Ocean Pines Golf Club to Introduce Polo Golf
Ocean Pines Golf Club announced today the introduction of polo golf, slated to begin in 2018. This new program is designed to take advantage of the course's ample green space and will appeal to equestrians and golfers alike.
Polo golf, which combines the traditional team sport played on horseback and elements of golf, is relatively new to the United States; it has been popular for years in the United Kingdom. Rather than walking or using a cart, foursomes ride individually on horseback and attempt to hit and putt the golf ball into the hole.
Ocean Pines PGA Director of Golf John Malinowski said, "We're always looking for new ways to appeal to both our current golfing community and those who may be looking for a reason to try golf. Polo golf offers a fun twist to two sports steeped in history. We hope area residents are willing to give it a try."
The introduction of this new sport will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Ocean Pines Association. Malinowski said, "Many long-time residents of Ocean Pines will remember that the community originally included stables. We thought the 50th anniversary was a good opportunity to reintroduce this part of Ocean Pines' history and tie in to the celebrations already taking place throughout the year. If it proves to be popular enough, we may continue to offer polo golf even after the anniversary year."
Malinowski acknowledges that golfers and residents who live on the golf course may have concerns about the damage that horses could cause to the course and the surrounding areas. He said, "Our biggest concern is maintaining the superb course conditions that people have come to expect from Ocean Pines. To minimize the impact of hoof prints on the fairways and greens, players will be riding Shetland ponies, whose smaller size will reduce turf damage."
To further minimize damage, players will be provided with saddlebags containing the same bottles of sand already provided on golf carts. Players can use it to repair divots as they normally would when playing golf.
Prices for the new sport are yet to be determined, Malinowski said, but he expects the cost to be in line with a regular round of golf.
"Since players will be riding on ponies instead of carts, our fuel costs are eliminated. The exercise is actually beneficial for the animals, and since we have plenty of grass, there's no expense to actually feed the animals," Malinowski said.
Malinowski said that the ponies are being loaned to Ocean Pines at no additional cost by a farm in western Maryland. The farm owners are using Ocean Pines as a pilot program and hope to expand the sport throughout the East Coast.
For more information, please contact John Malinowski, PGA director of golf at Ocean Pines Golf Club, at 410-641-6057.
Editor's Note: Readers who are either excited or angered by this new program are encouraged to keep the posting date of this article in mind.