Ocean City Today

Jeep Golf coming to reopened course

Deer Run Golf Course, near Route 50, 90 split, to offer three options to members
By Brian Gilliland | May 17, 2018

(May 18, 2018) After the owner of the Deer Run Golf Course, Ed Colbert, met with neighbors to his property and signed a lengthy set of terms and conditions on the operation of his proposed Jeep Golf course, the neighbors removed their objection and the Board of Zoning Appeals allowed the business to open.

If all goes well, Colbert’s son-in-law Justin Hearne, who will manage the business, said the new courses should be open for Memorial Day, next week.

The new Deer Run Golf Course will feature three types of golf: pitch and putt, foot golf and Jeep Golf. The traditional golf course at Deer Run closed in 2015.

Pitch and putt is a shorter game than traditional golf, and players are provided with a pitching wedge and putter, “foot golf” is played with a soccer ball and Jeep Golf allows players to use their own Jeeps, or rent one of three Jeeps, to use in place of golf carts.

Hearne said only brand-named Jeeps would be allowed on the course. Similar vehicles are prohibited.

Last month, Colbert and the neighbors engaged in an hours-long debate that ended in a stalemate, with both sides asking for more time to resolve the issues.

On the one side was Colbert, who said he had to close the golf course because of his wife’s medical troubles. He’d also been facing decreasing interest in traditional golf, which had begun to hurt several local courses, including his.

Supporting this notion were letters signed by Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, Tourism Director Donna Abbott and many others.

Colbert said using Jeeps instead of golf carts was Hearne’s idea, and could help drum up new interest in the game, as the younger generations as less interested in golf and the older enthusiasts are not being replaced.

Chief among Colbert’s opponents was neighbor Charles Nichols, a member of the Board of License Commissioners, which determines liquor license issuance and enforcement in Worcester County. Nichols retained attorney Mark Cropper to represent his interests in the matter.

Cropper and Nichols believed this proposal for a Jeep Golf course was an attempt at a backhanded approval for an earlier concept for the course — an obstacle course for off-roading Jeeps.

If that were the case, the matter would be a procedural one, because once a request for an exception is denied, as the obstacle course was in November 2017, it cannot come back to the board for reassessment for one year.

However, with the inking of the deal between Nichols et al. and Colbert, that argument was moot.

Colbert agreed to 14 separate provisions governing his business, including restrictions on dates and times the course is allowed to operate, the function and maintenance of the Jeeps on the course, notification requests and the like.

Colbert said he was fine with meeting the demands of his neighbors, and Nichols.

“He’s happy — I’m happy. We didn’t give away the farm,” Colbert said. “I’d just like to express my thanks for the support I received from the entire community.”

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