HIMGA responds to golf course plan

Thursday, August 19, 2004
Holiday Island Men's Golf Association (HIMGA) President Burt Gore (standing) talks with commissioners and property owners. HIMGA presented a memo to the board at Monday's work session with comments and suggestions for the golf course improvement plan. From left, seated, are commissioners Ken Mills, Harley Barnum, Boyce Williams, Bill Branum and District Manager Kevin Crosson. CCN / Kathryn Lucariello

Monday the Holiday Island Men's Golf Association (HIMGA) appeared before the Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District (HISID) Board of Commissioners with a memo about improvements on the golf courses.

HIMGA Chairman Burt Gore said his board's memo refers to a June 20 memo by Mark Mowrey, Golf Course Superintendent, outlining comments and suggestions he had received on the "2004 Improvement Plan, 18 & 9 Hole Golf Courses" draft presented in March.

In terms of tee boxes, roughs, fairways and greens improvements and cart paths, HIMGA's memo agrees with Mowrey's memo, Gore said.

But he did ask that the district stop overseeding with rye grass and allow the Bermuda grass to come back year-round.

The issue of rye versus Bermuda has been an ongoing controversy.

"In the winter, you could spray the rye grass and then plant sod in the spring," Mowrey said. "That would be a lot of work. It costs $15,000 to overseed. You could save that, but you'd have to spend $5,000 in sod, and it would look terrible for all but three months."

He was referring to Bermuda grass' tendency to dry out and create a brown-looking golf course.

"I haven't seen any detrimental effect to overseeding up here," he said.

He said his overseeding rate is 8-10 pounds per 1,000 feet, where the "big boys" apply 40-50 pounds per 1,000 feet on the larger courses.

"Yes, and in the spring, you'd better do something about it, or it will take over, but we're a quarter or less than that," he added.

"He's right," confirmed District Manager Kevin Crosson. "If you have a Bermuda course, you're going to have a good course only three to four months of the year."

Mowrey said it has been a smooth transition between rye and Bermuda, as he has experimented with different varieties to get the best mix.

"We still have rye out there -- it's still green, and I'm getting ready to seed in the next three to four weeks," he said.

Gore also asked that mowing be done parallel to the fairways and not the tees in cases where the tees and fairways don't line up. It would give golfers better ability to aim the shots down the fairways, he said.

HIMGA's memo also calls for better cooperation and communication between the Golf Superintendent, Mowrey, and the Golf Pro, Steve Cain. Cain was not at the work session.

Crosson said he was aware of the perception the two have conflicts, and he was not disputing it, but asked how the issue impacts league play or play in general.

Gore gave an example of a match play tournament booked well in advance with the Pro Shop, but said Mowrey told him he was not informed of it, or he would have been sure to have the greens mowed for the tournament.

He said in another instance, early tee times were not communicated.

"We informed everyone in the Pro Shop," he said. "We don't feel it's our responsibility to inform the Golf Superintendent also."

Crosson said he agreed and it is "something we're working on." He said the Golf Pro and the Superintendent have naturally competing goals and that can create a "natural conflict."

Other issues brought up in the memo include having a ranger on the course from early morning until dusk to police improper usage of the course, moving the Pro Shop into the restaurant and serving snacks and moving the putting green near the front of the restaurant and developing a net-system driving range at the current putting green location.

Crosson said Mowrey and his staff have done "an outstanding job" (a sentiment Gore concurred with) with the resources they have, but the district operates on a restricted budget, at $250,000 a year when other courses have millions to spend.

"If the community is really interested in improving, all those things are doable, he said. "All it takes is money."

Board Chairman Boyce Williams invited HIMGA and the ladies association, HILGA, to meet together to come up with suggestions and to attend budget sessions in the fall.

Crosson noted that complaints about misuse of the courses should be referred to him, Mowrey, Cain or, in the case of vandalism, to the sheriff's department.

In other discussions, HISID:

  • Commented on the solid waste proposal and asked questions of Roger Miner, director of the Carroll County Solid Waste Authority (see story below).

  • Reviewed with Crosson a mid-year adjustment to the district's annual goals and objectives in terms of the timeline.

  • Heard Crosson ask the board to decide what it wants on the marina rules sign at the marina.

    The business meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 23 at 9 a.m. at the district office at 110 Woodsdale Drive.

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