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Here's golf's side of the story

Golf course construction and maintenance often is depicted in an unfavorable light by those concerned with the environment.

And a Paul Harvey syndicated radio broadcast about six weeks ago did nothing to help matters, according to an official of an area course superintendents' group.

"(Harvey's) statements were made without knowing both sides of the story," Jeff Hayden said. "He said golf courses shouldn't use such large amounts of pesticides, so there were no pros and cons. It was an all-negative report."

Harvey's comments didn't prompt the inaugural Envirotron Golf Classic scheduled for next Monday at World Woods north of Brooksville. The tournament already was planned, but the timing of the remarks have served to underscore the need for more public information.

That information soon will come through the Envirotron facility under construction in Gainesville and expected to open in the fall. It's a one-of-a-kind environmental research center dealing with turf grass and related matters such as control of insects, use of fertilizers, and application and after-effects of pesticides.

Hayden is vice president of the Seven Rivers Chapter of the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association, an organization with Citrus and Marion counties at its hub but taking in about 50 members from Gainesville to Pasco County. He and Seven Rivers Golf Course superintendent Stuart Bozeman are organizers of the unique tournament, which has 180 entrants for a four-man scramble over 27 holes beginning at 10:30 a.m.

"World Woods is donating use of their facility for the tournament. Without them, it couldn't be a success," Hayden said.

Bozeman said more than $15,000 to $20,000 should be generated from the fund-raiser. Each golfer has put up a $100 entry fee, and the money will go toward purchase of laboratory equipment at the research center.

"People out there don't really know what goes on on the golf course," Bozeman said. "We don't go around spraying toxic chemicals on birds, plants and into the water. That's not right and totally unnecessary.

"Superintendents now are much more sensitive to these issues than they were 20 years ago when there was no data available to show us what we were doing wrong."

Envirotron also develops new materials that are safer for the environment, answers questions on turf grass diseases, and works to develop a more drought-resistant grass requiring less water, Bozeman added.

Superintendents put together $375,000 to get Envirotron off the ground two years ago and the State of Florida provided matching funds, Hayden said.

"People fail to realize the impact of golf on Florida," Bozeman said. "They think this is just a Citrus-producing state, but Florida has more golf courses than any other state in the United States.

"People think of California or Texas (when the topic of golf comes up), but the revenue generated and number of people employed in the business here far exceeds the citrus industry. Golf is our livelihood and we won't do anything to endanger it."

Hernando clubs dominating men's league: It seems to have shaped up as a battle between east and west at the midway point in the first half of the Men's Suncoast Travel League season.

Sherman Hills in eastern Hernando County holds a narrow 47.5-47 point lead over Oak Hills in western Hernando County as the men's league prepares for another tournament today at Glen Lakes at 8:30 a.m.

An equally spirited battle for third place involves Plantation (40), LakeSide (38) and Glen Lakes (38), with Pine Ridge (36.5), Sugarmill Woods (35.5) and Citrus Hills (34.5) all bidding to move up in the standings.

Only Seville (24.5), Seven Hills (22.5) and Citrus Springs (22) are out of the race heading into the seventh week. But pride should spur on their golfers to avoid finishing in the cellar.

Travel league coordinator Jim Brennan said there's a possibility of getting a 12th team for the second half of the season, and that will depend on reaction among team captains who will be asked about it today. Brookridge Golf Club has expressed interest in joining the league and, if approved, would replace the Twisted Oaks team that dropped out.

Country connection drawn tight: The women's team from Seville will attempt to open up some daylight from a quartet of pursuers when the High Country Travel League holds a match this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at Sugarmill Woods.

Seville goes into the third match with 23 points. But Sugarmill Woods, Glen Lakes and Brooksville all have 18, and Citrus Springs is just behind at 17.5. Citrus Hills trails the six-club field with 13.5 points.

In the matches this week, Sugarmill Woods takes on Brooksville, Citrus Springs battles Seville, and Glen Lakes opposes Citrus Hills.

Olds Scramble: Glen Lakes will have a local qualifier for the Olldsmobile Scramble this Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.

Anyone interested in playing should call the pro shop at (904) 597-1118 to make reservations. Two players from the host club will participate on every team in the event, which has an entry fee of $35.

Ocala junior third at state tourney: Ocala's Jonathan Bartlett finished third among 93 golfers who teed off in the 15-17 age division at the 38th annual State Junior Championship conducted by the Florida State Golf Association last week.

Bartlett posted rounds of 71-74_145 on the 6,553-yard, par-72 course at the Country Club of Mount Dora on June 14-15. He wound up three strokes behind Danny Simmerman of Palm Beach Gardens and two shots back of runner-up Jeremy Anderson from Lake Mary.

Steve Carrington, also from Ocala, carded scores of 79-78 and tied for 25th place at 157 in the same division. Brooksville's Boyd Brown had a 170 total in the two-day event.

There were 35 golfers in the 12-14 division of the tournament. Lake Mary's Matt Kuchar was the victor there with 75-73_148.

Brennan gets second ace: Spring Hill's Tom Brennan, 61, got his second career hole-in-one last Thursday while playing a round of golf with Lou Martel, Dave Evans and Buck Atkinson.

"I knew it would be close, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to fall," Brennan said.

The shot was accomplished with a 7-iron on the 150-yard, No. 13 hole at Seven Hills. Brennan's first ace came about five years ago on hole No. 3 at Spring Hill Golf Club.

"I play four days a week, Monday through Thursday," Brennan said. "I'm a golfer since 1959, the year the (Chicago) White Sox won the pennant."

Brennan is a retired serviceman who worked for Peoples Gas in Chicago.

Mortgage goes up in smoke: Brooksville Golf Club had an unusual ceremony Saturday at which a mortgage dating back some 21 years was burned. The event was held to symbolize completion of payments.

"The original loan was issued through Alfred McKethan, who more or less is the father of Brooksville and still is chairman of the board at Sun Bank," Brooksville club general manager Werner Meyer said.

"(Paying off the mortgage) gives our members a tremendous feeling of confidence. They now know they own the place where they play golf and don't have to think that someday a lien might be placed against the club and they might lose something that 21 years of good management, hard work and savings have paid off."

Sun Bank dignitaries on hand for the mortgage burning included Mayo A. Darling and Jim Kimbrough.