Nice to visit a golf course that is not littered with cigarette butts

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

My personal favorite golf event of the summer is the Maplehurst play day. This year was their 10th annual outing. I’ve been fortunate enough to play in nine of the 10. I’ve written a couple of columns about this event in the past. Two years ago, I witnessed a hole in one and shared that experience via my column.

I don’t have anything quite that exciting to relay following this year’s event. Instead, I want to share an observation about the course where we played. Rochelle Country Club has hosted this event the past several years. The once-private club is now open to the public.

The one thing that has stood out to me over the years is what a great job the greens-keeper and his staff do at keeping this course in pristine condition. The thing that really separates this public course from many of the others I’ve played is the absence of the ever-present cigarette butts. Most of the other public courses in this area are littered with them. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, and something that I am keenly aware of when I’m playing.

I realize it is absolutely impossible for any of the courses to eradicate this problem. It’s not their fault. The blame falls totally on the shoulders of the inconsiderate smokers who frequent these courses. For some unknown reason, they think it’s acceptable to dispose of their cigarette butts anywhere other than in the supplied trash cans at each hole.

I think the only way to truly rid the area of this problem is to make the courses smoke-free. However, I don’t foresee that happening any time in the near future. Until that day does come, perhaps the other golf courses could contact the Rochelle Country Club and find out their secret.

What are they doing differently that is keeping their course noticeably different from the others when it comes to this issue? Whatever it is, keep it up. It was a treat to putt on greens that weren’t outlined in cigarette butts. This golfer and non-smoker greatly appreciates your efforts.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Aug. 13-19, 2014, issue

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