Some want Municipal to go Green

March 16, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

HAGERSTOWN - When it comes to golf, "municipal" means cheap, Hagerstown Administrative Services Director John Budesky said.

"Traditionally, many people associate 'municipal' with a course that's of a lower quality of play," Budesky said Monday.

Which is why the city's nine-hole Municipal Golf Course deserves the more elegant title Hagerstown Greens at Hamilton Run, said Budesky, also the manager of the Parks and Recreation Department.

The course was built in 1932 and the city bought it in 1947, according to department information.

The name change proposed by parks officials is up for approval at next week's Hagerstown City Council voting session, but it received an early go-ahead from the council in January.

Budesky said the course is undergoing $118,000 in grant-funded upgrades to its irrigation system, and there are another $40,000 worth of requests for next year's budget to pave paths for golf carts and increase the size of the pro shop and concession services.


Budesky said next year's requests are subject to the budget process, which is under way, but he said he hopes the changes have a two-pronged effect. One is to make the golf course more attractive. The second is to make the course more profitable.

Traditionally, Budesky said, the course has needed $50,000 to $60,000 every year from the city to break even. Last year the course needed nearly double that, however, because of rain-related closures, Budesky said.

The name change, including a new sign on the Dual Highway, should cost about $1,000, Budesky said.

The upgrades to the irrigation system, which should cut down on the number of weather-related closures, began in December and are being finished up this week, Budesky said.

Budesky said the course is scheduled to open Saturday. Officials had hoped to open the course last week, but decided to hold off to complete the irrigation work, Budesky said.

Effective May 1, golfers will see a slight increase over last year's prices, but will be able to play for between $6.50 and $12 a game, not including season passes, according to department information.

Budesky said he hopes the upgrades and the name change will mean more golfers, even if the course is still run by the city. That should help to make the course less costly to the city, he said.

"We're putting a major effort into renovation of the course. ... All of these upgrades have really contributed to a really top-notch facility," Budesky said.

"While this will always be a city-run facility, we're trying to create a facility that's more attractive," Budesky said. "The new name goes along and takes away that stigma of 'Municipal Golf Course.'"

Poll Question: Do you agree with plans to change the name of Municpal Golf Course to Hagerstown Greens at Hamilton Run?

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