Beneath the snow in Potomac lies the beginnings of one of Deane Beman's pet projects, a new stadium golf course called the Tournament Players Club at Avenel, which will be the permanent home of the Kemper Open in two years.
Beman, commissioner of the PGA Tour, was at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington yesterday to kick off sales of corporate memberships for the already-under-construction club and to give a progress report on the course.
"We are going to build here . . . the best golf tournament in the world. When I hang up my spikes, I want to be remembered for stadium golf, and being one of the better putters in the world," Beman said.
"I guess we could go sleigh-riding out there today," said Beman, who played area junior golf and won the U.S. and British Amateur tournaments and four PGA Tour events before becoming commissioner 12 years ago.
"I take a lot of special pride in putting it (Avenel) together with my staff," Beman said. "It means more to me than some of the other new courses we are building."
There is a network of 13 TPC (stadium) courses being built or already built, all present or future PGA Tour stops. Stadium golf features easier spectator viewing, with grandstands built around tees and greens, and high mounds bordering fairways.
"We want to give some consideration to the guy coming to see the world's greatest golfers. We want to make sure when he buys a ticket, he can see it, and not be trampled by 10,000 people," said Beman.
The TPC at Avenel, which likely will hold its first Kemper Open in spring 1987, is just southwest of Congressional Country Club, which is under contract for one more Kemper and will likely extend it one year after that. Then the Kemper will move permanently to the 250 acres of rolling hills, forest and streams at what used to be Avenel Farm.
The ground was broken in October. The front nine of the Eddie Ault-designed course already has been graded, with back-nine grading to be completed this spring. Grass seeding will also likely be finished before summer.
Billy Buchanan, PGA Tour agronomist, said the zoysia grass fairways and bent grass tees and greens should be ready for play by summer 1986.