GREENWOOD - A new season is underway at a local golf course that appeared to be destined for closure a year ago.
The Greenwood Golf Club, now owned by Eagle Crest Golf Course owner and president Osbourne Ward, officially opened for the season April 12.
Pro shop manager Ryan O’Rourke has noticed that several of the loyal club members that have golfed out of the 18-hole course at 14 Wing Greenwood for years have already been out to play a round or two.
“They’re very happy with the condition that the greens are in. They feel that the course wintered really well, and I have to give credit to the maintenance staff,” he said.
The course attracts a core group of faithful golfers who have been honing their skills at Greenwood’s club for, in some cases, decades.
“They’ve been members here for basically their entire golfing lives, so they love this place and they’re super happy that it’s still open,” said O’Rourke.
“They’re really excited for the year. They’re very, very happy that we’re here to keep their course open and they’ve been very welcoming to all of us.”
Last April, former 14 Wing Greenwood base commander Col. Pat Thauberger announced that the 18-hole course would close for good at the end of the season.
“An extensive options analysis on the Greenwood Golf Club was conducted through the winter of 2017, finding few opportunities for changing a declining membership trend and improving revenue,” a press release circulated by 14 Wing Greenwood April 11 stated.
Ward took note of the public outcry that followed the announcement that the course was marked for closure, and publicly announced interest in purchasing the facility in December.
The new management team opted to offer a dual membership special to attract newcomers and provide seasoned members in both Greenwood and Centreville, where Eagle Crest is located, with some variety.
“The Eagle Crest member base is, so far, much more inclined to buy a dual membership,” said O’Rourke, estimating that roughly 70 per cent of the members opted to take advantage of the dual membership promotion.
He added that about 20 per cent of the Greenwood club’s members bought dual memberships for the Par 72 courses, and the company is working toward increasing this number.
Greenwood’s course, dating back to 1959, is known for its location in scenic surroundings and the occasional air show as planes come and go from the base, O’Rourke said.
“Having the Annapolis River run basically right through the middle of it makes it different from a lot of courses around here.”
In saving the course from closure, O’Rourke said the new owners also managed to spare some local jobs.
“We were able to keep over half of the people employed,” he said.
“We saved 70 per cent of the jobs here, which was a big thing for us.”
Moving forward, they hope to see plenty of new faces as they strive to ensure the golf course is a sustainable business. The Propeller Bar and Grill, a restaurant open to anyone looking for a bite to eat, was slated to open May 4.
“That is open to the general public. They don’t have to be a golfer if they want to come eat lunch,” said O’Rourke.
“We want people to come from the base and come from the community, not just to golf.”