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Great Rock Golf Club to be revived under new owners as sale expected to close next week

The long-dormant Great Rock Golf Club in Wading River is about to be revived.

Chris Vene and Anthony Lomangino are in the process of buying the 132-acre golf course and restaurant property, and plan to reopen it.

Mr. Vene said the sale is expected to close May 27, and he plans to meet with neighbors after that to hear their concerns. 

The golf course has been shuttered for about two years, he said. 

Mr. Vene said he has experience in running golf courses and is part-owner of Baiting Hollow Golf Club and the Vineyards Golf Club in Riverhead.

He also own Parkland Golf Maintenance with James Vogel, which services 10 golf clubs, with Great Rock slated to be the 11th. The venture with Great Rock is his first partnership with Mr. Lomangino.

“The concept will really be to be a member for the day,” Mr. Vene said.

He said some people might not play that often or might not be able to an afford membership costs at other clubs. 

“So you go to Great Rock and you’re a member for the day,” he said. “You have a great facility, and you have access to the locker room, the sauna, the showers, the driving range. You can hit as many balls as you want and then, hopefully, get a great meal at the restaurant.”

As for who will operate the restaurant, Mr. Vene said, “We’re working on it,” adding that he has interviewed “multiple local restaurateurs.”

Mr. Vene lives next to the course and has heard the complaints about noise from events held at Great Rock under prior owners.

“Obviously I want to be a good neighbor, because I am a neighbor and I know this site better than anybody,” he said. Mr. Vene said he also owns Wading River Nursery, which also is next to the course. 

“My home value increases if the golf course is open and beneficial and looks good,” he said. 

He said he also wants to address some other problems that have generated complaints, such as rainwater runoff from the course affecting neighboring properties and golf balls landing in people’s yards. 

“The other issue is the tent,” he said. 

Great Rock’s former owners frequently held events under a temporary tent, which led to noise complaints from neighbors and, ultimately, a related lawsuit brought by the Town of Riverhead. 

A 2009 settlement of that lawsuit required Great Rock to file a site plan application to expand the clubhouse, so that events would no longer need to be held under outdoor tents. 

A May 7, 2020 Riverhead Planning Board resolution granted approval for the clubhouse expansion, despite some concerns raised by neighbors at a December 2017 hearing. 

“We have final approval for our site plan and all we need to do is file for a building permit,” said Vic Prusinowski, a consultant for Mr. Vene’s group.

Correction: Mr. Lomangino is not affiliated with the other courses or the maintenance company that Mr. Vene is involved in. They are only partners on Great Rock.