Blue Heron Driv­ing Range opens for busi­ness

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — A large crowd of Queen Anne’s County res­i­dents gath­ered at the newly cre­ated driv­ing range at Blue Heron Golf Course on Kent Is­land the af­ter­noon of Tues­day, June 13, as elected of­fi­cials and county em­ploy­ees of­fi­cially opened the prac­tice range.

Wait­ing in 90-de­gree heat for the op­por­tu­nity to swing a few clubs, res­i­dents stood and lis­tened to some of the his­tory of the Blue Heron Pre­serve prop­erty prior

to reach­ing back and fir­ing balls down the range to­ward the flags.

The driv­ing range is about a quar­ter of a mile away from the golf course club­house lo­cated at 3270 Ro­man­coke Road, just down Route 8. A bike path that runs the length of Route 8 has a sec­tion be­tween the driv­ing range and club­house.

Sit­ting on about 400 acres of land, Chip Price said the Green­burg Prop­erty, now where the course’s foot­print is, was pur­chased by the county us­ing Project Open Space money from the State of Mary­land. Pro­gram Open Space, es­tab­lished in 1969, is a pro­gram through the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources that aids lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tions with cre­at­ing out­door re­cre­ation op­por­tu­ni­ties and open spa­ces for its cit­i­zens, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Price said the prop­erty con­sists of three el­e­ments: the 18-hole golf course, the new driv­ing range and the Blue Heron Pre­serve, which runs down to Price Creek and over to Route 8. “You’ll be able to come here and spend the whole day,” Price said.

Once com­pleted, Price said the na­ture pre­serve area will be com­plete with trails, prim­i­tive camp­ing sites and wa­ter ac­cess for soft launches.

In com­plet­ing the driv­ing range, the county had to work with the Mary­land En­vi­ron­men­tal Trust as an ease­ment was held on the prop­erty for no de­vel­op­ment.

“We’re for­tu­nate they worked with us to al­low the in­tro­duc­tion of the driv­ing range in here,” Price said.

Lit­tle squares of ar­ti­fi­cial turf along a curve fac­ing away from Route 8, golfers can pur­chase to­kens that re­lease golf balls to prac­tice with at the range. Deals for 10 to­kens are avail­able at the club­house, golf pro Eric Bea­u­fait said.

Bea­u­fait, who thanked the com­mis­sion­ers for their con­tin­ued sup­port in cre­at­ing the golf course’s new ad­di­tion, said the driv­ing range was a “great ad­di­tion to the Queen Anne’s County park sys­tem” as it’s avail­able to any­one in­ter­ested, county res­i­dents or vis­i­tors.

“This fa­cil­ity is go­ing to help us cre­ate some new golfers and help a lot of the old golfers with their swings so we can im­prove be­cause we al­ways strive to in this game,” Bea­u­fait said.

Preach­ing to the com­mis­sion­ers about the need for a driv­ing range over the years, Bea­u­fait said golf was one of a few sports where age doesn’t mat­ter. He said lots of grand­par­ents and grand­chil­dren come to the course to play and ex­pects more of the same to con­tinue.

Blue Heron is open ev­ery day from 7 a.m. to sun­set Play­ers can pur­chase to­kens at the pro shop down the road and ex­change them for a bucket of balls.

“This is just another one of the projects in Queen Anne’s County that we’re try­ing to en­hance in all of our park sys­tems,” Com­mis­sion Jim Mo­ran said. He said like other parks in the county, they want to im­prove it so the youngest to old­est per­son in the county can go out and en­joy what the county has to of­fer.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter:@ mike_k­ibay­times.

PHO­TOS BY MIKE DAVIS

Queen Anne’s County Parks Di­rec­tor Chip Price speaks about the driv­ing range project dur­ing a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony on Tues­day, June 13, at Blue Heron Golf Course.

A large crowd at­tends the driv­ing range rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony at Blue Heron Golf Course on Tues­day, June 13. At­ten­dees had the op­por­tu­nity to hit a few balls af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion.

PHO­TOS BY MIKE DAVIS

A large crowd at­tends the driv­ing range rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony at Blue Heron Golf Course on Tues­day, June 13. At­ten­dees had the op­por­tu­nity to hit a few balls af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion.

Blue Heron Golf Course Pro Eric Bea­u­fait speaks about the ad­di­tion of the driv­ing range to the golf course dur­ing a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony for the project on Tues­day, June 13.

Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sioner Jim Mo­ran speaks about new driv­ing range at Blue Heron Golf Course dur­ing a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony on Tues­day, June 13.

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