October 10, 2003
Walt Jones is a quiet gentleman, who’s also quietly proud of his contribution to Cape Region golf.
He deserves to be pleased with what he accomplished as one of the primary originators of public golf in this part of Sussex County.
In 1957, the former DuPont employee took a gamble and bought a 15-acre par 3 course near Rehoboth Beach. Jones successfully built up that business, but eventually sold the parcel and joined with Verdon Marshall to build the Old Landing Golf Course, the first full-size public course in the Cape Region.
After ending his investment in Old Landing, Jones bought a 20-acre site a few miles north of Rehoboth in 1981. He created Midway Par 3 on the gently sloping acreage, and later added a driving range to an adjacent 27-acre parcel.
Jones’ sons Rick and Paul and daughter Barbara Moore worked at the course for many years. His son-in-law, Mark Moore, Sr. a 1975 Cape graduate and former teacher at Rehoboth Elementary School, also worked at Midway for several summers. When a heart attack and bypass surgery set Walt back a bit, Moore began working full-time at the family’s golf course.
Jones now takes the time to enjoy playing Midway. When I interviewed him and his son-in-law a few mornings ago, Jones had just finished the front nine of his course, along with a few friends.
Moore told me that his father-in-law continues to work for the family business. “He’ll take over the grass-cutting for me every so often, and he’s here just about every day doing something,” he smiled.
“Barbara works here most afternoons at the counter, but she also keeps busy with other stuff here. The other day she called me to ask where the hedge clippers were, because she was going to use them,” Moore said.
Naturally, the course is busiest during the summer, but a sizeable group of regulars plays year-round. “We have a bunch of members, their average age is probably in their 70s, who must play here over 300 times a year,” Moore explained. “It’s pretty much the same bunch that’s been here the last 15 years.”
The Jones/Moore family also has some helpers. John Gordon runs the ball picker on the range and sometimes helps cut the grass. Marshall McGowan works the cash register and hands out the range balls, rented clubs, and scorecards.
Ed Styc shows up nearly every morning for eight months of the year to handle the players. “We tease Ed and tell him that his wife pays us to keep him here, and we just give it back to him,” Moore grinned.
Moore does most of the greenskeeping work, cutting the turf and handling the various chemical applications that are required for the bentgrass greens and Bermuda/rye fairways. “These are old-style push-up greens. We use nothing but granular materials on them, no spray. I calculated that I walk about 3 ½ miles for each application, which can add up in a hot July sun.”
On the other hand, the recent cool weather didn’t deter the golfers who came to the Midway range at 6:30 a.m. September 29 to warm up for the Rehoboth Beach Invitational college golf tournament, sponsored by George Washington University and held at Kings Creek Country Club. “I had 60 stations set up for them, it was about 47 degrees, and those kids were hitting away wearing shorts and short-sleeve shirts,” Moore said.
As for the usual Midway atmosphere, Moore said simply, “The people who play here love it. It’s so relaxed here. People can play barefoot, or with their shirts off. And for $10 for all-day play, you just can’t beat it.”
Shawnee Country Club is holding an open house for prospective members on Saturday, October 11, with a shotgun start for a scramble-format tournament beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, call 422-7010 or 422-9745.