Plans for 1st golf learning center on hold Agency gets continuance

hearing to be rescheduled

February 23, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

The possibility of the state's first golf learning center moving from the drawing board to reality was to have faced a major point in the process this week when representatives of the MacKenzie Investment Corporation were scheduled to appear before a Baltimore County hearing officer.

Last week, however, Clark F. MacKenzie, president of the investment corporation, was notified that the Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management had asked for, and received, a continuance. The hearing will be rescheduled for a later date.

The hearing, when held, will focus on the development plans for the Maryland Golf Academy, listed for 144 acres off Dulaney Valley Road. The property is roughly bounded by Towson Golf and Country Club (Eagle's Nest), Peerce's Plantation restaurant, and the old Cloverland Dairy farm.

Plans call for a nine-hole executive course (three sets of tees, 1845-2130 yards, par 31) designed by Lindsay Ervin, a noted area architect who has Hog Neck GC, Queenstown Harbor GL and South River GL to his credit. This would be the centerpiece of a year-round public playing/teaching facility that would include natural turf as well as artificial turf practice areas.

Additionally, there would be a cluster of four or five one-story buildings situated back from the road, to house a golf shop, teaching center with PGA professionals, locker room, and, eventually, a golf museum. Memberships, with accompanying privileges, would be available.

"It's 180 degrees from what you think of as a commercial driving range -- there's nothing like it in the area," MacKenzie said last week. "This will be something consistent with the aura and history of the game, with proper dress and etiquette required.

"I see this as providing much-needed interacting programs ideally suited to beginners, juniors, seniors, schools and colleges, and the physically disadvantaged. I had been aware of other learning centers and teaching outlets, and it just seemed to fit my idea of something I wanted to do."

MacKenzie, whose grandfather built Oakmont CC in suburban Pittsburgh, and whose father built Foxfire G&CC in Pinehurst, N.C., added, "I didn't want to build a golf course, but I did want to do something. I guess it's in my blood."

The process of finding a proper, available site took more than two years, but once accomplished, steps were taken to begin working through the legal details, as well as meeting with existing community residents. Concerns about lighting and traffic that have been expressed in the past, are expected to be voiced at the hearing.

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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