Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Letter From A Countryside Neighbor’s Son

Mr. Kenny Saunders

Golf Professional & Operations Manager

Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat Palace Golf Club

Son of Ken and Rosanne Saunders
Countryside Neighborhood, Roanoke, Virginia

Kenny’s perfect form

Dear Mom and Dad:

I find it hard to believe that I am writing a story that by saying I remember 40 years ago puts me in the category of the old people. So when I heard about what is happening with the Countryside Golf Course that was my first thought- I remember 40 years ago when I first started playing golf. It has been that long but it seems like yesterday when Arrow Wood Country Club opened in 1966. I was 5 years old when my Dad started taking me to the course. We lived about a quarter mile away so we spent many hours in the summer months at the pool and the golf course. I remember seeing pictures of myself with my golf clubs that were too tall and heavy. Dad sawed them off and added black electric tape for my grips. I used those clubs for years. Now you must know that this was far from the big country club scenes of Roanoke Country Club and Hidden Valley Country Club. This was blue-collar golf at its finest. There are lots of kids who came up through the ranks of Roanoke golf lore and if not for the Countryside’s and the Blue Hills’ they would never have been able to enjoy this game. Such names as David Tolley (US Amateur runner-up and played in the Masters), Sonny Kirkwood, Frankie Moore are but a few that played and excelled at Arrow Wood/Countryside. I was the late bloomer of the bunch but always loved the game and if not for Countryside I would have never ended up being a PGA Golf Professional. I am now the Head Golf Professional and Operations Manager of the #1 ranked golf course in Vietnam,. Dalat Palace Golf Club.

With the ever-changing demographics of Roanoke it is even more important to keep Countryside in existence. It is the only public golf course located in the City of Roanoke and over the years I have been witness to many kids who have been given the opportunity to take up the greatest game ever played. The City is taking away an affordable recreation for kids and adults alike. Golf teaches many of life’s lessons and also gives the opportunity to meet and cultivate friendships that last a life time. I will always remember fondly my regular group with whom I played every

Wednesday and Sunday for many years. Bob Cutrara, Mike McCoy, and especially my Dad. You can go to a golf course by yourself, pair up with another threesome and when the day is done you will have 3 new friends.

I hope the City and its representatives will come to their senses and upgrade this fabulous property to its full potential of green space and recreation. I would hate to see the City government cave in to a few to do away with a treasure that has and will give great pleasure and opportunity to many Roanokers.

Kenny Saunders
Dalat, Vietnam

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary

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August 3rd, 2007 at 2:52 PM    


The Roanoke Times screwed up the link to the blog.. I’d sue ’em.

I think the time is becoming ever clearer when the sections of Roanoke (NE, NW, SE, SW) need to band together and work for the good of the city, rather than the backwards system we have now.

I’m still thinking free-for-all.


August 3rd, 2007 at 3:00 PM    

Come to Aug. 20th 7:00 PM Council meeting … free-for-all!

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