OPA General Manager, Golf Pro host meeting with golfers

Viola and Malinowski detail course improvements, construction timeline for new clubhouse 

Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola addresses a crowd of golfers during a meeting on Oct. 14.

Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola and Golf Director John Malinowski met with about 75 golf members on Monday to discuss course conditions, the timeline for the new clubhouse, and other upcoming happenings at the course.  

Viola showed slides from about a month ago of significant wear on the grass of the 14th hole green.  

“There was some type of consistent situation that was occurring,” he said. “We believe we knew what it was and, when the consultants came in, they substantiated what John and I thought. We have taken measures to address the situation and, hopefully, it doesn’t happen again.” 

A follow-up slide, taken Oct. 11, showed new sod installed on the green and the rough patches virtually gone. 

“Here’s what the 14th green looks like today,” Viola said, drawing applause from those in attendance. “I can tell you this, John [Malinowski] himself was up there working on this. I thought they did an excellent job with the sod that they got.” 

Viola next presented a timeline for the new, one-story Golf clubhouse. Between now and the middle of November, he said, the foundation should be set, concrete poured, and slab work done. Framework will start in November, with the building enclosed somewhere around the Christmas holiday.  

“Hopefully, the weather holds up for us,” he said. “Then the [contractors] can work on the inside, and they can start with the siding, the trim, the electrical, plumbing, insulation and drywall. All that will bring us to the flooring, the painting, the ceiling tile [from February into April], and that will bring us to the third week in April, and then there’s a final punch list. 

“Hopefully, everything is completed that first week in May, when we start the outside play,” he added. 

Viola said the clubhouse would include meeting space, with a 75-person community room that can expand to hold banquets of up to 140 people. The building will also feature an outdoor deck, pro shop, club-fitting room, bag room, and the Tern Grille restaurant. The Matt Ortt Companies, who will operate food and beverage programs in the building, had input on the Tern Grille layout, Viola said.   

A prefabricated cart barn is scheduled to be delivered and set around the middle of November, Viola added.  

He said the course will also get a new golf leaderboard similar to ones at Glen Riddle, Ocean City and Lighthouse Sound. Viola originally envisioned Public Works building the structure, but after doing research discovered a local vendor who uses sponsorship tiles on the leaderboard to offset the cost, meaning Ocean Pines will not have to pay for it. 

“We are in the process of signing a contract with that gentleman to have something like that built for us when we open up, hopefully, on May 1,” Viola said. “There will be sponsorships here. That’s obviously what he does, and that’s how you get a leaderboard of this value that’s not going to cost us anything.” 

Viola said the leaderboard would have several panels used to hang tournament information, as well as a digital display to show live tournament scores.  

He added a patio area, provided by another vendor at a minimal cost, would surround the leaderboard, and that neither structure would block the view of the course from the clubhouse. 

“It’ll be – what does Trump say? – a great patio, the best patio you ever saw. And somebody else is going to pay for it!” Viola said, drawing a big laugh from the crowd.  

“Now we’ll have this beautiful deck, beautiful clubhouse, we’ll have this patio and this beautiful leaderboard … so, what do we need? What’s missing May 1? We need a tournament!” Viola said.  

He said Don McMullen volunteered to help organize the event, scheduled to coincide with the opening of the new clubhouse.  

“I’m working with someone to sponsor it and I have a handshake agreement,” Viola said. “That should bring in money for Ocean Pines.” 

Viola also answered questions from golfers for roughly 30 minutes.  

“Let’s have a big round of applause for our general manager,” McMullen said at the end of the meeting. “That’s the first time in the history of Ocean Pines that a general manager got the Golf group together like this about something new that’s going to happen. I certainly applaud that.” 

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