Albany to reopen Capital Hills golf course on Tuesday

ALBANY — The city-owned Capital Hills at Albany golf course will reopen Tuesday, according to an announcement from Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

The course, off New Scotland Avenue, was the only local course not to have reopened for play during the coronavirus pandemic, although walking and jogging were permitted.

Community dissatisfaction with Capital Hills still being closed led to more than 1,000 signatures on an online petition urging reopening of the links. A rally to advance the cause was planned for Saturday, but it was called off Friday night by Common Council member Jack Flynn.

“I canceled the rally because I did hear some information that she was considering opening the golf course,” said Flynn, who also cited neighborhood concerns and the possibility of agitators joining the protest.

An email from Sheehan’s office said the course will reopen Tuesday for play, but carts will not be available. It said more details regarding hours and available services would be released Monday.

City Hall said greens fees will rise by $10 across the board to increase revenue; last year, the regular rate for 18 holes was $22 for city residents, $31 for non-residents, according to the Capital Hills website.

Jordan Britt reacts as her putt misses the hole on the 18th green during the final round of the Symetra Tour event at Capital Hills at Albany Golf Course on Sunday, July 28, 2019, in Albany. The course has yet to open this year, but is set to open Tuesday. (Paul Buckowski/Times Union archive)

Paul Buckowski/Albany Times Union

The email also said, “The city will dispatch a reduced number of maintenance staff to control costs and allow other vital services to continue. Golfers are urged to understand the typical level of maintenance they have become accustomed to may be impacted by this reduction in maintenance.”

Flynn, whose Ward 8 encompasses the Capital Hills property, has been the most vocal council member about getting the course opened.

He planned to introduce two resolutions at Monday’s Common Council meeting, one demanding that the course be opened, and another to form a committee to study the future of the property.

“I’m going to pull the first resolution, obviously,” Flynn said Friday night, “but I’m still going to keep the second resolution going just so we can discuss the operation and all the other finances with the golf course. I know other council members want to know about it. The discussion will continue.”

Sergio Panunzio, commissioner of the city’s Department of General Services, said last month that it would take 7-10 days to get the course ready for play, but apparently that clock has been accelerated. DGS workers have been doing “a minimal amount of maintenance” up until now, David Galin, chief of staff for the mayor, said last month.

“I’ve walked the golf course four times a week,” Flynn said. “I was able to look at the golf course every day as a resident and council member for the area, so when I walked in with friends of mine, everybody said the same thing, that the golf course is in great shape. I knew that once the mayor made the decision to open it, you could open it within a day or two days.”

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