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GM highlights initiatives to prepare for summer season 

The Ocean Pines Golf Course received 76 new golf carts on Thursday at a cost of $261,000

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

(May 25, 2023) General Manager John Viola kicked off Saturday’s Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors meeting with his report on the various initiatives his staff have undertaken since last month.

One of those objectives was getting the new dock is in place at the Yacht Club marina. That has been accomplished, Viola said.

“The life of the dock will be longer than the previous one and the maintenance will be less,” he said, adding, “If everything goes right, we will be pumping on Friday.”

Viola also told the board work remains to be done on marina software, “but we have a stop gap measure that will be successful,” he said.

Viola also thanked the resident who alerted him to the nonworking showers at the marina. He said his team has updated the showers and now all three showers are functioning.

Turning to golf, Viola said that numbers are up. He reported that on Friday alone, golf brought in $20K in revenue, with 258 rounds of golf played, up from 226 that same day last year. And those golfers will now get to ride in 76 brand new golf cars that arrived last Thursday.

Public works is renovating the golf course gazebo, which sits on the 14th fairway. Viola said he expects it to be back in place for the Taylor Bank golf tournament on July 17.

Palm trees have been installed at the North Gate bridge and the beach club. “It feels like you are in Jamaica,” Viola said.

The new NorthStar system is making check in at the Racquet Center easier, but using swipe cards and setting up online reservations for new classes, leagues and courts. Viola said he anticipates that the system will be in place for the golf course in FY 2024.

Maintenance at the Racquet Center has been a priority, with new paint throughout, lighting in restrooms and a new ice machine. A new shade structure is being built for the pickleball area. There is someone on the maintenance team who is certified and now maintaining the racquet center full time.

Cracks on the pickleball and paddle tennis courts are expected to be addressed soon.

Tim Johnson, the new Racquet Center manager highlighted some of the free clinics he has introduced since his arrival a month ago.

Johnson hosted a free clinic for Spec Tennis in April with 17 participants. He offered free tennis clinics in May, during National Tennis Month, with 17 juniors and nine adults participating.

Johnson is holding ongoing classes to integrate them into the racquet community. Linda Horst, the paddleball instructor has been hosting instructional classes and drill and play classes with 25 people every week. Johnson expects to get certified to teach platform tennis and will be ready to coach that sport.

“The results are in, people are joining and they are having a lot of fun,” Johnson said.

That includes 34 new pickleball members and 10 new platform members in the past month, according to Debbie Donahue, the director of Rec and Parks.

Jonson wants to form some leagues and host tournaments, and plans to host socials and fundraising events.

“We’ll be really active down there,” he said.

Donahue reported that 1,000 people attended Bay Day on May 14, an event the Maryland Coastal Bays Program brings to Ocean Pines every year.

Ocean Pines hosted a Bike Day on May 13. Seventy-five people signed up for the seven-14-mile ride that started at the golf club, but due to threatening weather, 33 participated in a seven-mile ride. Everyone got back to the clubhouse before the rain moved in and had a great time, with music, food and drink, and prizes.

Viola said he is putting a workgroup together to look at cycling events through the golf course in the future.

Viola continued to remind people of the lifeguard shortage and its impact on pool hours this coming season. His team will notify people weekly of pool hours and will continue to try to recruit new guards.