Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Par 3 for The Course?

Sadly, it doesn't look like the county is going to keep operating our poor little Sligo Creek Golf Course after this year. Many are holding out hope, putting up websites and starting Facebook groups in support of the course.

Meanwhile, all sorts of folks are coming out of the woodwork with grandiose ideas for alternative uses for the space. The Frisbee golf proposal previously mentioned here is apparently still in the mix, but who knows if anyone of import within the County is taking that one seriously.

Montgomery Soccer, which apparently has a lot more money than the county, wants to build a multi-million dollar soccer facility in the space, construction of which will no doubt be funded in part with our tax dollars. Didn't like the idea of traffic for a driving range, golf course neighbors? Just imagine what a soccer tournament would look like. Minivans as far as the eye could see. Personally, I think this is a crap idea, since quite frankly I don't get any benefit from it. Who does? Little kids who don't even pay any goddamn property taxes, that's who. Have them play on the muddy field across the street and let us adults have something of our own.

Now, I don't fancy myself a John Daly or anything, and my golf experience doesn't extend far beyond driving ranges and mini-golf. However, I can see myself picking the game up someday, and the Sligo Creek Golf Course Location is really convenient to my house.

Perhaps there is some way to preserve the space as a golf course without incurring the full weight of the financial burden the county claims they can't presently shoulder. I know - make it a par 3 golf course!

What's a par 3 course?

From the Encyclop├Ždia Britannica:

Par-three golf courses, on which each hole measures 100 yards (90 metres) more or less and plays at par three, were developed as a result of the shortage of available open land in congested urban areas. Whereas a regulation 18-hole course may stretch to more than 7,000 yards, about 4 miles (6.4 km), an 18-hole par-three, or short-hole, course can be laid out in about 1,800 yards (1.6 km).
Why a par 3 course? Here's a few benefits:

- More accessible than a proper course to people that suck at golf. Namely, me.
- Less maintenance, presumably, as there will be fewer fairways to mow.
- More people can play at any time - the present nine holes could be expanded to many more par 3 holes.

Here's an article that more fully details the benefits of a par 3 course.

I've passed plenty of par 3 courses located in fairly dense urban settings, though not in the D.C. metro area. As best as I can tell, the closest course of this type to here is way up in Gambrills. I don't see why the county couldn't support a par 3 course, maintenance costs for which would be partially covered by revenue from fees, snacks, and a pro shop. (Also - mini golf???) I mean, Compton has one, for goodness sake. Are you telling me that they can support a golf course of this nature, but MoCo, one of America's richest counties, can't?

I wonder where a par 3 course falls under the onerous agreement that the county has with the Revenue Authority. Would it really be considered as competition to one of the Authority's 18-hole courses?


Anonymous said...

It's a good idea! But I predict the Revenue Authority will oppose anything resembling golf, after losing out on their concept. It was their way or the highway for our golf course.

Anonymous said...

A par 3 with windmills makes mini-golf.

I hope that the county either sells it to a housing developer who puts in all "affordable" units or to the soccer-plex group just to screw over the people who cheated me out of putt-putt

Thayer Avenue said...

Sligo should stay the course that it is. I know there's really no chance of that, but losing those nine holes is a real shame and a loss for the community.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the neighbors will reconsider the driving range option now. The course is also convenient to my house and I have played there a few times. When I heard that they were thinking about putting up a driving range, I thought it was a great idea. You could even have it open at night by putting it next to the beltway. The lights would not add much (if any) to the noise and light pollution that the beltway already produces. Par 3 with driving range and golf lessons. Makes perfect sense because beginners would only really want to be on a par 3 course anyway.

Anonymous said...

Sligo is a great little course. I know several people from other areas who drive in to play it. Losing it will be a major blow to the community.

The driving range proposal included a separate par 3 course, along with a learning facility for youth & beginners and room for putt-putt. If we truly do have to lose the existing course, RA's proposal was the next best thing, imo.

I will chuckle if the nimby neighbors wind up with even more lights and traffic from a soccer complex than they would have had with the driving range and par 3 course.

I think the closest par 3 to SS is at Needwood, about 12 miles from Sligo.

Anonymous said...

Relax, it's just good, old-fashioned political blackmail.

Don't want a big driving range? Then buy a roach coach and sell empanadas and tacos to the masses of people coming to watch soccer matches on one of 4 synthetic fields or 2 natural grass ones.

Me? I'll be hawking dart boards with the faces of the politicians behind this.

Bowie Mike said...

I heard a short story on WTOP yesterday regarding the closing of the golf course. In typical WTOP fashion, the story was short and very high level, and they didn't discuss why they were closing it. They had a couple of sound bites from golfers who didn't realize it was closing. I think they might have mentioned a meeting today to discuss options for the property. I didn't see anything on the WTOP web site.

Former 20902 resident,