The 20-year-old public club in Wading River, N.Y., on Long Island’s north shore, has been shuttered for two years. But a sale to the owners of Parkland Golf Maintenance, who also have ownership interests in the nearby Baiting Hollow GC and the Vineyards Golf Club, is expected to close at the end of May. One of the buyers, Chris Vene, also owns a home and nursery near the 132-acre Great Rock property, and says he will be sensitive to neighbors’ concerns about event noise and other issues. A 2009 lawsuit was settled with a contingency that the clubhouse would be expanded to eliminate the need for outdoor tents, and the new owners now plan to pursue a permit for their approved site plan.
The long-dormant Great Rock Golf Club in Wading River, N.Y. on Long Island is about to be revived, the Riverhead News-Review of Mattituck, N.Y. reported.
Chris Vene and Anthony Lomangino are in the process of buying the 132-acre golf course and restaurant property, which has been shuttered for about two years, and plan to reopen it, the News-Review reported.
The sale is expected to close May 27, Vene said, and he plans to meet with neighbors after that to hear their concerns, the News-Review reported.
The prospective new owners have experience in running golf courses, the News-Review reported, as part-owners of Baiting Hollow (N.Y.) Golf Club and the Vineyards Golf Club in Riverhead, which are both also on Long Island’s north shore.
Vene and Lomangino also own Parkland Golf Maintenance, which services 10 golf clubs, with Great Rock slated to be the 11th, the News-Review reported.
“The concept will really be to be ‘a member for the day,’ ” Vene said of plans for reopening Great Rock.
While Baiting Hollow is a one-time $25,000 [fee], plus dues, and the Vineyard is $5,000 per year, and some people might not play that often or might not be able to afford those memberships, “So you go to Great Rock and you’re a member for the day,” he explained to the News-Review. “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.”
As for who will operate the restaurant, Vene said, “We’re working on it,” adding that he has interviewed “multiple local restaurateurs.”
Vene lives next to the course and has heard the complaints about noise from events held at Great Rock from prior owners, the News-Review reported.
“Obviously I want to be a good neighbor, because I am a neighbor and I know this site better than anybody,”said Vene, who also owns Wading River Nursery next to the course.
“My home value increases if the golf course is open and beneficial and looks good,” he noted.
Vene also wants to address some other problems that have generated complaints, the News-Review reported, such as rainwater runoff from the course affecting neighboring properties and golf balls landing in people’s yards.
“The other issue is the tent,” he said.
Great Rock’s former owners frequently held events under a temporary tent, which led to noise complaints from neighbors and, ultimately, a related lawsuit brought by the Town of Riverhead, the News-Review reported.
A 2009 settlement of that lawsuit required Great Rock to file a site-plan application to expand its clubhouse, so events would no longer need to be held under outdoor tents.
A resolution passed on May 7, 2020 by the Riverhead Planning Board resolution granted approval for the clubhouse expansion, despite some concerns raised by neighbors at a December 2017 hearing, the News-Review reported.
“We have final approval for our site plan, and all we need to do is file for a building permit,” said Vic Prusinowski, a consultant for Vene’s group.
The Great Rock golf course was built in 2001 and designed by William “Buddy” Johnson.