Golf Gazette: A dream comes true for new Cedars owner

04/06/2014 8:00 AM |

Keeping fun in the game is part of the plan for the owners of Cedars Golf Course, Tim McManus, left, and Paul Pawlowski. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

When I was in seventh grade back in the 1950s, it was my dream to own a transistor radio and a new set of golf clubs. The modest earnings from my Long Island Press newspaper route put my wish list items on hold.

Paul Pawlowski had a dream when he was in seventh grade of one day owning something far more grand than a radio and a set of golf clubs. 

“When I was in seventh grade I would play Cedars Golf Course [in Cutchogue] all summer,” Pawlowski said. “That’s when I first thought it would be cool to own this place someday.”

A born entrepreneur, Pawlowski began his business career when he was 13 years old, caring for lawns and yards in his Cutchogue neighborhood.

After attending college, Pawlowski built and ran one of the most reputable landscaping companies on the East End of Long Island for 12 years.

Looking to make a career change, Pawlowski sold his business and went into real estate development, creating projects in Costa Rica as well as on the East End.

While on a golf trip to Ireland a few years ago with his friend Tim McManus, an executive with a financial firm, “after a few Guinnesses,” Pawlowski mentioned to his buddy that he had been trying to purchase Cedars and asked if he would be interested in becoming his partner. McManus, who is from Rockville Centre and Cutchogue, had played Cedars with his family for many years and jumped at the idea. After a few more Guinnesses the partnership was born. Now all Pawlowski and McManus had to do was acquire the property.

Pawlowski had been contacting the owners of Cedars for a number of years, telling them he was interested in buying the course and asked that they let him know if they ever decided to sell. A few months ago Pawlowski took a call from one of the owners saying they were ready. Three months later, the dream Pawlowski had when he was 13 years old had come true. He is the owner of Cedars Golf Course.

“We plan to make some improvements, but we want to keep Cedars the gem that it is and as everyone knows it, affordable and unassuming,” said Pawlowski.

I met with Paul and Tim at the club a week after they closed on the property and could not believe my eyes. The clubhouse had been freshly painted, trees were being trimmed and new split-rail fencing was being installed on the grounds.

The new owners said John Dennison, who for many years played such an important role in making Cedars the wonderful place that it is, has been a big help to them since they took over the reins. “We’ve even given John a key,” Pawlowski said.

In addition to improved practice areas, the new owners are looking to create a first-rate youth program. “There is no better place to learn the game of golf,” Pawlowski said. “We are very excited about our plans to have a great program here at Cedars for kids, along with expanding our men’s and women’s leagues.”

Also new will be a golf simulator that allows you to play 15 world-famous golf courses in a full-swing room. “We’re going to call this the Cedars Back Nine,” McManus said. “It will be open year round and available for parties, friendly competition, or just for practice to keep your game sharp.”

“We want to continue to make Cedars the special place that it is,” Pawlowski said. “And if you want to wear flip-flops, that’s OK with us.”

19TH HOLE Gary Player, the 78-year-old professional golfer, has always been one of my favorite athletes. A longtime physical fitness ambassador, Player’s longevity is no fluke. He has worked most of his life at staying in shape and has written books on the subject. During an interview with Player a few months ago, he was asked what people can do for better health and weight control. His answer consisted of four words. I tried it. It works. I’ll share Player’s tip with you in the next edition of the Golf Gazette.