Clustered Spires course fulfills Frederick's dream

GOLF NOTEBOOK

April 26, 1992|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

A 1989 dream became a 1992 reality Friday with the grand opening of Clustered Spires Golf Course, a municipal facility on the outskirts of Frederick.

The historical significance of the occasion was not lost on the assembly, as the city has ties to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and "the clustered spires of Fredericktown" were immortalized in John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, "Barbara Fritchie."

In addition, the course lies next to the Monocacy River, which has been declared a "scenic river," and, as such, required environmental sensitivity on the part of the architects, Ault, Clark and Associates, and the builder, First Golf Corporation, of Denver.

The fact that effluent would be pumped onto the golf course rather than into the river helped ease discussions with the environmentalists.

The land, some 200 acres, was donated by the Neil Jenkins family, and building costs are expected to be absorbed through course revenues. Ron Young and Paul Gordon, the former and current mayors, respectively, were determined that there be no bond issue, no cost to the city. Instead, the city will own it through a municipal lease purchase.

"The golfers are buying themselves a golf course," says Don Barnett, an officer with First Golf.

Although the company has built 95 courses over the past 30 years, it only recently became involved with combining financing with building, and this is its third such project. The others are Eagle's Landing in Ocean City and a planned course for Somerset County in Princess Anne.

Clustered Spires, which has three sets of tees and may be played from 5,230 yards to 6,769 yards, with a par of 72, is generally open, with four holes -- two on each nine -- along the river. Four ponds will help provide irrigation.

For the players, the layout places a premium on second shots to well-guarded greens.

Fran Rhoads, a former assistant at Holly Hills, is the head professional, and Tom Crutchley the course superintendent.

*

No change: Success has not spoiled Meg Mallon.

Not that anyone thought it would, but the newest LPGA star was her natural self -- big smile and genuine enthusiasm -- during a visit to Bethesda Country Club last week.

"There was no way winning those two majors [LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open] last year could change my personality," she said. "I'm the youngest of six children and my family keeps me in my place."

Mallon, who turned 29 two weeks ago, may have the mental under control, but her lifestyle has changed considerably from a year ago when she was a non-winner and a virtual unknown.

Four titles and some $633,000 later, Mallon was in demand for luncheons, dinners, awards, appearances, exhibitions and a host other things in such places as Australia, Japan, Hawaii, California, and New York.

"The surroundings have changed, and there are responsibilities that go with winning. However, I think I have been able to step back and not get caught up in all the distractions," she said.

Although Mallon has not won in 1992, she has been in position to do so on several occasions. Since missing the cut in defense of her Oldsmobile title in January, the six-year pro has made seven starts with five top 10 finishes, including a second at the Dinah Shore.

One reason she has earned $191,000, eighth on the money list, is her last-day work. In her seven completed events, Mallon has a final-round stroke average of 68.8.

Was she aware of it? "I certainly am," she said. "By the time you get to Sunday, you will have played the course two or three times in competition and you have confidence in yourself. For me, it becomes 'attack.' All I think about is making birdies."

Don't expect her to change. As she expressed it, "I was a happy person before all this happened and I intend to stay that way."

*

This week's schedule: Tomorrow--Middle Atlantic PGA pro-am, Rolling Road GC, 8 a.m. Thursday--Middle Atlantic PGA pro-partner, Shenandoah Valley GC, 8 a.m. Friday--Women's Golf Association team matches, various sites, 9 a.m.

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