By Kathy Knotts
Long before there was Tiger Woods, there was Al Green. Anne Arundel County honored Green, the first African American golf club head pro in the state, during the re-opening of The Preserve at Eisenhower Golf Course last month.
Green, a native of Mulberry Hill, won more than 50 professional events over his career, earning him a spot in the National Black Golf Hall of Fame. He has played in three U.S. Opens and was the first Black golfer to participate in the PGA’s Club Pro Championship.
The Eisenhower Golf Course, also known as The Ike, opened in Crownsville in 1969, with Green as the state’s first head club professional. The course, named for the 34th president and avid golfer Dwight D. Eisenhower, reopened May 1 after an extensive $5 million renovation.
The redesign coincided with a rebrand to “The Preserve” reflecting not only the Eisenhower serving local players as a championship golf course, but its goal to become a sanctuary for local wildlife. The new name embodies a golf course layout that promotes sustainability and eco-friendly maintenance practices, including stream preservation, amid a natural setting.
The eco-friendly approach is the work of golf course architect Andrew Green and highlighted by the removal of all bunkers and the installation of Bermuda grass fairways and tee boxes, which require less water and chemicals to maintain.
“We are delighted we can finally share the magnificent transformation Andrew and his team have been working on,” says Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, who was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, along with representatives from Anne Arundel County Recreation & Parks and Indigo Golf Partners. “Local and visiting golfers will immediately notice how innovative the layout is and its continuation as an indispensable environmental refuge.”
Working with the Anne Arundel County Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, an additional $5,587,556 of funding was utilized for a stream restoration and storm water management project. Designers say The Preserve will increase wetlands by more than 13 acres, bringing wildlife to the area, and include an abundance of boardwalk.