Construction to begin in March on driving range along U.S. 1 7/8

February 07, 1993|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

A Harford businessman unveiled plans recently to build a golf driving range on the east side of U.S. 1 between Reckord Road and the Little Gunpowder Falls.

Construction of the 275- by 150-yard range will begin next month, according to Fred Kern, who, along with Baltimore businessmen Alex Sotir and John Highfield, formed Golf America Inc. and leased 13 acres of the 30-acre site for the venture.

"It's taken us 2 1/2 years just to get to this point," said Mr. Kern, a partner in the Harford County realty firm of Rice, Kern, Smith. "It took over a year to find suitable land for the project and then several more months to get proper zoning. We attained site plan approval near the end of last year."

Initial plans call for 44 to 50 tees, most equipped with artificial turf mats and a few on grass, a netted practice area, a putting green, a sand trap and an equipment shop. Because the project still is being planned, the final cost has not been determined.

Several of the driving tees will be covered to protect against inclement weather.

A teaching pro will be on hand to manage the range and give lessons. Eventually, other workers may be hired.

"We are currently negotiating with a pro to join us, but since all contracts have not been signed, we cannot announce his name," said Mr. Kern, a former University of Maryland football player who later coached at Calvert Hall, West Point and Maryland.

Mr. Kern said the lighted range will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. User fees have not been set.

Longer-range plans call for five to 10 baseball batting cages with pitching machines. "We are looking at equipment from several manufacturers across the country," Mr. Kern said.

Mr. Kern said he became interested in the driving range because many people had asked about the availability of land for such a project in the county.

Mr. Sotir, who once coached football at Gilman School and Johns Hopkins University, owns Sotir Construction Co. Inc. of Baltimore. Mr. Highfield, owns Benchmark Inc., a Baltimore consulting firm, and is vice president of the Maryland State Golf Association.

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