Karzmer: YSU should make use of Stambaugh Golf Course

After last week’s ode to fathers, this week we’re going to head back to the serious side of things.

Stambaugh Golf Course, better known as our “Muni” is one of the golfing gems in our area. Started in 1923 on land donated by Henry Stambaugh, the nine-hole course is honestly one of my favorite tracks in town.

The first hole is a short par-4 that’s probably driven every great Valley golfer from 1923 to now crazy at least once in their careers. The short par-4 fifth is a great strategic hole. When the pin is tucked back left, the par-3 sixth is one of the most demanding 125-yard par threes you’ll ever play. And the finishing holes of 8 (a 600-yard par-5) and 9 (a 425-yard, all-uphill par-4) are a great one-two punch.

But as good as the course is, unfortunately, I don’t think it gets as much recognition, or play, as it deserves.

Now before I get to my “big idea,” please let me preface a few things.

One, everything I’m about to put forward is simply an “idea.” And two, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s thought of this. I just happen to be in a position to bring it up in print and possibly help get some chatter going.

So just what is this idea?

I think Youngstown State University should try to reach a deal with the city to manage and run the course on a daily basis.

And here are some of the many reasons why:

Short term

The university could increase available manpower to the course by incorporating golf course jobs with student work programs.

The golf course could see increased revenues by offering and promoting student memberships on a yearly, seasonal and semester basis.

The golf course could serve as a home course for YSU’s teams.

The course itself would get additional exposure to the next generation of Valley golfers.

YSU would have an additional location to do fundraisers.

Long Term

The university could potentially, over time, develop two new degree programs:

PGA golf management, a programthat teaches college students how to join and succeed as a PGA Professional. One-hundred percent job placement for graduates. Currently offered at 20-plus accredited universities across the country.

Golf course management, a program and curriculum offered to students looking to become golf course superintendents. More than 100 universities currently offer some form of golf course management program.

YSU could build a student center on the grounds and expand its presence north of campus. Obviously right now a lot of the focus is on tying together the university and the downtown area of the city. And understandably so. But if the university ever wanted a larger presence north of campus (where a lot of student housing exists), the golf course would be a perfect hub.

The golf teams could eventually build a first-class indoor and outdoor training facility specifically for golf team members. I know this may sound like a dream, so just in case you need some help envisioning this, check out the following Website (http://www.kentstatesports.com/facilities/ferrara) to see what my old coach at Kent State was able to do.

Imagine a crowded Stambaugh Golf Course, in good shape and maintained by YSU students pursuing their course management degrees and assisted by students in the YSU PGM program.

Imagine a crowded student center on the grounds for YSU students who are also course “members.”

Imagine YSU golf team members playing and practicing on their own home course, studying in their own golf facility and practicing on their own range and putting green.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Now I understand one little column won’t really do anything to make this happen. But it’s at least worth bringing up in conversation. And if you agree that this is an idea worth pursuing, let me know your thoughts in an email.

Maybe someday, someone who can help make this happen will ask if we heard back from others.

Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a Sunday golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance for Huntington Insurance and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at jonah.karzmer@huntington.com

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