Helping a charity sends golfers through hallways

February 08, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Rob Cameron was so into the golf tournament that he took along a full bag of clubs, driver and all.

That wouldn't be so unusual, except this was miniature golf. Indoors. In a hotel.

"I'm here to win," said Mr. Cameron, a Severn resident who won the charity tournament last year. "I've used the sand wedge already. I knew everyone would be out to get me this year."

More than 120 people paid $55 each Saturday to putt down hallways, through rooms, around video games, down stairs and into elevators to raise money for the county's Take Back the Street community policing program.

Held in the Comfort Inn in Linthicum, the second annual charity tournament was sponsored by the Glen Burnie Rotary Club.

"It's different," said club President Ed DeGrange, adding he expected to raise $5,000.

"It's fun. Anyone can do it. You don't have to be a golfer," he said. Which was obvious watching some of the participants.

Some holes were relatively easy. Others, such as the par-4 18th, had sand traps, pipes and cinder blocks to negotiate.

Roy Streib, who owns an engineering firm, designed the hole, which probably drew the most profanity all night.

"They told me to make it hard," Mr. Streib explained.

"I was having fun until I got to this hole," groused Ruth Ann Gary, wife of Del. John G. Gary, a Millersville Republican.

On one hole, people had to putt into an elevator on the main level of the hotel and putt out on the second floor.

Another took players through a bathroom, another through a suite of rooms -- where players waiting to tee off relaxed on the bed with a drink and watched a basketball game.

Another hole forced participants to hit their golf balls down a back staircase, causing some wild and dangerous bounces on the concrete.

As the drinks flowed, the scoring got looser. "I've had three drinks and I've played four holes," said Al Pietsch of Glen Burnie. "I'm one under."

Jokes aside, money raised will go to a good cause. County police officers started their program in Freetown Villag and turned a drug problem around. They now plan to expand into Pioneer City and Meade Village by assigning officers specifically to those areas.

Besides making arrests, the officers work with children and families, helping with homework, taking kids to ballgames and being role models.

"This tournament is a lot of fun," said county Police Chief Robert R. Russell. "Plus, we get a few of the dollars."

Chief Russell, who even got a hole in one, had just come from playing outdoor golf at the Crofton Country Club. He and his partners had to quit when it started to snow.

"We were on the sixth hole and it really started snowing hard," the chief said.

"We were putting and our golf balls turned into snow balls. That's when we quit. This is a much more comfortable round," he said.

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