A golf course and golf pro return to the Cape Region
Last year, the Morrison family of Rehoboth Beach bought out the prior owners of the former Heritage Inn golf course off Postal Lane near Midway, and began a quiet process of restoration and renewal.
Now known as American Classic Golf Club, the 1,930-yard, 9-hole, par-31 layout offers a short-course alternative to the area’s 18-hole public golf courses.
Ty Mayers, the former 15-year golf pro at Kings Creek Country Club, is joining the new owners this season as their director of golf.
“I stopped by to chat with the Morrisons after I read an article in the Cape Gazette about the club,” Mayers said in a recent interview. “We knew each other from Kings Creek, and one thing led to another.”
Mayers said he left the golf business several years ago, in recognition of the work demands on golf pros and the need to meet his responsibilities as a single parent. He chose parenting, and developed a new career in real estate. Mayers continues to work on property sales and such, but will also assist the new owners with this new golf venture, now that his son will soon graduate college.
“I hope to bring some credibility to the course,” Mayers said. He must first reacquire his PGA card, which he expects to do by the end of February or early March. “Working with the Morrisons gives me a chance to get back into the game, without the full-on commitment and risk,” he said.
Mayers said Rock Morrison bought the course because “he loves to play golf. This place will not have a country club atmosphere. We’re trying to provide a welcome environment for juniors, beginners, seniors and women golfers,” he said.
The course does not have a driving range. However, the par-4 sixth hole can be reconfigured to a short par-3 over water when necessary, and with freed-up space just over 200 yards long, made available for eight to 10 hitting stations for lessons and club fittings.
The white clubhouse has enough space for a golf shop to arrange those fittings and lessons, as well as a modest dining facility. From past experience, Mayers knows that any food and beverage operation at this course should be pretty basic.
The most deluxe piece of equipment they are considering is a John Daly Pizza system, or something similar. A liquor license to provide the traditional post-round frosty adult beverage is also under consideration. “We know we have to keep to the KISS principle,” Mayers said.
The outdoor space on the south side of the clubhouse can be added to the indoor spots, and adds a couple dozen seats for those who would like to enjoy a hamburger and drink while watching the action a short distance away.
Mayers reiterated that American Classic won’t recreate the entire private country club experience. Nonetheless, they also expect to avoid the potential for the rough-and-tumble atmosphere shown so well in the Kevin Costner movie “Tin Cup.”
“We’re seeking to create a culture where folks accept the regular notions of playing golf,” he said.
“We’re hoping to make it the kind of place where we can have a Bring Your Grandchild to Golf Day. We want it to be fun for the 8-, the 18-, the 38-, and the 68-year-old.”
Mayers expects to carry out that mission through quiet diplomacy, which is something for which golf pros are both highly skilled and long experienced.
The current plans are to reopen the course for the 2014 season by March 15 or so, weather permitting.