Paint Branch Golfers Fight to Save Their Course
By: Pierce Panagakos
On September 24th, residents of the city of College Park and golfers met outside the Paint Branch Golf Course to protest the county and university’s plan to demolish the driving range.
In May, Prince George’s County met to discuss the University of Maryland’s proposal to build a track & field stadium where the Paint Branch golf course currently stands. The construction of this stadium would require the demolition of the driving range and the reduction of the course from nine holes to three holes.
Dr. Keith Strong, who has spearheaded the initiative to save Paint Branch Golf Course, discussed his concerns with the county and university’s plans, “It’s not just a place to practice your golf game; this is a place to learn your golf game… when new people come to play the game, they don’t get depressed by running up 10-15 strokes per hole.”
Beyond the course being a good place to learn the game, Dr. Strong also discussed how nearby residents would be affected by noise pollution if a track & field stadium were to be built. “The residents of Autoville Drive… just above the course don’t mind the driving range here… when you have a stadium with 1,500 people you’re going to have a degradation of your quality of life and your property values,” he said.
Julie Cooney, a resident of Autoville Drive, discussed how she has been going door to door to try and gather signatures for a petition. “If they put this track & field stadium here it’s going to cause so much noise pollution here… I can already hear the golf balls…if there were games held here it’s going to be terrible,” Cooney said.
Jerome Shelton, a resident of D.C. who often plays at Paint Branch, discussed what losing the course would mean to him, “It would end my golf career, because I technically would not be able to pay $40-$60 three times a week to play golf… I wouldn’t be able to play three times a week.”
Shelton also discussed the friends he’s made at Paint Branch. “These people, we play with each other every year, we lose people along the way, we gain people along the way, but this is our social life, this is our country club.”