Joe O’Connor and Jennifer Webster O’Connor assumed ownership of the Sandwich, Mass., property on February 1, and will both provide golf instruction. The owners are expanding leagues and junior programs, and recently hired a new chef who revamped the menu and will keep the restaurant open three to four days a week year-round.
Joe O’Connor and Jennifer Webster O’Connor had the same dream from the moment they both began working in the golf industry. But it wasn’t until they joined forces, in both business and in marriage, that they turned their dream into reality, the Hyannis, Mass., Cape Cod Times reported.
The couple assumed ownership of Holly Ridge Golf Club in Sandwich, Mass., on February 1. With a combined 50 years working in the business, they arrived at the par-3 facility with plenty of experience, although none of it came on Cape Cod. They knew that Holly Ridge was the golf facility they had been searching for the moment they first drove into the parking lot, the Times reported.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘We need to find a way to make this work,’ ” Webster O’Connor said.
“In this field, every head professional dreams of owning their own facility,” O’Connor said. “But for a lot of different reasons the opportunity doesn’t present itself. Our dream has come true.”
The couple married in 2013, but they still weren’t certain that owning a golf course together made sense. They figured they could use Northland as a trial run for their working relationship, the Times reported.
“Not every couple can work together,” Webster O’Connor said. “We needed to do that first.”
They are not sure which was more unlikely, the romance or finally owning a golf course. Jennifer is 41, while Joe is 19 years older. But both are entrepreneurs by nature, so they never stopped dreaming, the Times reported.
“It’s just so exciting to say at the end of the day that this is ours,” O’Connor said.
The opportunity to purchase Holly Ridge came about because of Webster O’Connor’s connections to Middleton Golf Club, which had owned the Cape course since 1995, the Times reported.
“When they decided to sell, they called and asked if I was interested,” she said. “We knew this was the type of facility we wanted.
“There are three big reasons why golf has seen a decline,” Webster O’Connor said. “Cost, time and difficulty. As a par-3 course that is friendly, affordable and comfortable to play, this facility answers all those questions.”
It was clear during a recent visit that the couple plans on being a visible daily presence at Holly Ridge. Webster O’Connor worked the front desk and patrolled the putting green, while O’Connor chatted with visitors and spent time sitting in a golf cart, surveying the activity, the Times reported.
Both will provide golf instruction. They are also expanding the numerous leagues and junior programs, and they have instituted a policy for junior golfers not yet out of high school to play for free when accompanied by a parent, the Times reported.
“We’re trying to get kids out here and introduce them to the game. This is the perfect facility for that,” O’Connor said.
They have also hired a new restaurant chef and revamped the menu. Their goal is to turn Holly Ridge into a destination to not only play golf but to enjoy lunch and dinner after the round is over. They plan to keep the restaurant open three or four days per week throughout the year, the Times reported.
“We will be hands-on owners,” O’Connor said. “There is such a strong foundation at Holly Ridge and within the Sandwich community. We want to bring that private club attitude to a daily fee public course.”
For Holly Ridge’s new owners, who both grew up at public facilities, this new venture is a return to their roots, the Times reported.
“We’ve been here since February,” said Webster O’Connor, “and there are still days when we drive out of the parking lot, look at each other and say, ‘Can you believe this has happened?’”