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Hagerstown Greens remains a work in progress

June 27, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

City of Hagerstown officials are crossing their fingers and hoping that golfers who venture to Hagerstown Greens at Hamilton Run will have some patience. It will be some time before the course is totally free of problems, they said.

And, once the problems that beset the golf course at this time are solved, officials are hoping the course will not only satisfy those who play there regularly, but also will attract additional golfers to the 9-hole facility.

In late March, city officials rendered a name change from the old Municipal Golf Course.

City Director of Administrative Services John Budesky said recently that signs indicating the new name have arrived and soon will be installed.

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The pressing issues that face the course, built in 1932 and owned by the city since 1947, are irrigation and unsightly greens.

"We had grant-funded moneys of $135,000 to handle the irrigation improvements and they are about 95 percent complete at this time," Budesky said. "Work is still being done on electrical lines and the sprinkler system."

Junior Mason, superintendent of the Parks Maintenance Division, is overseeing the project, and day-to-day greenskeeping work is being handled by Billy Sharin.

"Irrigation work takes quite some time, but this will work for the long-term benefits," Budesky said.

The conditions of the greens worsened with an infestation of webworms, known as turfgrass pests, usually found infesting sunny areas of lawns and golf courses.

"I agree the sight of the greens is sore," Budesky said of the brown-patched greens. "Other courses experience the same problems. We're not alone. The outside experts have indicated to us that the greens will completely recover with reseeding, repacking and rolling. It's just a matter of moisture and hit or miss with sunlight."

Budesky said "several thousand dollars" have been spent on the formation of the new relocated green at No. 5.

"We had a complete staff meeting at the course and we addressed the situation that we will educate golfers a little better on what is going on day-to-day," Budesky said.

Additional work that will be forthcoming includes a golf cart path, which has been approved and which Budesky said would be phased in throughout the year. It also would alleviate water problems for carts along No. 6.

Budesky also indicated future improvements would come with additional tee boxes on Nos. 2, 6 and 9, which would give golfers a different challenge, especially if they elect to play 18 holes.

"We value our members, and we need to let them know better what is going on and we are going to do that," Budesky said. "I don't think, from this point on, any equipment on the course will stop play. With good weather over the winter, all of the major work should be completed by next spring."

Budesky indicated that once the course improvements are completed, the city would begin an advertising campaign, and would begin family days, women's leagues and various other enticements.

"All of us, certainly the mayor, council and staff want this course to be one everyone is proud of. Otherwise, the funds would not have been allocated," Budesky said.

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