a flag marking the ninth hole at the salina municipal golf course is seen in this tuesday, aug. 17, 2010 photo. (photo by jeff cooper/ salina journal) | buy journal photos


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adam gorjiyan putts on the practice green at the salina municipal golf course on tuesday, aug. 17, 2010. (photo by jeff cooper/ salina journal)

name change hits rough spot


by chris hunter salina journal

a request to rename the salina municipal golf course isn’t gaining much support from golfers in advance of a meeting of the salina parks and recreation advisory board at 4 p.m. today.

at the meeting, advisory board members will accept public comments on a request from developer bill sheppard to rename the course grand prairie golf course.

sheppard is in the process of building a subdivision by the same name around the golf course. he has offered the city $10,000 to change the course’s name to match that of his subdivision.

a ‘fabulous course’

he said the course deserves a better name since it is a “fabulous course.”

sheppard said he welcomed public comment but had not talked to golfers about the proposed change.

“the change of the name has been met with more than a little opposition,” said mike hargrave, head golf professional at salina municipal golf course. “some of the sentiment we have heard has been that it makes it sound like a private golf course. we don’t want to lose the fact this is a public golf course.”

“it is one of those things the guys weren’t comfortable with,” said bob holston, president of the men’s senior golf association at the course. “they like the name municipal.”

jerry mckee, a member of the senior golf association, admitted salina municipal wasn’t the greatest name but said seniors were overwhelmingly against the change.

holston said the group two weeks ago polled 96 members at the course. not a single member voted in favor of the name change.

hargrave said he had heard comments from golfers at the course after the city posted signs announcing the meeting, and 70 percent were against the name change.

the results are similar in a weeklong online journal poll that ran shortly after the advisory board delayed the name change vote. in the poll, 68.4 percent of respondents voted against a name change while 31.6 voted in favor of changing the name to grand prairie golf course or another name.

not enough money?

“we would vote for him to change the name if he gave more money,” said leon doucette, member of the senior association. “he is not offering enough money.”

doucette said he thought sheppard was getting all of the benefits of a name change without paying enough money.

“if you go to k-state and want to name a building, you have to put up some money,” mckee said. “i don’t think even $50,000 is too much to ask.”

mckee and doucette said the $50,000 could be used to make improvements to the course.

even younger golfers were opposed to the name change.

“i don’t like it,” said adam gorjiyan, 22, “because it is the ‘muni’ and has name recognition. it is a city-owned course. if we do change the name, it should be well worth it. that is not enough money.”

gorjiyan, who has been playing golf at the course for nine years, said he didn’t like the fact the name and possible logo would match sheppard’s subdivision.

“it doesn’t sit well at all with us,” holston said. “when you give something the same name as something else, people think it has connection. it tells you they are one and the same, and it is not. it seems inappropriate and gives a false perception of, ‘we own the golf course, too.’ ”

gorjiyan also pointed out that the mariposa subdivision did not try to change the name of the course, despite hole no. 16 backing up against the subdivision.

still going to build

sheppard said he doesn’t know what to expect at the meeting, but he will continue development in the area even if the board votes not to change the name of the golf course.

“it won’t make a difference,” sheppard said. “we are still going to build out there, and business is good.”

hargrave said the name change is up to the city.

“we feel like our name has very good brand recognition,” hargrave said. “when people speak of the ‘muni,’ people know where you are talking about. we hope not to lose that name recognition in some way.”

nreporter chris hunter can be reached at 822-1422 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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