Greystone, a golf course project that has been more than five years getting to the construction stage, is a study in tenacity.
Architect Joe Lee used the word last week during formal turning-the-first-shovelful-of-dirt ceremonies. Actual construction of the northern Baltimore County course started eight weeks ago and the first four holes have been cleared and roughed, with shaping next on the agenda.
It was a great day for the original investors who are still involved and who persevered over the years to see a dream come true.
"Over this time, peoples' lives have changed, and our philosophy has changed," Don Airey, club president, said. "We have gone from a private to an upscale public facility for that's where the need is.
"We want to give people the experience of country club golf for a day. Everything will be well-maintained, there will be a dress code, and we will have a facility in which the players will take pride."
Lee is ecstatic about the 350-acre property. The location is east of Interstate 83 on White Hall Road, 20 minutes north of Hunt Valley.
"This property is magnificent, and there will be no [real estate] development," said Lee, who has more than 300 courses to his credit, including Winston Trails, a Palm Beach, Fla., club that is under consideration by Golf Digest for its best new public course for 1993.
"We'll be able to work with the contours and not 'force' the land to make room for houses. There will be little editorializing of what the Lord put there."
The work will be done in phases because of environmental considerations, with completion expected by late summer next year. When done, Greystone will play to 6,450 yards from the middle tees, and, as Lee says, "We can take it as far back as we want."
Joining Airy as investors are Ray Daue and Carol Green, vice presidents, and Alf Wood, chairman of the board, and such was the reception on the part of Golfmasters, Inc., the builders, that R. S. "Butch" Futch, president, and Steve Newgent, vice-president, have come in as equity partners.
Lee confessed he had thought about horse country as a place he'd like to put a golf course, and knew he had it upon seeing the property for the first time when the project was in its formative stage.
After Lee was hooked on the property, he hooked Newgent, from Ocala, Fla., who has built about 100 courses, at least half of them with the Florida-based architect.
One of the key things here has been the co-operation of the investors. They told me to let my pencil take me to the best points on the property, and that's not usual. Often, something has to be changed.
"Having been put in a favorable design circumstance, I believe this will be one of our finest. And I see such public courses as a growing trend."
Newgent is equally enthusiastic. "Actually, I don't see any problems with this one. The land is easy to work with and you don't find that very often in Florida. Joe used the rolling terrain to its fullest and the holes just lay in there perfectly."
A month of tours
Defending champion Ayako Okamoto heads the LPGA field in the $900,000 McDonald's championship at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del., Thursday-Sunday; Danielle Ammaccapane will be the Lady Keystone Open defender next week at Hershey, Pa.; and the Kemper Open, with Bill Glasson the defending titlist, will be at TPC-Avenel in Potomac next week.
This week's schedule
Tomorrow: Middle Atlantic Golf Association Senior Fourball championship, Bonnie View CC, 9 a.m.; Middle Atlantic PGA pro-am, Wicomico Shores, 8 a.m. Tuesday: Women's Golf Association at Hobbit's Glen GC and Sparrows Point CC, 9 a.m.; Mid-Atlantic Superintendent-Pro championship, Westwood CC, noon. Wednesday: Kemper Open member qualifying, Shenandoah Valley CC, 8 a.m.; Thursday: Kemper Open open qualifying, Shenandoah Valley CC, 8 a.m. Friday: Women's Golf Association team matches, various sites, 9 a.m.
What: LPGA McDonald's Championship
Where: duPont CC, Wilmington, Del.
Purse: $900,000; First place $135,000
,'Defending champion: Ayako Okamoto