Diamond Ridge II not just a dream now

February 08, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

Under a banner celebrating the 25th anniversary of Diamond Ridge Golf Course, Baltimore County officials yesterday ushered in a new era for golf in the county.

In a ceremony billed as "Golf Day in Baltimore County," the government officials announced plans for a new public course, recognized the head professionals of the three county courses and discussed national awards for two of the county's courses.

Although there has been talk of another public facility for several years, Wayne Harman, director of recreation and parks, made Diamond Ridge II official, announcing that Lindsay Ervin of Crofton will be the architect for the 18-hole layout on county-owned land next to the current Woodlawn course. Earlier Ervin efforts include Hog Neck and Queenstown Harbor on the Eastern Shore.

The land for the course was purchased in 1991, and the formal proposal was put together within the past year. With about 200 acres available, yardage will range from 5,000 to 7,000, a length that should cover all levels of play. Feasibility studies and routing are still to be determined, but groundbreaking is expected by fall and a spring 1996 opening is planned.

Professionals Frank Invernizzi of Diamond Ridge, Frank Laber of Longview and John Lazzell of Rocky Point were honored for their service. Harman noted that Diamond Ridge and Rocky Point had been honored with Exemplary Steward awards by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America for "outstanding" environmental management.

Part of the "new era" concerns golf course operations, as the professionals will now be salaried, compared to a previous financial involvement with carts, concessions, and shop merchandise. Under the new system, the county will deposit all fees collected from the courses in an enterprise account, which will be used solely for course improvements.

In brief remarks, County Executive Roger B. Hayden expressed pleasure with Diamond Ridge II, adding, "To have the first major expansion of our golf facilities in 25 years come at no expense to the taxpayers is real proof of how efficiently we run these courses.

"Golf is a great asset for the county, because it provides opportunity to enjoy the open space and exercise, while helping the economy."

Referring to the previous financial arrangements with the courses, he added, "My worry was where the money was coming from over and against providing services. As far as golf was concerned, Wayne was there to give me a nudge, reminding me about golf."

Harman pointed out that his office has identified 70,000 golfers in all age groups living in Baltimore County -- Hayden admitted he wasn't one of them -- and last year each of the three courses ZTC averaged about 65,000 rounds.

The course earned $2 million in gross revenues, and with more golfers projected for 1994, along with increased fees, revenue is expected to top $3.8 million.

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