Caves Valley tees off to good reviews


In yesterday's editions, the positions of Les Disharoon and Andre Brewster at Caves Valley Golf Club were reported incorrectly. Mr. Disharoon is president of the club, and Mr. Brewster is secretary. Also, golfer Danny Yates' first anme was incorrect, and the correct par for the course is 71.

The Sun regrets the errors.

It was a beautiful day to play a few hours of golf. And yesterday, after the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the 900-acre Caves Valley Golf Club in northwest Baltimore County, four of the nation's top amateur golfers did just that -- playing an 18-hole better-ball medal-play exhibition match.

In the first Chesapeake Cup, Jay Sigel and Fred Ridley tied Vinnie Giles and Charles Yates with par 68.

"We had a marvelous day, marvelous weather, a marvelous tournament and four wonderful guys that came from around the United States to open a golf course," said co-owner Les Disharoon, retired president of Monumental Life Insurance Co. "It couldn't have been any better."

Sigel, who has won two U.S. Amateur and three British Masters Amateur championships and made 11 Masters appearances, said: "The golf course is terrific. It's in great shape. It's a beautiful piece of ground designed by the best golf architect [Tom Fazio]."

Fazio has designed about 135 other courses and did architectural work at Augusta National, whose design other builders try to emulate.

"I call that the Augusta National Syndrome of building great golf around the country," he said. "A lot of people like to pattern themselves on that quality that has been produced there, and it's been very positive.

"The only thing that we are waiting for is a little bit more maturity on our outside perimeter areas because we've had this drought through spring and early summer, so we have some brown areas. But we're really set to go. Golf has changed so much in the last 10 to 15 years.

"It used to take a long time for a course to mature. We've sodded most of this golf course. We did it for erosion control to prevent erosion from going down the streams to the creeks, but it also gave us an immediate maturity factor for the golf course."

Owners Disharoon and Andre Brewster, an ex-managing partner Piper & Marbury law firm, received money from 21 local businesses to help pay for the $40 million project.

Membership prices are $75,000 for a corporate membership, $40,000 for a local golfer, $25,000 for those living within 40 to 75 miles of Baltimore and $10,000 for those who live farther away. Annual dues cost $1,200 to $2,800.

"From the price standpoint, I know the program for the club is for a business type of player," said Fazio. "This price of this land, the cost of construction, the net that it took to construct this golf course, all creates tremendous financial commitment."

Disharoon said: "We'd like to work toward having a Walker Cup [for top amateur players] here, a U.S. Amateur, a Mid-Amateur, and we'd certainly like to have one of the major women's amateur tournaments here and ultimately, the U.S. Open."

Sigel said he doesn't think it will take long to reach that goal.

"It doesn't have the length of some of the golf courses I've played on, but I think that's because of the newness," he said. "As the ground settles and you get more grass, it will soften up and the course will play a little longer, which will make it a little tougher."

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