Golfing Magazine recently had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Moore, Director of Golf at Pine Ridge Golf Club in Coram, Long Island's newest East End layout. Tom's new course is also part of the Avalon Pines housing community, a plot of brand new houses for rent right alongside the golf course.
GM: Youʼre here at the newest golf course on Long Island. Tell us about whatʼs here, and what stage the golf course is at right now.
TM: The golf course is now officially open for play seven days a week. We had a wonderful growing process that was very successful. We opened in the fall last year for limited play. The feedback thus far has been tremendous.
GM: Iʼve noticed that also. Despite being a daily fee golf course
that just opened, Iʼve already heard a lot about the course. A lot of people are talking about the place!
TM: Not to scare off anybody, but I think that the thing that people
are talking about is the degree of difficulty. Pine Ridge is an extremely good shotmaker's course. All 18 holes are tree-lined, and the design is very consistent from the fi rst tee to the 18th green. We don't have a lot of water, but we have some terrific green complexes with a lot of undulation. They're really fun to putt on. Our motto, “Bring Your Game,” makes sense to golfers right when they step on the course. No matter what your handicap is, you need to bring your game to shoot a respectable score. It's kind of unique to Long Island because we are taking that approach that we have designed and maintained this course for the avid golfer—that golfer that plays 25 or more times a year who can really appreciate a diffi cult golf course. We believe that if you can't beat the golf course, you'll keep coming back to try again. We're very up front about the diffi culty of the course, what tees
each person should use, and so on.
GM: What is somebody going to fi nd when they get here?
TM: We run the gamut of golf course operations. We're trying to really create a “Golfer's Heaven,” if you will. We have an 8,000-square-foot clubhouse currently under construction. That should be finished in June of this year. We will have a restaurant open seven days a week that will be open to everyone, including golfers and members of the residential community that sits around the course, which makes it unique in and of itself. There is an
open driving range right now that measures 340 yards by 100 yards. It's very expansive, and eventually it will accommodate grass tees seven days a week. We plan on completing an acre-and-ahalf practice putting green and a separate acre pitching area with bunkers in August/September of this year. The pro shop will be roughly 1,200 square feet, and will be inside the clubhouse right next to the restaurant. We will be set up for outings, catering, and anything else you can think of. We're going for a golfer's haven with a resort atmosphere.
GM: The picture you describe sounds almost like Pinehurst to me.
Tree-lined, with a resort feel to it, not to mention challenging holes of golf and extensive practice areas.
TM: To be mentioned in the same breath as Pinehurst is a wonderful feeling. It's certainly something we were aiming for, and I think itʼs something that is really unique to Long Island. That's one of the reasons we call ourselves Pine Ridge Golf Club and not Pine Ridge Golf Course, because I feel like a golf club encompasses everything about your golf round and everything that a golfer would need.
GM: You have over 450 housing units around the golf course, but when I took a ride around the course earlier, I almost didn't realize
it. Were you intending to make the houses inconspicuous?
TM: One of the best compliments we get is when golfers come in
here and say that they didn't even recognize that the houses were
around the golf course. They do not encroach on the course; there's plenty of room to play. As far as the houses go, they provide just a little extra subtlety to the course.
GM: Let's talk about you for a minute, Tom. You've spent quite
a bit of time on Long Island at some great clubs.
TM: I've been on Long Island for roughly ten years. I've had some incredible opportunities to work on some wonderful golf courses on Long Island. I was at Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington. I was fortunate enough to come on during the construction of that property, and I stayed on for fi ve years. They have one of the best clubhouses on Long Island. I was lucky enough to get involved with the Arnold Palmer Golf Management organization, and to get into a situation where I learned the corporate end of the golf business. That helped me become accomplished in a golf operations capacity. I then moved on to the Links at Shirley. If you ask anyone who has played it, theyʼll tell you that itʼs one of the best courses on Long Island.
To be out there for three years, being a part of all the holes of golf they have, from the 18-hole course to the par-3 course, was just a great experience. Then when Pine Ridge presented itself, from construction on, it was just a wonderful opportunity, and a chance to put my own fi ngerprint on a project. I have input on how we run the course operations, the way we do things. When it came up, I just had to jump at it.
GM: If I were to sit and talk with you at the end of the golf season, what would you have liked to accomplish this year?
TM: Thinking as an operations guy, the fi rst thing I'd think was, “How did I fare against my budget?”
Most important, though, is the feedback. The golfing community, even though there is a lot of competition, is a family-type of community. People talk, word of mouth spreads, it can really make or break you. What Iʼm looking for is a situation where every person who sets foot on this property had a great time golfing. I'd like them to tell their friends, “Pine Ridge is great, you should go see what they're doing out there.” I hope that the course just keeps
getting better and better.
GM: Having seen the property, I feel confident that you'll get just what you're hoping for Tom. Good luck in your first full season.