Helping Retirees Enjoy Golf in Southern Delaware
Finding a golf course that is suitable for one’s ability level and pocketbook is pretty much a piece of cake near Delaware’s coastal towns. Golf shops are a bit trickier. Even the courses themselves focus more on food and beverage and hospitality services than on selling products.
Ruddo’s, a full-service independent golf shop formerly located in the shopping center that houses Fins Ale House on Coastal Highway has long since moved to Stephan Decatur Highway (Rt 116) near Ocean City, MD.
Another relatively nearby option is Plantation Lakes in Millsboro. It’s retail operation carries top brands such as Callaway, Titleist and Taylor Made. The shop employs a full time fitter who can help with equipment selection.
American Classic Golf Course on Bethpage Drive in Lewes has dissolved its small retail shop and gone completely online with primarily branded shirts, hats, hoodies, assorted accessories, and gift cards. Bayside in Selbyville, has followed a similar route but with a larger selection of items.
The Rookery, in Milton, has a modest shop with a jam-packed assortment of clubs, golf bags, balls, gloves, apparel and hats.
Those who feel the need to check out products in person and are looking for a large inventory from which to choose have several options but will have to travel.
Additional, longer distance, choices are Dick’s Sporting Goods in Dover, Golf Galaxy in Newark, or 2nd Swing in Wilmington. All three offer a significant and more diverse inventory of major brand products. The larger box stores tend to carry new and used equipment. Dick’s Sporting Goods’ acquisition of Golf Galaxy in 2007 cemented its position in the golf industry as it became the largest specialty golf retailer in the United States.
Golf enthusiast Albert Herman of Millsboro says he tends to purchase his equipment online but does a lot of research prior to purchasing. “You can glean a lot of information by going on various brand web sites to see what is being said about equipment for seniors,” he says. Herman has been playing golf since high school and 60 years later still walks at least nine of 18-holes and sometimes all 18.
He cautions people to be honest about one’s ability and recommends trying a golf simulator that can provide a plethora of information about one’s ability level and, in turn, what type of equipment is best. Simulators will give instructors data on clubhead speed and angle or ball launch speed and angle for example. They can even get as intimate with your swing details to determine the ball spin achieved in revolutions per minute!
Most of the shops mentioned here have simulators that can be rented by the hour.
Seniors interested in involving grandkids in golf might want to check out First Tee, an educational golf program targeted to youths at golf courses, schools, and youth centers in all 50 states. In Sussex County, DE, First Tee programs are available at American Classic Golf Club, Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View, Hooper’s Landing in Seaford, King’s Creek in Rehoboth, Mulligan’s Pointe in Georgetown, Plantation Lakes in Millsboro, Rehoboth Beach Country Club, and The Rookery in Milton.
Other articles in this series:
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist
Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.