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Baltimore CC East Course looks back to look ahead


Baltimore Country Club has reopened its East Course, and two words that come to mind in reflecting on this accomplishment are pride and motivation.

Although formal ceremonies Friday had to be canceled because of the rainy weather, pride and motivation are evident in the work done by Tom Hurst, chairman of the club's golf committee; golf professional Brian Morrison and club member Ted McGinity, who took care of the horticultural work to improve the aesthetic beauty of the Five Farms course.

It was evident in the behind-the-scenes work by club manager Paul Spellman, responsible for coordinating the different facets of club life.

Most important, however, was the job done by new club superintendent Douglas Petersan and his staff. Motivation played an especially important part here, for without the superintendent's ability to get his staff on his side, to have them work with him, completion of the project would have been difficult.

Last year, with the course closed because of a greens restoration program, and working from the original plans of architect Albert W. Tillinghast, Hurst and Petersan were able to implement a program for returning the surfaces to the way they )) were when the course was built in the mid-1920s.

Most noticeable are greens that are, overall, about 20 percent larger than their immediate predecessors. The slopes are still the same, but mounding and bunkers have been brought into play that were not factors before.

For years, one of the things that gave the East Course character was its high-speed putting surfaces. Although of medium speed at the moment, this figures to improve dramatically as the new grass continues to grow in.

Petersan, a superintendent for nearly 30 years, had been through all this before during a 12-year tenure at Prairie Dunes CC in Hutchinson, Kan.

"The same company did both jobs," Petersan said of the fumigation process that preceded the putting down of new bent grass greens. "Here, the club had explored the situation and decided to do it before I started full-time in October

"One thing is certain; sunlight is necessary to grow grass. In some instances, there was a problem with air circulation that could only be corrected by taking out some trees and opening the greens to sunlight.

"We probably removed 50-60 trees, but we put in about 125, and cleared out some of the areas. It did not affect the playability of the course, and it added to the aesthetic beauty.

"The thing that pleases me most is, architecturally, the greens are the way they looked in the beginning. We turned over three and a half inches of soil and aerated nine inches deep three times to try and penetrate 70 years of layers," Petersan said.

Hurst was tireless in his efforts to see the job done properly and the original design restored. "I believe the real erosion of the greens, reducing them to small circles, occurred during World War II when the course was inactive for three years. Tillinghast did not have small, oval greens. They were big, with mounds and contours."

"When you have a masterpiece that, for one reason or another, does not come up to expectations, you have to do something about it," Hurst said. "This is just the beginning for this course. We have a master plan that will incorporate other programs to complete the picture."


This week's schedule: Tomorrow--MAPGA Pro-Am, Wicomico Shores, 8 a.m. Tuesday--Women's Golf Association, Sparrows Point CC, 9 a.m.; Golf Course Superintendent-Pro championship, Queenstown Harbor, noon. Wednesday--MAPGA Pro-Am, Shenandoah Valley GC, 8 a.m. Thursday through Sunday--Mazda LPGA Championship, Bethesda CC, 7:30 a.m. Friday--MAPGA Pro-Am, Bowie G&CC;, 8 a.m.; Women's Golf Association team matches, various sites, 9 a.m.; Middle Atlantic Golf Association Seniors Fourball, Kenwood CC, 9 a.m.

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