Natural Billboard: Longleaf's New Look Showing Positive Signs
It’s a property that has always seemed to have great potential but for varying reasons was never quite able to realize it.
All indications now are that the corner has been turned. Longleaf Golf & Country Club has found new life under the guidance of Peter Dejak and Jason Aslanian, and if appearances mean anything, the club is ready to take its place among the top destinations in the Sandhills.
“We’re trying a lot of things,” Dejak said. “This is a good golf course, and people are enjoying it when they come out.”
Dejak, who is president of Signet Golf Associates, a course management and design company located in Pinehurst, leased Longleaf from former owner Bob Erickson in August with a lease to buy.
One of the first things he did was to hire Aslanian away from neighboring Talamore Golf Club as general manger. Then he hired highly respected Martin Acker as course superintendent and opened the purse strings to fund needed improvements on the golf course and the clubhouse.
“The arrangement provides Longleaf with a local presence and on-site ownership and experience,” Aslanian said. “Peter’s and my philosophies are very close together, and our vision for Longleaf was to take the property back to its true potential.”
Since taking the reins the new owners have spent $40,000 for a new clubhouse roof, and are investing $80,000 in a new pump house and renovations on the pool house and tennis courts.
Already in operation is a new fleet of E-Z-Go golf carts, and a new front entrance is planned for next month.
In another member and guest-pleasing move, The Paddock Restaurant has been leased to Con O’Mahoney, partner in the Bell Tree Tavern. The restaurant is being renamed The Tavern at Longleaf and will feature a classic sports theme and unique menu items, with the public welcome.
“Our thought is to create an environment of activity with great food at a great value that both members and package golfers will be excited to take part in,” O’Mahoney said.
Longleaf is located on Midland Road between Talamore and MidSouth Cub, with National Golf Club only a few hundred yards nearer the Traffic Circle. Several of the front nine holes can be seen from Midland Road, prompting Aslanian to say, “With that view, we’ve got the best billboard in town.”
“With our great location, conditions, facilities and proximity to Talamore and MidSouth, we’re a great fit to partner with other resorts and packages,” Dejak said.
Longleaf has begun its own packaging business with the help of an in-house and off-site packager.
“Our philosophy is to manage Longleaf as a successful business with a combination of a strong membership, increased package play and superior course conditions,” Dejak said.
A decision was made to paint the fairways instead of over-seeding with rye grass, and the results have been pleasing to the staff and to golfers.
“With the area being a resort destination community, golfers from the north want to see green tees and fairways,” Acker said. “The technology of the paint has gotten so much better over the past few years that we made the decision to go with it.
“This allows us to miss the two weeks of cart-path-only golf during the growing of the overseed process.”
According to Longleaf member David Adinoff, the efforts of the new management are being noticed and appreciated.
“When Bob hired Peter and his Signet Group, things began to change,” Adinoff said in a statement. “Communication with members improved, and we got the feeling that whatever problems our club faced had been addressed at other clubs Signet managed. The future looks promising.”
“We’re trying a lot of things,” Dejak said. “We want to show membership value and make this place where golfers like to hang out in the restaurant and the sports bar. And we’re trying to be more aggressive in pushing membership with varying options. For instance, we have one that’s cheaper if you don’t play on weekends.”
Longleaf was designed by Dan Maples on an old horse farm and race track. Many of the track rails and hedges were incorporated into the design.
“It’s a good golf course,” Dejak said, “and people enjoy it when they come out.”
A quick tour around the course points out the changes and the excellent conditioning. The contrast between the green fairways and tee areas and the dormant brown Bermuda grass is attractive.
Head professional Dan DiCarlo greets members and guests with a huge smile and an attitude that makes them feel welcome.
“We want people to see what we’re doing here,” Aslanian said. “We’ve got the new carts; the golf shop has been replenished; the men’s locker room has been refurbished with card tables and a big screen TV; and the whole building is getting a redo.”
To enjoy the “new look” Longleaf, call (910) 692-6100.
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