July 28, 2000
Heritage Inn and Golf Club, the Derrickson family’s first foray into public golf, celebrates its first three months of operation today.
Bryan Derrickson is the course superintendent and general manager. He says the results thus far show “the potential is certainly there” to develop their business into a healthy contributor to the Cape Region tourism industry.
Derrickson recently discussed their experiences with the new 9-hole full-length layout and the people playing it.
“Some people come here and are surprised at its length [2900 yards from the gold tees]. They assume it’s a par 3 course,” Derrickson said.
Golfers who thought that way are in for a pleasant surprise. The driver or 3-wood is the club of choice for most of the par 4s and the signature hole, the 500-yard par 5 5th hole with an island green. For many golfers, a 7- or 9-wood would be handy for the 6th hole, a long par 3 with a waterfall protecting the left side.
Golfers who see the flag behind that waterfall while standing on the tee should aim for the center of the green. Trust me on this.
Local golfers Wayne Mitchell and Larry Anderson share the current course record at one-under-par 69.
Dane Baich, a Cape grad and a junior at the University of Delaware who works at the course, says the 5th hole spurs the most comments from players finishing their round. “The green is large, but that pond gathers a lot of golf balls,” he grinned.
Regan Derrickson runs the pro shop. He keeps a stock of pre-rinsed, previously-owned golf balls in a glass jar on the counter, for $1 apiece. When junior golfers (and seniors, too) deplete the stock, Regan walks out to the pond and refills his inventory. Bryan Derrickson smiled and said, “That used ball jar is Regan’s college fund.”
Business on most days is steady but not spectacular, averaging “50 or more per day in good weather,” Bryan said. He admitted that the customer numbers are a little off from initial projections, but then again, the family did not assume they would start off with a bang. For these opening months, “if we get 50 golfers a day, we’re happy,” Derrickson said.
On the other hand, the busy July 4th weekend was an eye-opener. Derrickson said, “We did tremendous business all three days. Our staff at the course and the hotel learned a lot about how to run the place at capacity. That Monday 178 golfers played. We ran out of golf carts at one point because they were all out on the course. But the people who came here were patient and were able to play without any real delays.”
Derrickson also said that several groups have approached the new club about hosting outings. “We’re able to offer a great package with the hotel and golf combination.” During July and August, for example, hotel guests can stay one night and play two rounds of 18-hole golf for $150 plus accommodation tax, a savings of nearly $70. Similar specials are under development for the fall shoulder season.
Derrickson is excited about the prospect of developing the Cape Region as a golf destination, especially in the spring and fall seasons. “With The Rookery opening up, along with our course, Marsh Island, The Golf Park at Rehoboth, and Old Landing, we can now do the hotel/golf packages, and compete with Ocean City,” he said.
In the meantime, Derrickson is busy with a punchlist of small fixes that any new course faces in its first season. He’s happy about the repeat business the club is already seeing, and remains optimistic about his family’s new investment: “There’s a lot more people that know about us now compared to a few months ago. That will only increase over time.”
This month Sussex Pines Country Club held its Seniors Club Championship, with a record number of 102 players. Golfers competed in 3 age divisions and 10 flights. Rick Geddes of Lincoln beat Glenn Hudson by a single stroke in the two day competition in the first gross category. Billy Adams of Dagsboro won the net competition in the first flight.
Other winners in the gross category: Ken Carruthers, Mike Bowden, Jack Hilbeck, Bob Baker, Charlie Troublefield, Gordon Reid, Frank Gordy, Roland Baker, and Paul Riale.
The other low net winners were Charles Cordrey, Ed Burton, Joe Fluharty, Lee Mears, John Pederson, Bob Freed, Ray Romano, George West, and Dick Tikiob.