By Greg Ellison
Financial report shows play pushes income into black
(Sept. 3, 2020) A rush of new players has kept Ocean Pines golf operations profitable, while other amenities in the community haven’t fared as well during this summer of covid-19.
General Manager of Golf Operations John Malinowski said the Ocean Pines Golf Course has maintained fiscal stability despite obvious challenges.
“July was a pretty good month for us,” he said.
Golf Operations reported positive revenue variances during July and closed the month $25,694 overestimates, including higher-than-anticipated totals of $4,300 in green fees and $19,216 from cart rentals.
Monthly financials for August, which will available in roughly a week, are anticipated to continue the trend.
“We’ve been fortunate and have been fairly busy,” he said.
Malinowski said discussions with counterparts at other area courses indicates that demand for tee times have grown.
“It’s one of the few [sports] people can do outdoors with covid restrictions,” he said.
Apparently that fact is registering with novices.
“I’ve never seen so many people that have never played golf before come out and try it,” he said. “It shows promise in several ways.”
Malinowski said the new interest provides evidence that the Ocean Pines Golf Course is a quality offering. He also observed that more people are seeing golf as a release during the covid-19 pandemic.
“For the game of golf, what more could you ask for?” he said. “Obviously, we want people to be healthy and going back to work … but in this downtime, they’re starting to take up a new sport that is something they can play for the rest of their lives.”
Malinowski said after roughly a quarter century as golf pro, he has never witnessed the level of new players hitting the links.
“We’ve had foursomes come out where we’re putting four sets of rental clubs out because they haven’t played before and they want to play golf,” he said.
Malinowski said despite recurring news coverage indicating golf is a pastime in decline, the recent uptick proves the sport remains viable.
“For so long, all you’ve heard is golf is a dying sport. Well, I can tell you it’s not a dying sport,” he said.
In fact, what has happened over recent decades has been an expansion and subsequent retraction in the number of courses.
“What you’re seeing is in the 1990s all these golf courses popped up because real estate builders were building [them] to sell homes,” he said. “There’s no doubt that it was overbuilt.”
Over the past three decades, the number of courses in or around Worcester County has jumped from a handful to nearly two dozen in recent years.
“For a long time, at least for the past 20 years in our area, the total number of golfers has remained the same. It’s just the number of golf courses has either grown or diminished,” he said.
The glut of facilities has thinned out the relatively stable number of players.
“Everybody’s piece of the pie is smaller but as the golf courses start to shrink, everybody’s piece of the pie grows,” he said. “It’s exciting news.”
Malinowski said the consensus among other area golf pros is the sport has experienced an uptick this year.
“Nationwide, it’s definitely going up and it’s growing,” he said.
The pandemic also has highlighted the suitability of golf as a pastime that can be pursued with friends while maintaining social distancing.
“It’s unfortunate times for a lot of people but … that’s where things grow sometimes,” he said. “It was never expected I can tell you that.”
To learn more about the Ocean Pines Golf Course visit oceanpinesgolf.org. To book tee times call 4-641-6057 x2.