project.

"The plan is to, of course, to bind the new Jack Nicklaus course with a fully restored Olmsted arboretum with an educational and vocational training and STEM-related center for underserved minority youth," Gaughan explained.

A 120-acre site "contiguous to South Park, just actually north of it" will hold the course along with other recreational space for the public.

"This wonderful man, Jack Nicklaus, who was kind enough to consent to do this when I first approached him, and his company, this is actually number one on their list. They're just waiting for us to be able to secure the funds so they can move forward," Gaughan explained.

In the last decade the game of golf has lost followers. Some local courses have closed; others are struggling financially. His research revealed the problem--and the opportunity.

"There's one exception to that industry-wide rule and that is Jack Nicklaus-signature golf  course designs," Gaughan said.

"There are only 21 of them in the world and this will be the 22nd and perhaps his final one."

For Gaughan, the plan has been five years in the making. He admits such a lofty idea can be a challenging sell to the people of Western New York.

"The bottom line is: we're inching closer and closer. We're all very confident that we're going to be able to begin the process to create these wonderful new public amenities."