officials hope its new ace in the hole will help bring in new members in the competitive Five Towns market. The ace? New course superintendent Adam Thomas, whose past posts include renowned courses at in Southampton and in New Jersey.
General manager Leo McMahon said Thomas has already made improvements to the course, and is hopeful conditions will continue to get better by springtime. Patch recently spoke with both men.
Tell us about your background and how you got here.
Thomas: I started working on a golf course in college. From there, I decided to make it my profession and got a graduate degree in Florida. I worked at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey, then Shinnecock, Pine Valley and Richmond Valley Country Club in Staten Island.
Thomas: The property is beautiful and has a lot of potential. There are a lot of holes on the water. Shinneock has a similar layout where the elements come into play. The wind is such a big factor. It’s a unique property — very scenic.
So how do you keep track of what you need to do on the course?
Thomas: As far as preparing the greens, it’s very important for a superintendent to play at least twice a month. When you’re rolling the ball on the greens you can make changes as needed. You also need to get feedback from members. They’re the ones who know the course best. You prepare by being here every single day.
Tell me about the recent improvements.
Thomas: The main improvements have been fixing the turf loss from Hurricane Irene. We got the greens to new condition as well. Those were the top two properties coming in.
McMahon: Our entire clubhouse is going under renovations this winter, with new carpets, ceilings and lighting in the whole club. We’re going to give the whole place a facelift.
What would you tell people to get them to come through your doors?
McMahon: I would say Adam Thomas is our superintendent and I’d list his resume. Pine Valley and Shinnecock are two of the best clubs in the world. He knows greatness and what it takes to achieve it. The course and conditions are going to improve drastically now that we have Adam on board.
What are the course’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?
McMahon: Its greatest strength is the proximity to the water. There are several holes right by the water. It’s got beautiful views and great wind.
Our weakness has been the condition of the golf course, which is why we hired Adam. We already have the best price in the area, now we’re going to have the best course condition wise. I’d tell people to sign up before it’s too late.
Can you talk about the recent layoffs of eight employees at the club?
McMahon: With the layoffs, we did what other clubs do. It’s just the way it goes in the Long Island golf business. Staff gets reduced. We didn’t lay anyone off due to poor performance. It’s a basic business move if you’re in the northeast United States.
How do you convince people who have never played a game of golf to try it out?
McMahon: This year, we’re starting brand new developmental programs for children and adults. Golf is on a little bit of a decline right now. We want to do our part to build up the game again. We’re more affordable than other clubs. We have the opportunity to introduce people to the game of golf. New people are the easiest to teach. Experienced people, you have to break their habits.
McMahon: Adam and I are both golf course lifers. We’re into it. We want to see great things happen around here.