Old Pro Golf Celebrates 60 Years In Ocean City

Old Pro Golf Celebrates 60 Years In Ocean City
The indoor Old Pro Golf course on 136th Street is pictured. Photo by Bethany Hooper

OCEAN CITY – Despite the many changes that have occurred in town over the last 60 years, the connections of Old Pro Golf say their attractions remain a constant for locals and visitors.

Throughout May, Old Pro Golf is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a month of specials and events. President Scott Schoellkopf said the company is showing appreciation to its customers and employees with discounts, free games and random prizes.

“We appreciate the people that want to celebrate the 60th with us,” he said. “It’s a celebration but we’re not going anywhere. We’re excited to see what the next milestone holds.”

Old Pro Golf is a family owned and operated business founded by Herbert and Aileen Schoellkopf in the early 1960s. While Herb Schoellkopf spent much of the 1950s designing, building and operating miniature golf courses, driving ranges and other amusements along the East Coast, he opened his first Old Pro Golf on the Ocean City pier in 1963.

“Old Pro Golf is synonymous with my dad, Herb Schoellkopf,” Scott said. “He started building


The original Old Pro Golf on the Wicomico Street Pier is pictured in 1963.

miniature golf courses in the 50s for other people. At one point he had a contract to build one in or near Ocean City, and he fell in love with the area. So his first course was on the pier.”

In the years that followed, Herb Schoellkopf would go on to produce other miniature golf courses throughout Ocean City, including 23rd Street, 28th Street, 68th Street and 136th Street. As the town grew, Old Pro Golf grew along with it.

“Basically one thing my dad did was he grew with Taylor Bank,” Scott said. “When they opened a location at 20th Street, he bought a piece of land at 23rd Street. When they did midtown, his next piece of land was 28th Street. He grew from the south end to the north. And when Taylor Bank bought a piece of property at 140th Street, he bought one at 136th Street. That was one of his quips. He followed the banks north.”

That business strategy, Scott said, served him well. Today, the four locations attract more than 300,000 visitors annually.

“My dad was pretty much a creative genius,” he said. “He was a very hardworking, creative and, at times, very lucky guy … Everything you see goes back to him.”

Over the course of his career, Herb Schoellkopf designed and built more than 150 miniature golf courses. He was also credited with being one of the originators of the Philadelphia School of Miniature Course Design. His courses often featured elaborate themes, mechanical figures, obstacles and more.

“There are other courses out there that try to mimic the game of golf …,” Scott said. “His theory was more that the shots were more bank shots, target shots, and there were obstacles, moving figures and all of that. Then we added more water features, landscaping and fog.”

Today, each Old Pro Golf location features different themes. Guests can play the Temple of the Dragons course at 23rd Street, the Renaissance Castle course at 28th Street, the Prehistoric Dinosaur and Undersea Adventure courses at 68th Street, or the Safari Village and Caribbean Pirates courses at 136th Street. Patrons will also find the next generation of family operators at the helm.

“We joke that everybody that works here is either a family member, or a friend, or a friend of a family member,” Scott said.

Despite the growing number of attractions in town, Scott said Old Pro Golf remains a staple among residents and visitors. He said visiting an Old Pro Golf course is a quintessential Ocean City experience.

“Our real demographic is the 8- to 12-year-old who brings his family,” Scott said. “But then when they get older and have their families, especially after 60 years, we have had third and fourth generations coming. They played with us in the 60s, and now they are bringing their grandchildren.”

In celebration of Old Pro Golf’s 60th anniversary, the company will host appreciation days for military members, educators and first responders throughout the month of May. Patrons ages 60 and older can also play for free. For more information on Old Pro Golf, visit oldprogolf.com.

“The interesting thing about being around for 60 years is how much has changed, and yet how much has stayed the same,” Scott said. “The game has not changed one bit. You still have a ball and a club and a hole and a family playing golf.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.