OCEAN PINES – One Ocean Pines resident has a chance to win $1 million in a golf challenge set for Nov. 19 at the Ocean Pines Golf Club.
John Smith, a part-time Ocean Pines resident and Arnold, Md., native, went head-to-head with nearly 100 other golfers in a Resident’s Day qualifying competition held Oct. 23.
Smith, who was playing with visiting friends from Annapolis, said he had no knowledge of the competition until he had already hit the ball.
“I was really very surprised,” Smith said. “I walked over and this guy was measuring. I asked what he was doing and he said they were having a competition for whoever comes closest to the pin.”
Those who played a full round of golf that day were given the opportunity to square off against other players on the par-three seventh hole to see who could land their ball closest on the green.
The club’s PGA Director of Golf John Malinowski said the friendly competition was a way to recognize its patrons.
“Over 2,000 Ocean Pines residents and property owners have played golf here over the past few years,” Malinowski said in a statement. “We wanted to show our appreciation for our community members’ support by creating a special day where they could enjoy discounted rounds, range balls, and food and drink.”
Malinowski said this was the first Resident’s Day event since he arrived four years ago, and locals had the opportunity to receive $1 discounts on range buckets and reduced prices on golf rounds.
Smith said he was surprised to have won the competition.
“When I got the call, I was actually in North Carolina,” he said. “I was flabbergasted. I’m not that good of a golfer.”
Smith, whose ball came seven feet, six inches from the pin, will now move on to the second and final round, which will require him to make a hole-in-one from 170 yards at the ground’s 18th hole.
“A few came close,” Malinowski said. “But he definitely came the closest.”
Officials have offered for him to practice on the club’s course, but Smith said he would probably practice at a golf course in Queenstown before the event.
“It’s a tough hole,” he said. “I just sure hope I don’t embarrass myself.”
Smith, a retiree and golfer of nearly 35 years, is no stranger to the game, and both his homes are located near courses.
His permanent residence in Arnold is located within a golf community, and his Ocean Pines home on Sundial Circle backs up to the club’s greens.
If he achieves this task in one shot, Smith will receive installments over a 40-year period, equating to $1 million.
The club is working with event sponsor Great Shot Golf, an organization that provides courses with funded competitions, that day at 11 a.m.
Smith holds reservations about his abilities, but said he would try his best.
“I am not sure,” he said. “I just hope I hit the green.”
Founded in 1972, the Ocean Pines Golf Club is the only course on the Eastern Shore designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., an iconic course architect.
For more information on the event, contact John Malinowski at 410-641-6057 or email [email protected].