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The historic golf course that has served as the centerpiece of Fort Meade since 1950 is scheduled to close May 1.

The date of closing was moved forward to accommodate deadlines associated with major construction projects, which will occupy the land. Closure of the remaining 27 holes was anticipated but not expected until September.

Garrison officials are aware that members and daily golfers on the Courses will miss an opportunity to enjoy one last season of play.

"I know the golf course will be missed," Garrison Commander Edward C. Rothstein said. "It has served me along with the entire Team Meade community, helping our service members, civilian workers, retirees and families balance work and life activities.

"The loss of the golf course is an emotional issue. However, the decision to support national security, DoD priorities and our partners is not difficult."

Rothstein will host the final Commander's Cup Golf Tournament at the historic course on April 29.

Originally a 36-hole golf course with a driving range, putting green and club house, the Courses lost nine holes and its driving range due to the Base Realignment and Closure expansion when the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Media Activity headquarters buildings were constructed, leaving 27 playable holes.

Patronage of the remaining 27 holes drew more than 35,000 rounds of play last year including golfers who participated in 41 tournaments held at the course.

"We are in negotiation with golf courses in neighboring counties in the hopes that we can work out reciprocal agreements for our remaining golf club members," said Scott Myers, chief of business operations for Fort Meade's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, which runs the golf course.

Currently, 33 employees work at the golf course. Of those, 15 are seasonal workers who only work during the summer months. Myers said every effort is being made to place the groundskeepers, golf pros, catering managers and others into jobs either with the installation, or to help them find positions at golf courses off post.

The Courses' Clubhouse will remain open and serve as a meeting and catering location, allowing some staff to keep their current jobs running those facilities.

Hopes of replacing the golf course through various financing methods continue to be explored, but shrinking defense budgets and fiscal realities are making the possibility of a new course look more remote.

"We aren't giving up," Rothstein said. "There are a lot of creative thinkers working toward the goal of moving this course to a location that has already been selected. That said, I want you to know that Meade is aggressively continuing efforts to find an alternative resolution to meet our community golfing requirements.

Rothstein said garrison staff is aiming its efforts toward a long-term solution.

"Nothing is off the table," he said. "From building a new golf course on another location on post to possibly purchasing a local golf course, we're exploring many alternatives. In the short term, we are working to establish reciprocal agreements with county golf courses."

Fees from the golf course help fund repairs and improvements to buildings on the installation, such as child care and child development centers as well as service member and youth sports facilities.

Replacing the golf course is an important part of installation efforts to provide quality services to service members and their families without drawing on tax payer dollars for support.

The Courses at Fort Meade were actually two separate 18-hole golf courses. The Applewood course, designed by architect Maj. Robert B. McClure, opened in 1950. George Cobb, a recognized golf course architect who designed more than 80 courses nationwide, designed The Parks course, which opened in 1956.

Every Fort Meade garrison commander since the opening of the Courses has hosted events on the course, which over the years has entertained such famous players as President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lt. Gen. Floyd Parks.

Editor's note: For more information, call Mary Doyle in the Fort Meade Public Affairs Office at 301-677-5592 or email mary.l.doyle14.civ@mail.mil, or visit www.ftmeade.army.mil and click on environmental.

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