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TOWN REVISES RESTRICTIONS ON YOUTH GOLFERS

Amherst has dropped the limits previously agreed upon for all youth golfers at the town's municipal courses, recreation officials said Monday.

Players who are 12 and younger will not have to be accompanied by an adult at the 9-hole, par-3 Audubon course on Maple Road.

If they're good enough, they'll also get to play at the 18-hole Audubon course any weekday, not just on Mondays and Thursdays as first proposed.

However, the 12-and-under crowd will have to pass a skills-and-etiquette test to play at the 18-hole Audubon course without a chaperon.

In addition, youngsters who buy a youth season pass will no longer be allowed to play two rounds of golf a day. They will be limited to one round of golf a day, said Jeffrey M. Bloom, Amherst's recreation director.

"That ought to solve our baby-sitting problem," said Richard A. Banaszak of East Amherst, a Recreation Commission member who helped shape the new policy.

Banaszak said youngsters were regularly "bogging down the course" last year because they stayed all day, with some running around the course disturbing older golfers.

During a conference telephone call Saturday, recreation officials reconsidered the restrictions agreed upon earlier in the year, Banaszak said.

Banaszak said he and other commissioners received calls from parents and youths who complained about the earlier policy.

They complained that good, young golfers would have had to abide by the restrictions that were intended to control youngsters who didn't take the game as seriously.

"There are some kids who have gone through the junior golf program and can handle the course," Banaszak said.

As it stands now, only lousy golfers who haven't reach their teen years will need a chaperon and only if they want to play at the Audubon course.

Banaszak said Audubon golf professional Mike Passmore would come up with a test to evaluate the youngsters. The test probably will include taking them onto the course and sizing up their ability and knowledge of the game.

Teen-agers would be allowed to buy an adult season pass, allowing them to play unlimited rounds each day.

This new policy will go into effect at the town courses this season, expected to begin next month, said Richard Baldwin, chairman of the Recreation Commission.

Chris Drongosky of Snyder, a former golf professional who learned to play golf as a child at the Audubon course, said he agreed with the town's new policy.

"I think that's a fair and equitable way to do this," Drongosky said. "It prevents people from just dumping their kids there. You get a reduced rate to play golf there. And if you have the skill level, you can play a the 18-hole course."

Here are the new golfing rules for youth season pass holders:

The youth golf season pass will continue to be sold for $85 to Amherst youngsters.

Golfers between the ages of 13 and 17 can play unchaperoned at the 18-hole Audubon and 9-hole Oakwood golf courses on weekdays before 3 p.m. and on weekends and holidays after 3 p.m.

The teen-agers will be allowed to play one round of golf a day.

Golfers 12 and under will have to get the approval of the golf course manager before they can buy a youth season pass and play at the Audubon course.

With the manager's approval, golfers 12 and under will be allowed to buy the youth pass and be able to play at Audubon under the same rules that govern teen-agers. However, if they fail the manager's test, they will be allowed to play the 18-hole golf course only with an adult before 3 p.m. on weekdays and after 3 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Youngsters who do not received the manager's approval will be allowed to play one round of golf each day at the 9-hole, par-3 course without a chaperon.

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