'Reborn' Jakovics Discovers His 'Camelot' At Walden

Choice Layout Will Give Golfers Plenty To Think And Fret About

July 07, 1991|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Staff writer

George A. Jakovics steered his four-wheel-drive vehicle onto the 18th tee at Walden Golf Club Wednesday and immediately began describing the dilemma golfers inevitably would face at the 400-plus-yard par-4 hole.

"They're going to have a decision to make here," Jakovics said, pointing toward the top of the hill where an "ideal" tee shot would land.

"They can lay up, or they can try to cut the corner and minimize the distance from tee to green. But, if they try to cut the corner, they better be ready to pay the consequences."

Peering to his right, Jakovics spots the 11th green. "Look here," he says, calling attention to a marsh directly in front of the green. "You think this hole is going to give golfers a fit?"

Jakovics' vision is strikingly vivid despite the fact that the course, located on Riedel and Johns Hopkins roads in Crofton, is still in its infancy.

Mounds of clay, topsoil and fallen trees line the fairways. The roar of bulldozers and assorted heavy excavating machinery supplant the sound of persimmon woods and irons striking golf balls.

Tall pickets donning blue ribbons dot the acreage, designating the center of each of the 18 greens.Other stakes serve as landmarks for future bunkers, hazards and sprinkler heads.

Silt fences border wetlands and marshlands, serving as a safe guard against runoff and meeting the standards of the various environmental protection agencies.

At present, the terrain at Walden Golf Club is fit to be compared to that of a combat zone as opposed to a natural sanctuary for golfers.

But Jakovics promises the golf course will be nothing short of a battlefield for the 500 or so members when its greens open next June.

"The architects designed the course in such a way that every hole gives you two options as to how to play it," said Jakovics, who left his post as club professionalat Chartwell Golf and Country Club in Severna Park to assume the position as general manager and director of golf at Walden. "They can play with courage or with sense."

The course will feature four par-3's, two par-5's and 10 par-4's with at least four tees at each hole to meet the needs of golfers of all levels of skill and physical strength.

Lining the par-70 course will be 1,000 housing units constructed by several area builders. Town homes, single-family homes and carriage homes (designed for senior citizens with the master bedroom on the first level) will offer community members maximum accessibility to the course.

Conceived over two decades ago by Stephen W. Duckett, owner and resident of the estate formerly owned by the Johns Hopkins family, the course will be a private facility available to anyone who wishes to join -- whether they buy into the community of Walden ornot.

The course is an original Robert Trent Jones design with modifications by Lindsay Ervin, a local golf course architect whose accomplishments include Hog Neck Golf Club in Easton and the recently opened Old South course in Lothian.

It will house a practice range, full-service clubhouse, banquet facilities, locker rooms and pro shop.

"It's going to be an upscale golf course with first-class accommodations, and we're gearing it toward the serious golfer," said Jakovics. "It's going to be a traditional approach to the serious-minded golfer. As long as they are willing to improve and they want to play the game the way it was set up by the old Scotsmen, they're welcome."

Jakovics and his promotions crew is marketing the course as "Golf'sOwn Camelot," with the promise of providing golfers with the "ultimate lifestyle in country club living."

"We're going to run the course like a cruise ship on land," said Jakovics, who turned pro in Julyof 1957. "We're going to supply the members with constant recreation, instruction and a competitive schedule."

Inscribed on the tailgate of Jakovics' company vehicle is the somewhat perplexing phrase, "Perfection through Consistent Persistence that leads to Excellence andfinally to Perfection."

The 54-year-old golf pro said he adopted the motto 10 years ago as a teacher of the game and says it is something that applies in all of his endeavors -- Walden Golf Club notwithstanding.

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