Southern Delaware Golf Club opens pro shop, seeks members
January 12, 2024
Several hundred golfers, their spouses, and friends flocked to the new pro shop at Southern Delaware Golf Club Dec. 6 for an open house celebrating the club’s imminent return to full operations.
The former Shawnee Country Club, bought and later sold by the owners of The Rookery near Milton, is undergoing a significant restoration and reconstruction in anticipation of a spring 2024 opening.
Dozens of potential members lined up well before the 10:00 a.m. start of the day. The pro shop gave no sign that the structure formerly housed the changing rooms for Shawnee CC’s swimming pool, now buried under a large concrete pad just west of the building.
SDGC staff handed out information sheets and application forms, as others stood behind a display case showing off the club’s new apparel options for ready sale. Outside the pro shop, a food truck offered a nice selection of offerings from Big Oyster, the Cape Region brewery that is busy finishing the conversion of the clubhouse into its new brewpub.
A line of golfers gathered by the tenth tee for a chance to hit a shot toward the large green almost 200 yards away. The closest to the pin winner for the day would win a free membership.
SDGC owner Tim Johnson was obviously stunned by the crowd’s size and enthusiasm. “I’m amazed. I knew it was going to be busy but not this busy. We have a limited membership, so I think we may get them all today. The Big Oyster’s here, they’re introducing some of their food and drink. We have merchandise here. We opened for the holidays, it’s hard to buy for people, so a golf membership would definitely fill the stocking and a shirt and a hat, so that’s why we opened up before the end of the year,” he said.
Johnson said, “We’re anticipating a late April opening, early May, depending on the winter. If winter treats us good, we’re ready to go, if not we can be delayed a little bit. We’ve got brand-new putting greens out there, all new drainage, all new sand traps, we’ve got tree clearing still to do, tree trimming to do, so we’re moving forward. [The] parking lot is paved [and] our golf carts are here.”
“The Big Oyster should be ready to open in April, so we’re excited,” he said.
Gene Thomas of Lewes was among the group of potential members. “It looks like there’s been some very positive restorations in the course itself, [including] tree removal. They’ve rebuilt a good portion of it,” he said. His wife Linda said, “I think it’s beautiful. I think the changes are going to be very positive. It was drastic but changes were needed.”
Dave Pyne is a Milford resident, a former longtime Shawnee CC member, and the father of Rookery golf superintendent Mike Pyne. His reaction was typical of many that morning. “So far it looks really good. The pro shop is all new. Looks like they’re making progress on the restaurant. I’m very excited about getting this back open. Redoing the greens is something. That should fix a lot of problems.”
Richard Collins of Lewes was also a member of Shawnee CC and more recently played regularly at Mulligan’s Pointe near Georgetown. “I had been a member here for 35 years. I really like what they’ve done with the bunkering system here. They’ve taken out a few of the trees, which I think is going to bode well, especially for the 17th green so it’ll flourish. I was about 20th in line this morning and came in and paid my dues and bought a shirt. I’m ready to go.”
The club previously announced it would sell 250 memberships for the 2024 season. It sold many of them that day but did not sell out. As of this writing, memberships remain available in three categories.
A single membership will cost $2,350 in 2024. An unlimited cart usage fee for the year is an additional $650.00.
The 2024 family membership covers a household, including children up to age 22, for $3,500. The unlimited cart fee is $1,000.
A corporate membership option is also available, covering up to five employees from the same company, for $6,000 per year. Additional employees can be added for $750 per person, and cart charges are included in this category.
Membership also provides a 10% discount on pro shop purchases, preferred tee times, and the opportunity to play in member-only tournaments. Active-duty military and first responders (police, fire, and EMT) also receive a 5% discount off membership fees.
The daily play fee schedule varies by season, day, and starting time, in addition to cart rentals. Not counting carts, the fees will range from $50.00 to $73.00.
SDGC staffer Bill Kupfer said, “The Open House was a huge success for us.” He also said the club recently hired Stewart Fisher, a former assistant golf professional at Queenstown Harbor near Kent Island, MD as its new golf pro.
The pro shop is now open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., selling new merchandise and the remaining memberships. For more information call 302-653-1212.