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AUDUBON TO FLIP FRONT, BACK HOLES

The Audubon Golf Course will seem a bit topsy-turvy to some golfers when play resumes in April.

The town's Golf Oversight Committee has decided to change the way the course is played, making the front nine holes the back nine, and vice versa, according to Supervisor Susan J. Grelick.

The course's front nine contains two of the most difficult holes on the course, according to committee Chairman John R. Davis. The two holes require golfers to hit over a creek -- a real challenge to novices, who often find their golf balls ending up in the water, Davis said.

As a result, there's sometimes a logjam on the course, with players waiting in line for the people in front of them to complete those two holes, Davis said.

"The creek catches so many balls, it slows down play," Davis said. The back nine is easier, he said.

By switching the front and back nines, the committee believes play will go faster, Grelick said.

Many novice players often play only nine holes, Davis said. Under the new arrangement, they will play the easier nine holes.

And even if novices play all 18 holes, switching the front and back nines should speed up the play, Davis said.

"The flow of play will be greatly improved," he said.

Davis added that the town golf courses have been operating smoothly over the past year, since the town made some changes in who runs two of the courses and how they are operating.

The town hired Larry Tabor to operate the Audubon and Par-3 courses on a consulting basis for $28,000 a year.

The committee supported extending the contract for another year under the same $28,000 arrangement, Davis said.

Tabor is a retired Highway Department employee whose job included taking care of the greens.

He took over the two golf courses last year after the town learned the former manager, Michael Passmore, owed Amherst $28,000 in back utility bills and greens fees.

Passmore in December pleaded guilty to petit larceny, was placed on three years' probation and agreed to reimburse the town $9,700.

Though the golf courses had been costing the town money when Passmore was running them, they seem to be operating at a slight profit to the town under Tabor.

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