The public facility in Wading River, N.Y., has had a checkered history since it opened in 2001, but its new owners have undertaken renovation and modification projects since acquiring it in May 2021, including improving the golf course’s irrigation and drainage system, upgrading bunkers and acquiring a new fleet of electric carts. A rebuild of the driving range is also planned. The new owners also have ownership stakes in other local clubs as well as a golf course maintenance company. Their goal is to now provide Great Rock players with a “member for the day” experience.
Great Rock Golf Club, the 21-year-old public course in Wading River, N.Y. that closed in 2019 and was sold to new owners in 2021 (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/great-rock-golf-club-to-be-revived-under-new-ownership/), could reopen for play in the spring of 2022, possibly by Memorial Day, according to staff, Golf on Long Island reported.
The course, now dormant for nearly two and a half years, has undergone renovation and modification projects since its sale in May 2021, Golf on Long Island reported. In addition to general upkeep of the fairways and greens, maintenance crews have improved the irrigation and drainage systems, upgraded facilities to accommodate a new fleet of electric carts, and renovated bunkers and other areas of play.
Trees have been removed from parts of the course as well, Golf on Long Island reported. Still to come is a rebuild of the driving range.
The layout of the course is unchanged. “When everything is finished, the course will be much better than what was here before,” a staffer told Golf on Long Island.
The new, local owners are Chris Vene and Anthony Lomangino, Golf on Long Island reported. They have ownership stakes in the nearby Baiting Hollow (N.Y.) Golf Club and The Vineyards Golf Club in Riverhead, N.Y., as well as a golf course maintenance company. One of their goals, Vene recently told the Riverhead News-Review, is to provide Great Rock’s players with a “member for the day” experience.
“So you go to Great Rock and you’re a member for the day,” he said. “You have a great facility, and you have access to the locker room, the sauna, the showers, the driving range. You can hit as many balls as you want and then, hopefully, get a great meal at the restaurant.”
The restaurant issue remains unsettled, Golf on Long Island reported. Known as Pure North Fork, it closed prior to the course’s shutdown in 2019, four years after a major investment that transformed the dining space previously occupied by Blackwells into a modern, locally focused bistro.
Great Rock’s return will be a much-needed win for local players in a part of Long Island that has lost several courses in recent years, most notably Tallgrass GC in Shoreham, N.Y. in 2017, Golf on Long Island reported. Great Rock, with a course designed by William “Buddy” Johnson, opened in 2001 on hilly terrain and came to be known for extremely fast greens and an upscale, yet laid-back atmosphere. Its namesake rock, dug up during the course’s construction, sits next to the #10 green.
The course briefly closed in the 2013-14 offseason and reopened a few months later under new owner, Golf on Long Island reported. In 2019, word started to circulate that the conditions at the course were deteriorating. Dozens of local players posted reviews and photos on platforms like Golf Advisor detailing a neglected golf course with crabgrass-covered fairways and bunkers, bare greens and unmowed rough.
The club was also the source of controversy in its first decade because of complaints about noise from events held at the property, which eventually led to a lawsuit from the Town of Riverhead and a settlement that required Great Rock to expand its clubhouse and cease from holding events in outdoor tents.
In October 2019, Great Rock suddenly closed for the year with little notice, Golf on Long Island reported. Aside from a vague Facebook post last spring about a potential reopening, the course has remained silent.