Town hall meeting held to discuss future of Fort Meade golf course

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md., (June 9, 2011) - Fort Meade installation commander, Colonel Daniel L. Thomas, hosted a town hall meeting for club members and patrons to present future plans and answer questions about The Courses, the golf course on the installation.

Thomas told those in attendance, that even though construction claimed a quarter of the golf course property, the current golf course, which includes 27 holes, a club house and pro shop, remains open for play until at least March 2012.

“It’s a course and you can continue to play,” Thomas said. “Beyond March, the future depends on the timeline of additional construction planed for the area.”

Thomas also told the nearly 50 attendees that plans to build a new golf course through the Enhance Use Lease agreement with Trammel Crow could be finalized soon.

“We are closer than ever to finalizing the EUL agreement,” Thomas said. “We hope to have it done by August of this year,”

If finalized the EUL deal will pave the way for the design and development of a new 18-hole course near the intersections of MD Hwy 32 and Route 175 on 170-acres. The facility will also include a club house and driving range.

“In this financial climate, funding through a Congressional Appropriation, MILCON route simply isn’t likely. The EUL is the best course of action to get this done in a constrained financial environment, and we’re almost there,” Thomas said.

Uncertainty over the status of the golf course sparked a reduction in patronage over past couple of years. Membership fell by 63 percent from 735 to 352 this year. Profits from the golf course fund child care programs, wellness programs and other services usually supported through tax dollars.

“When the golf course makes money, we invest those dollars to improve those services,” Thomas said.

The current Courses, once a 36- hole golf course which occupied a prime location at the center of the installation, was greatly reduced in size when the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Media Activities constructed new headquarters buildings as part of their Base Realignment and Closure moves. While this construction consumed only a quarter of the course, the impact was greater financially, making the long-term outlook for the current 27 hole course in doubt.

“Regardless of any future construction on the remaining course, it looks like we eventually need a new course built if we want to stay financially viable. That is what we are trying to achieve, and we would like to achieve it before any new construction occurs.”

Eventually, Thomas says additional construction is slated to consume the rest of the current course.

“We know planned construction will take over the rest of the property. What isn’t known is when that construction is slated to begin.”

In the meantime, eligible golfers are encouraged to play the remaining 27 holes.

“If you’re an eligible patron, you can’t find a more affordable game of golf anywhere in this area,” Thomas said.

Those eligible to play The Courses include active duty military, military retirees and their families, National Guard and Reserve members, Department of Defense civilians and retired DoD civilians from the Military District of Washington, and veterans with proof of honorary discharge. Non-eligible patrons are allowed to play as guests of eligible patrons.

Page last updated Thu June 9th, 2011 at 11:28