The American Society of Golf Course Architects recently elected Bill Love of College Park its president. Love, whose firm, W.R. Love Golf Course Architecture, designs golf courses nationally and internationally, has been in the industry for nearly 25 years.

"I'm very honored to be elected president," Love said. "I just hope I can do a good job serving the membership over the year."

Love was drawn to golf course architecture because of his enjoyment of golf and his desire to design recreational facilities. He has designed layouts for Hunting Hawk Golf Club in Glen Allen and Cranberry Highlands in Cranberry, Pa. Two current projects are Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton and Bioparque Golf Club in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

"Every project you do is sort of like having a kid," Love said. "You get emotionally attached to them as you develop them, and you're always interested in how they grow over the years because golf courses change as they mature."

Even though he professes not to favor one course over another, Love is particularly excited about Laurel Hill, which will be located on the site of the former correctional facility. Work began on the course earlier this year. It is expected to open next summer.

"This new one in Lorton is going to be a special golf course; there's no doubt about that," he said. "It's just the opportunity to work in that particular site and be a part of that project which takes something that has sort of a negative image and recreate something that is going to be such a benefit for the local community. That is a very unique opportunity."

Designing golf courses has changed quite a bit since Love began his business. More children, women and seniors are playing the sport these days. Technology has had a big impact, prompting the need for longer and wider courses. And concerns for the environment are taken into greater consideration. Golf course design has become as much of an art as it is a science.

"The bottom line with golf [course design] is not how hard it is, but how fun it is," Love said. "You have to be sure that the way you design this thing doesn't penalize one group of golfers when you're trying to increase the challenge for another group. Our organization, and our firm especially, stresses the need to have golf that's fun. People want to go out and enjoy themselves. They are looking for a more traditional golf experience, not necessarily easy, but on the other hand, you're not losing 10 golf balls, shooting 130 and taking eight hours to play."

Ready to Tee Off

The 83rd annual Maryland State Golf Association men's amateur championship begins today at Towson Golf and Country Club. The field of 123 golfers competes in a stroke-play qualifier today to determine the 32 spots for match play, which begins Friday. The 36-hole final is Sunday.

Will Shriver, a Gonzaga graduate and Silver Spring resident who became the youngest champion in the history of the event last year, will not defend his title. He is playing in the Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnstown, Pa., this weekend.

Although Shriver won't be there, two former winners will be: Chuck Freedman of Hobbit's Glen (1994) and David Nocar of Chartwell (2002). Andy Williams of Congressional, who lost in the final to Nocar, is part of the field as is John Moheyer, who lost to Shriver in last year's dramatic final.

Stracks Again on the Mark

Lesley Stracks of Washington, a former William & Mary golfer, qualified for the United States Golf Association women's amateur public links championship. Stracks shot a 3-over-par 75 at Bull Run Golf Club to finish third. She also qualified for this event in 2001 and advanced to the match play round. The tournament takes place at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, June 22-27. . . .

Sara Hurwitch, a 15-year-old sophomore at Dominion High School, advanced to the U.S. Women's Open sectional qualifier by finishing fifth at the local qualifier held at Green Spring Valley Hunt Club. The sectional qualifier is June 17 at Williamsburg Country Club.