The Arlington County Board, which had considered building a new $10 million police station at the Army's Arlington Hall Station, yesterday bowed to residents' opposition and recommended that the property be used for recreational purposes only.

Board members voted 4 to 1 that a top priority for use of the property should be a golf course, a proposal that may not be supported by the federal agency that eventually will control most of the site.

The site now favored for a police station is a county-owned parking lot and two small buildings owned by law firms near the county courthouse.

In addition to the vote on the Arlington Hall issue, which has been debated for more than a year, the board decided to locate a new fire station at 500 S. Glebe Rd.

The Army, which now houses an intelligence command at Arlington Hall, is scheduled to transfer all but 15 acres of the 87-acre compound to the State Department's Foreign Service Institute in late 1988. The institute has begun negotiations with the county for use of an undetermined amount of property.

Noting that the county has no public golf courses, board member John G. Milliken said, "I am interested in pursuing some kind of opportunity . . . for different forms of recreation just to increase the variety of choices people have."

Negotiations have centered on two parcels at the facility off Arlington Boulevard (Rte. 50) between South Glebe Road and South George Mason Drive.

Deputy County Manager Anton S. Gardner, the county's chief negotiator for the site, told the board that the institute is "not interested in having a golf course" there. But Milliken, backed by three board members, asked the staff to continue efforts to dedicate the property for a golf course.

Board member Michael E. Brunner cast the dissenting vote, saying he did not believe that a golf course should be a top priority. But Brunner endorsed what Milliken described as a "conceptual" package of possible county recreational uses there: a jogging and biking trail, ball fields, excercise stations, picnicking areas and an enclosed pavilion.

"At least we've got our foot in the door," said a jubilant Hugh Murphy, one of several members of the Arlington Senior Golf Club who have lobbied heavily for a golf course.

The board moved closer to that plan yesterday when it voted to purchase a building at 1439 N. Courthouse Rd. and to begin condemnation proceedings for another at 1437 N. Courthouse Rd. for use as the police station site. The buildings are assessed at $125,900 and $441,300, respectively.

In another land use issue, opponents of a plan to move the Columbia Pike fire station did not fare as well as the critics of the police station proposal. The board voted unanimously to build a new fire station at 500 S. Glebe Rd.

More than 600 persons had signed a petition against the Glebe Road site, citing its residential zoning. Opponents yesterday urged the board to build a new station at 3532 Columbia Pike, now the site of a U.S. post office that officials eventually hope to relocate.

Board members rejected that site as being too close to another fire station and said the Glebe Road location would allow better protection.