Marine Park Golf Course in Brooklyn - a 18-hole park that investigators had tied to the mob during a 2007 probe - snubbed coach Charles Lightfoot's proposal in a March 3 e-mail. Lightfoot said he never heard from Marine Park again.
Lightfoot designed the 10-week Junior Scholarship Program to help children suffering from a range of mental disorders, from attention deficit to autism, use golf as a tool to learn how to focus. Admission is free and would be a city first if Lightfoot finds a public golf course to sign on.
Marine Park was Lightfoot's first choice because it's the only Brooklyn public course with a driving range. Lightfoot said he wanted to make his classes accessible to local families.
"Inner-city kids need to have opportunity. They don't get to see these things," Lightfoot said.
Mel Rodriguez, whom Lightfoot tapped to be a "mentor to parents" in his new program, agreed, and is taking steps to see that his young son Emilio learns the game. The elder Rodriguez said that mastering golf at an early age can pay personal dividends later in life.
Lisa Maynard, 42, and her daughter Makiya, 11, were looking forward to hitting golf balls this summer. The Maynards were heartbroken when they learned the budding program wasn't working out.
"My daughter doesn't have any friends but me," said Lisa Maynard about her little girl, who suffers from autism. "She needs friends and I want to interact with other parents who understand."
The Parks Department oversees Marine Park and another dozen or so courses throughout the city. A department spokesman referred all questions about the rejection to Marine Park.