January 1, 1999
These are heady times if you are a golfer and live in or visit the Cape community. New full-size public courses, executive layouts, and ongoing reconstruction and improvement of existing courses make for interesting and exciting golfing opportunities.
Never let it be said that these major developments in the local sporting scene escape the keen eyes of the folks at The Cape Gazette. Welcome to the first installment of this paper’s new golf column!
So, you may ask, how did I receive this plum assignment?
I live. I breathe. I golf.
Oh, and Trish Vernon asked me. She’s the editor.
She also knows that I’m president of Hole By Hole, a consulting business for public and private golf courses. Basically, we tell golf courses which hole should be ranked first for handicapping, which one should be ranked second, and so on. (Anyone who has lost a dollar or two playing Nassau knows what I mean.)
The changes in golf in Southern Delaware really have been significant in the last 5 years. Baywood Greens opened up the first 9 of its planned 36 holes this past spring to rave reviews, and is the first new full-size public golf course in the area in many years. Beartrap Dunes south of Bethany Beach is now under construction, and its opening is eagerly awaited.
Rehoboth Golf Park, Bethany Bay, and The Salt Pond are just three of the new executive-size courses to open in recent years. All these public facilities joined the already popular facilities at Old Landing and Midway Par 3. Other golf courses, both full and executive-size, are also under consideration for the area.
Public golf opportunities elsewhere on the Delmarva Peninsula have boomed, especially in the Ocean City area. River Run, Rum Pointe, and other new courses have added to Ocean City’s growing reputation as the Myrtle Beach of the Mid-Atlantic. Further west, Somerset County’s Great Hope course near Crisfield shows great promise after its first couple years of operation.
Sussex County’s private golf courses are also changing. For example, Rehoboth Beach CC is well along with its one-hole-at-a-time reconstruction of its well-regarded layout. Shawnee CC in Milford is rebuilding many of its bunkers and has other changes in store. Kings Creek CC, Georgetown’s Sussex Pines CC, and Ocean View’s Cripple Creek CC are also making improvements and hosting significant events.
Retail shopping for area golfers also improved recently, with the fully stocked pro shop at Rehoboth Golf Park and the large new Golf Day store just outside Rehoboth. Golf Day locates its new stores in the areas where the company has had significant catalog sales, so the need was obviously here. The Rehoboth area’s reputation as an outlet store Mecca probably didn’t hurt, either.
So what will I write about?
This column will be the place to read about local tournament action and charity events. I’ll also cover the exploits of local pros such as Pete Oakley as he gears up for a run at the Senior Tour. Cape Henlopen High School’s golf team is among the better teams in the Henlopen Conference, and their exploits will be recounted here. Holes in one at local courses will be a highlight of this column.
I will also review the local public and private courses. I’ll talk to the golf pros and superintendents about their layouts, and give you the information you need to make informed choices about the many options you have to play golf in the area.
We also have a Virtual Bookstore at HoleByHole. I review golf books and make recommendations based on my own special rating system. We’ll be running these book reviews here every other week or so. The folks at Browseabout Books and Atlantic Books in Rehoboth Beach should also be stocked up and ready for you.
There will also be pieces on golf travel. There are some great places to play not too far from here. You’ll be reading about the golf opportunities in Myrtle Beach, Williamsburg, Pinehurst, and other golf resorts.
Readers can also send in their own golf course reviews. The reviews that meet the publication standards for a family newspaper will also become a fun part of this column.
The growth in golf participation in Sussex County will only increase in the future. With this column The Cape Gazette will give you all the news about golf in this area, and more. We hope you’ll enjoy reading it!