Ocean Pines Golf Club Reopens for Business Following COVID Closure
(May 11, 2020) The Ocean Pines Golf Club welcomed back its first customers of the season on Saturday after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan broadened the list of outdoor activities allowed under the state's stay-at-home order.
Although construction on the new golf clubhouse and grounds maintenance continued during the closure, golfers had not been allowed to play since the order took effect on March 23.
"The governor's announcement meant we had to hustle to get the course ready for play, but after a couple of days of hard work we were able to meet the restrictions placed on golf courses and were happy to be open again," Ocean Pines PGA General Manager of Golf John Malinowski said.
Some of those restrictions include limiting golfers who don't reside in the same household to one person per cart, prepayment over the phone of greens and cart fees, and regular sanitization of carts and on-course restrooms.
Despite having to adapt to a new set of procedures, golfers were excited to be able to play the Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed course again.
Ocean Pines Golf member Don McMullen, who played in Saturday's first foursome with fellow members Paul Kelly and Frank Ruggiere, as well as with Frank's son Steven Ruggiere, said the experience of returning to his home course with the new safety measures in place was "comforting."
"I was greeted by John, a long-time bag drop employee. He had a mask on and gloves, and I was greeted professionally as I always have been," he said.
McMullen pointed out that other precautions had been put in place to protect golfers during play.
"The flags had a rubber insert at the bottom of the flag. We didn't have to touch the flagpole, and the ball was easily retrieved from the cup," he said.
The work that the golf maintenance staff was able to complete during the closure was also evident, according to McMullen.
"The course was in excellent shape. The tee boxes, greens and fairways were very nice," he said. "The cutting of trees, drainage work and overall maintenance of our course over the winter and this spring was obvious and appreciated."
Frank Ruggiere commented that, even with Saturday's less-than-ideal weather conditions, his first round back after the closure was an enjoyable one.
"Wind, cold temperatures and social distancing can't stop us. It was wonderful to get out and play golf with my son and my buddies. The course is in fantastic condition," he said.
More information about restrictions currently governing play at the Ocean Pines Golf Club is available at https://www.oceanpinesgolf.org/news/166-ocean-pines-golf-club-to-reopen-may-9
Reservations for tee times can be made by calling 410-641-6057, ext. 2.