BERLIN – The Ocean Pines Association took over management duties at the community’s golf course on March 1.
On Feb. 28, the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) abruptly announced that it would be managing the course itself as of March 1. Since 2015, the course had been run by Nebraska-based firm Landscapes Unlimited. In a news release issued by OPA, Tom Everett, president of Landscapes Unlimited, said the decision to terminate the company’s management contract was amicable.
“The new board and interim general manager wanted to consolidate all operations under one roof,” Everett said.
Landscapes Unlimited took over management duties at the Robert Trent Jones golf course in May 2015 after the OPA board voted not to renew its contract with Billy Casper Golf, the company that previously ran the course. At the time, several board members were critical of the course’s performance under Casper Golf’s leadership. Landscapes Unlimited, which manages 40 golf properties nationwide, was hired with the understanding that it would focus on increasing membership rather than emphasizing outside play.
“Landscapes Unlimited has some of the best people in the industry and worked really hard to achieve the objectives that were laid out for them, but in the end we felt it best that we control our own destiny going forward,” said Tom Herrick, president of the OPA board. “Resident play increased under Landscapes’ leadership, but membership sales had not taken off like we had hoped.”
Herrick said he did however, give the company credit for laying the groundwork for the course to continue to improve its atmosphere.
According to Everett the course “grew operating profit” during the first year of Landscapes Unlimited management but was then hampered by fewer playable days during the past 10 months.
“We reached out to Landscapes and asked if they would consider relinquishing operations to the OPA and the general manager and they agreed to do so,” said Brett Hill, OPA’s interim general manager. “They really wanted to continue what they started, but understood the association’s predicament.”
According to OPA, the course’s current on-site management is expected to remain in place in spite of the transition.
Everett said his company wished Ocean Pines the best.
“We always want to make sure we leave a facility in better shape than when we found it, and I can confidently say we have done so at Ocean Pines,” Everett said. “We certainly wanted to continue to develop the club environment — the people of Ocean Pines deserve nothing less. But neither did we want to stand in the association’s way if they wanted to centralize operations.”