Sunday, March 02, 2008

Course evaluation committee leads to positive changes

Golfers can be an opinionated bunch. We have many thoughts on what could make a course better, and that definitely includes me. But Fred Butler's opinion carries a little more weight than my own.

Butler, who sits on the board of the men's club at Metro, is the newest member of the Metropolitan Golf Links Course Evaluation Committee. The committee is a group of golfers, Metro Diplomats, and course management personnel who get together about once a month to play the course and then evaluate what they just experienced.

Butler generally likes what he sees.

"Metro provides a challenge, especially when the wind blows, but the course is not tricked out like many," he said. Butler praises the course for its drainage, accessibility and affordability, but says the bunkers and bird situation need improvement.

The committee rates the course on 23 criteria, including:

-Cart paths
-Entrance and parking lots
-Clubhouse and grounds
-Food and beverage service
-Driving range
-Golf carts
-Pace of play

Each area is ranked on a 5-point system, with a 5 being excellent, and a 1 being poor. Metro's practice greens and golf carts scored highest on a recent report, each garnering a near-perfect 4.6. The lowest score, still a "standard" at 3.2, was the fairways. Thirteen of 23 criteria received scores of 4 or better. The remaining 9 areas received ratings between 3 and 4.

The committee has suggested Metro should dispatch its course volunteers to fill more fairway divots with sand and sand and improve its bird reduction program. And indeed, Metro is taking action. General Manager Darryl Davis recently led a group of diplomats on a sand and seed detail; Metro is working with Waste Management to disperse the gull population; and superintendent Gary Ingram has installed some temporary fencing to address the problem with those little black birds known as "coots."

I'd be happy to pass along your thoughts on Metro. Send me a message at jongordon(at)gmail