Golf Digest says Hagerstown is great for golfers

June 11, 1998|By LARRY YANOS

A national publication has ranked Hagerstown among the top golf cities in the U.S.

The July issue of Golf Digest lists Hagerstown Municipal Golf Course and Black Rock Golf Course as being among the premier layouts in the United States in terms of good, affordable public and municipal golf courses.

The municipal course in Hagerstown and Black Rock, off Mount Aetna Road, were ranked 41st among 309 golf courses across the country.

"It's really gratifying that Golf Digest has the wisdom to recognize Municipal Golf Course for the asset it is to the city of Hagerstown," said Harry McAbee Jr., a golfer and unofficial spokesman for golfers at the city course.


The municipal course gives younger and older people an affordable place to play, McAbee said. He said he plays the city course every day and plays at Black Rock four or five times a year.

City officials have been proud of the municipal course's affordable rates for years, said City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman.

"There's a lot of golfers who use it on a very frequent basis," Zimmerman said.

Lisa Sweet, a Golf Digest spokeswoman, said Wednesday that a joint effort between Golf Digest's Research Resource Center and the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University based the ranking on six criteria:

-- Number of public courses per capita.
-- Number of municipal courses per capita.
-- Number of public courses per population of golfers.
-- Number of municipal courses per population of golfers.
-- Average star rating of the courses in Golf Digest's biennial Places to Play guide.
-- Value rating of the courses listed in Places to Play.

According to the National Golf Foundation, 80 percent of all golfers in the U.S. play more than half their games on public golf courses. Therefore, the Golf Digest ranking focused exclusively on public golf.

The overall ranking is by cities of any size and Hagerstown would also be considered in the Small City category for populations less than 250,000.

"It's a nice honor, we've been ranked nationally before - had a 3 1/2-star rating once with the top being four - but I believe this is the highest ranking ever," Black Rock Golf Pro Darrell Whittington said.

Whittington said the Golf Digest magazine conducts an annual survey and has members of its staff play each rated course to arrive at the listings.

Duluth, Minn., was the No. 1 city among the 309 listed by Golf Digest.

The top 10 also includes: Rapid City, S.D.; Fargo, N.D.; Waterloo, Iowa; Terre Haute, Ind.; Bismark, N.D.; Yuma, Ariz.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Barnstable, Miss.

Duluth led the Small City category and Salt Lake City led the Big City category, for populations more than 1 million. Rockfield, Ill., led the Medium City category for populations of 250,000 to 1 million.

Rates at the Black Rock course are $31 on weekdays and $36 on weekends - with cart - for non-Washington County golfers and $24 and $28 for Washington County residents.

The Hagerstown Municipal Golf Course charges greens fees of $5.50 for nine holes and $7.50 for 18 holes during the week and $8.50 for 18 holes on weekends.

Senior citizens are charged $4 for nine holes and $5.50 for 18 holes during the week and $5.50 for 18 holes on weekends.

Those rates will increase by 75 cents starting July 1.

Staff Writer Julie Green contributed to this story.

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