Stewart Fisher named Director of Golf at SDGC

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Stewart Fisher, Director of Golf at Southern Delaware Golf Club.

Stewart Fisher developed his love of golf as a college student at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and he’s looking forward to bringing that love to the Milford golfing community as the first director of golf at the new Southern Delaware Golf Club (SDGC),

The SDGC, formerly known as Shawnee Acres and Rookery North, is tentatively scheduled to open in mid-April, according to Fisher.

“When I talked to Bill (Kupfer, SDGC’s director of agronomy) about the position,” said Fisher, who was working as an assistant professional at Queenstown Harbor Golf Club at the time. “He (Kupfer) told me what our owners are hoping to do here, and I fell in love with their love for Milford and what they believe in this golf course and what it can be. I’m very excited and honored to be a part of it.”

The vision is to “reboot” the golf course in a way that golfers who played Shawnee Acres and Rookery North in the past will remember, but with a few tweaks.

“Different is the word I would use,” said Fisher, who has been working in the golf industry for the past 10 years at courses such as Queenstown Harbor (most recently), Bayside in Selbyville and the Bay Club in Berlin, MD. “That’s the word I use a lot in going from golf courses that are already established. They’ve got a lot of procedures, got everything up and running, and I’ve been lucky enough to just step in and continue with the process.

“Difficult sure, but different and really having to use your imagination more than I’ve had to at other courses, but in a great and exciting way. It’s an opportunity to create a golf operation, a culture and a team, a family if you will at a rebooting, reopening golf course.”

Fisher says the reworking of the course is akin to golfers facing a blind tee shot or one into a green where the imagination is needed to put the ball in the right position to achieve the upmost success on a hole.

He attributes much of that to Kupfer who is overseeing the changes that are being made to the course.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play Shawnee or Rookery North, but I’m hearing through word of mouth what it was like,” Fisher said. “What golfers who have played here before and new golfers can expect are brand-new greens. Bill (Kupfer) and his team, all in-house, did a great job. They’ve done the brand-new greens, resloping, new bunkering. There were 69 bunkers when the project started and now there are 59 – all brand new.

“As for a layout from a visual perspective for golfers – it’s going to look very similar to what Shawnee and Rockery North looked like although we are moving a couple of tee boxes. That will be exciting, so there will be some new views for certain tees.”

Kupfer is also seeding tee boxes and fairways which will all be Bermuda grass, Fisher said. Trees have also been removed from certain areas to make tee boxes, fairways and greens “happy.”

As for a “signature” hole, Fisher said, it’s still a little early to be determined because the course is still a little “raw” and trees have not begun to bloom yet.

“Having said that, I believe 18 will be a fantastic finishing hole. It’s a long, par-4 up the hill,” he said. “It will be a really nice view with the new clubhouse and the restaurant (Big Oyster) in the background,” he said. “Number two is a hole I’m big fan of. It’s a long, thin par-5 with a great green complex that will get you in trouble if you’re not careful.

“This course has a ton of character and that’s what I’m most excited about.”

In addition, there are plans to update the driving range with 50-foot netting going down the range’s left side and at the end of the range which will allow golfers to use their woods whereas they could not previously, Fisher said.

In addition to Fisher, there will be a full-time assistant pro in the pro shop to assist golfers with their tee times, greeters will be out front at the bag drop area, starters on the first tee and marshals out on the course. The driving range will also be staffed as well as having staff to clean and take care of the carts.

There will be golf lessons available for members and the public at large, and as well as junior lessons from Fisher and the incoming assistant pro. Fisher also said the club plans to be part of the First Tee program for the area’s youth to take part in during the summer.

“One of my favorite parts of being in the golf industry is the instruction and helping people grow their game,” he said.

The course is semi-private, which means opportunities for daily rounds will be available to the public, Fisher said. The club’s website is set to go live April 1 for those wishing to book their tee times. There are a “handful” of local tournaments already on the books.

“If there’s anyone looking to join a local scramble or fundraiser to participate in, I will be happy to pass along information that I have,” he said. “There will also be weekly leagues, a ladies’ day and a seniors day – all of which are to be announced.”

The club shop will be fully stocked with modern clubs and apparel, which will include TaylorMade, Titleist, Callaway, along with Bridgestone golf balls. The apparel will include Greg Norman, Under Armour, along with FootJoy apparel, shoes, etc. There will also be SDGC apparel as well as having Big Oyster apparel and hats since the club is partnering with the restaurant.

The restaurant will be running the food and beverage service at the course and will also be brewing on-site, Fisher said. The restaurant will have an outdoor patio that will overlook No. 1 tee, No. 9 and 18 greens, and No. 8 fairway.

Single and family memberships, along with cart plans and driving range plans, are still available, he said. Those interested in more information can visit the pro shop Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. People can also contact Fisher via email at [email protected]


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