Golf Pro Happy To Be In Valrico

Manager Randy O’Linger is pleased to be back at the scenic Buckhorn course

By Derek Maul

A year into his reprise, Buckhorn Springs General Manager and teaching pro Randy O’Linger says he’s happy he returned as part of entrepreneur William H. Harper’s ambitious purchase December 2010.

O’Linger was swinging pure at three, played his first tournament at five, was “hooked” by the time he was seven, shot an 83 at nine, and enjoyed a stellar junior career that included winning the Maryland State Juniors at 17.

Good as he was, O’Linger realized the travelling life of a tour golfer was not for him. In 1974 he walked away from his Wake Forest scholarship to apprentice with his dad in Ocean City.

But he did continue to play regional tournaments, qualifying for the U.S. Open at Toledo in 1979.

Meanwhile, O’Linger poured more time into teaching and management, first taking over from his dad then moving to Pennsylvania to run public courses around Philadelphia.

The career shift led O’Linger to a position with U.S. Golf properties, where his work with acquisitions eventually helped the company establish a foothold in Florida.

O’Linger moved to the Tampa area in 1989, then left U.S. Golf to become General Manager and teaching pro at Buckhorn Springs in 1991.

In 2002 O’Linger helped open the Hernando Oaks course before pursuing consulting opportunities.  In late 2010 O’Linger accepted Bill Harper’s invitation to return to his old job.

“I helped with feasibility studies prior to the change in ownership,” he said. “I’m very happy to be back.”
O’Linger’s emphasis is management. “I give very few lessons,” he said. “We have two other instructors, Vicki Ackerman and Terry Steele. Vicki is a celebrity in her own right; she was a tour player and won two U.S. Amateurs. But I try to know everyone’s game here; to know what they’re trying to accomplish and goad them on.”

For more information, contact Randy O’Linger at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club, 2721 S. Miller Rd. at 689-8411.