Golfer sues to block pull-cart ban Claims rule, fees affect some players

April 13, 1993

A local attorney filed a lawsuit in Baltimore Circuit Court yesterday seeking to overturn a new Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp. policy that bans pull carts on weekends and raises greens fees.

Thomas H. Clark, of Baltimore, filed the suit on his own behalf, asking for a restraining order against recent BMGC rules changes.

On April 3, BMGC chairman Henry H. Miller instituted a policy that prohibits the use of bag pull carts and battery-powered carts on weekends during daylight saving time at all five municipal courses. According to executive director Lynnie Cook, those changes were intended to speed up weekend play.

The new policy also requires the purchase of two greens fee tickets in advance with the purchase of a reserve weekend starting time. Clark's suit said that the change raised the cost of a reservation from approximately $5 to "in excess of $25, with no refund for basic inclement weather."

Clark, who said he was "very active" at the Mount Pleasant and Pine Ridge golf courses, twice wrote to Miller protesting the moves, and spoke with Cook as well.

"I looked at this as a public golfer," Clark said. "I looked at it as exclusive of certain categories of golfers on weekends. I viewed it as nothing more than a thinly veiled, revenue-enhancing project; thinly veiled to increase fast play.

"If you want to enjoy the facilities at Pine Ridge or Mount Pleasant, you either have to carry your bag or rent from them the ride cart. . . . There are many golfers who can't carry their bags around the course. There are many golfers who can't afford the extra $15 to $17 for a golf cart. There's nothing wrong with speeding up play, except when you exclude certain segments of the public."

Miller could not be reached for comment yesterday. Cook said the ban on pull carts was one of 10 items in the BMGC's "fair-play" policy. He said it was a management decision based on input from working professionals at all the courses.

"He's not the only one who complained," Cook said of Clark.

"A lot of people want to use the pull carts. But they represent maybe 2 percent of all the players. That's roughly 98 percent who either walk or ride a cart. Maybe it's as many as 4 percent [who use a pull cart].

"It's a management decision. It doesn't mean it's forever."

The other municipal courses are Forest, Carroll and Clifton parks.

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