Golfer Allen Laird watches his tee shot from the 17th tee during the annual Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce golf and tennis tournament Friday afternoon at the Duncan Park golf course. The course recently enacted Saturday tee times because an increasing number of golfers are using the course. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Golfer Allen Laird watches his tee shot from the 17th tee during the annual Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce golf and tennis tournament Friday afternoon at the Duncan Park golf course. The course recently enacted Saturday tee times because an increasing number of golfers are using the course. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)

Increase in golfers causes Duncan Park to enact Sat. tee times

Published 12:01am Thursday, April 18, 2013

NATCHEZ — Greg Brooking’s argument for having Saturday tee times at Duncan Park comes by way of comparison.

“Tell me a course that doesn’t have tee times,” the Duncan Park golf course superintendent said. “We were behind the curve, and it was time for us to work out way up to a first-class golf course.”

At the beginning of April, Duncan Park enacted Saturday tee times to accommodate the increasing number of golfers using the course, Brooking said. Members were made aware a month in advance of the changes, and a marshal was hired to enforce the changes.

Tee times begin at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and run every 10 minutes until 6 p.m.

“They can call days or even weeks in advance before they all cluster up,” Brooking said. “Now you’ll be able to tee off unencumbered by anyone.”

Tim Martin, Duncan Park’s new marshal, said having tee times are well-established on most golf courses, and having Saturday tee times became a necessity for the golf course.

“Saturdays are usually our busiest days,” he said. “This way we can regulate who gets to go when. Everyone gets a time to start play, and it kind of keeps things in order for us.”

Clay Arnold, who has been playing at Duncan Park for 41 years, said he supports having Saturday tee times since it will allow golfers to space their start times out instead of all beginning their rounds at once.

“I was a marshal at one time, and if we had groups of threesomes and groups of fivesomes, the fivesomes would have jumped in front of them and started on hole No. 10,” Arnold said. “Then you’ve broken all the rules of etiquette on how to play golf. You’re not supposed to start on No. 10 without going to the golf shop.”

Arlis Rogers, a 32-year veteran of Duncan Park, said it will take people a while to get used to tee times, but he also believes the changes will be good for the course.

“Sometimes we’d show up (on Saturdays), and everyone wants to go off at 10,” Rogers said. “If we know we have a tee time, we can show up and play golf. Otherwise, you’ve got a backup on hole No. 1.

“It will improve play, because more people are playing.”

Brooking said the park’s long-term goal is to have tee times every day of the week, and Martin said he thinks that’s a good idea in the golf course’s busier months.

“There are going to be times when that’s necessary,” Martin said. “We’ve picked up in volume on weekdays, especially with out-of-towners who want to play as well.”

The increase in golfers lately is something Brooking attributes to Mayor Butch Brown and the Natchez Board of Aldermen forming rules, regulations and standards for the course to measure up to in terms of quality.

“We’ve made it more user-friendly,” Brooking said. “People aren’t afraid to come out here anymore.”

Arnold said he’s noticed a big difference in the quality of the course over the last few months.

“We have grass on these greens, and in my 41 years playing, we’ve never had grass on these greens this early,” Arnold said. “They’ve cleaned up around the bases of the trees so there aren’t any limbs. It gives it a very pretty appearance. They’ve also fixed some of the problems, like with the drainage on hole No. 8.”

Brooking said all of that is to help take Duncan Park to the next level as a public golf course.

“We’re trying to make Duncan Park a premier municipal golf course, and not some sub-standard dirt ranch,” Brooking said.

To book Saturday tee times, call the Duncan Park golf shop at 601-442-5955.

  • WakeUpNatchez

    Haven’t you been the super at that “dirt ranch” for the past 10 or so years? Why are you just now interested in making changes? You attribute the changes to Butch? Really? Maybe he can build us a “flyover” and that’ll reduce the amount of traffic on the course.