Despite the pressures of a recession, plans to build three new golf courses in Carroll County remain alive.
Sites for the proposed 18-hole facilities are in Hampstead, Finksburg and Mount Airy.
One of them, Oakmont Green in Hampstead, already is under construction and scheduled to open this year. The other two remain on the drawing boards with anticipation of breaking ground at any time.
"We'll definitely open this season, perhaps as early as Memorial Day," said Jim Matthews of Oakmont Green. "Everything has been fully graded and seeded. What's more, the open winter has been helpful to our progress."
The 6,400-yard Oakmont Green layout, a product of O'Conor, Piper and Flynn Realtors, will be open to the public. The property includes 250 acres for homesites and 154 acres for the golf course. So far, 15 of 91 lots have been sold.
Financing for Oakmont Green wasmade possible through 72 investors. The course is located off Route 30, across from North Carroll Plaza. Newly built Eagleridge Road leads to the course, which is near the new North Carroll Library.
Leland Snyder is in charge of the golf course end of the operation. He also operates a course in Hanover, Pa. Design of the course is a modification of architectural plans originally submitted by the late Eddie Ault. The firm of Morris and Ritchie are engineers for Oakmont Green.
River Downs is the proposed course in Finksburg, located at Route91 and Lawndale Road.
Sites for 127 homes have been set aside on the 500-acre parcel.
"We're still plodding forward," said Dick Moore, president of the Gaylord Brooks Realty Co. "It's just a case of getting everything in line before we're ready to start."
Nationallyknown golf architect Arthur Hills of Toledo, Ohio, has been selectedto design the 18-hole daily fee River Downs course.
Golf Digest magazine recently honored Hills with architectural awards in two of five categories -- best new private course at the Golf Club of Georgia and best new public course at Harbour Pointe in Seattle.
Hills wasguest speaker at the Maryland State Golf Association's dinner meeting at Baltimore Country Club this winter.
The Kettler Brothers Realtors of Bethesda, Montgomery County, plan to make Challadon its fourth venture into golf course construction.
Land developer Steve Fritz said the firm built the Montgomery Village course in Montgomery County, Cove Creek on the Eastern Shore and Hidden Valley in Pennsylvania. The company's latest effort is located at Route 27 and Gillis Falls Road near Mount Airy.
"We're in a valid pursuit of completing plans for Challadon," said Fritz.
The club is expected to be a semiprivate operation.
More than 50 members of Piney Branch Country Club will make golfing jaunts to links meccas in the South next month.
Two groups of 20 each will compete at the Mid-Pines course in Pinehurst, N.C. Included will be Jeff Zachman, head professional at Piney Branch.
Another wave of 16 will depart Piney Branch for golf at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Don Richardson and George Myers once again will serve as president and vice president, respectively, for thenew golf season at Piney Branch. Betty Noland is in charge of women's golf, and Bob Fishpaugh is chairman of the men's committee.
Overthe winter months, Zachman's pro staff has completely redecorated the golf shop.