Golf pro George Jakovics has found his "Camelot" in Crofton.
"I feel like I've been reborn," said the 54-year-old Jakovics, who is beginning a new career with the same enthusiasm he had when he turned pro after graduating from Towson High in Baltimore County back in 1957.
After 21 years at Chartwell Golf and Country Club, where he builtthe club into one of the top clubs in the East, the Latvian native is starting over at Walden Golf Club in Crofton.
And unlike the "decisions by committee" procedure at Chartwell, Jakovics is in completecontrol at Walden and intends to make everyone feel at home by extending lunch invitations to every member within the next year.
Jakovics, who brings 35 years of experience with him, is the general manager and director of golf at the new Walden course, which he has labeled "Golf's Own Camelot."
"It's a new concept in golf and country clubs, and one that I'm very excited about," said Jakovics, whose surprise resignation at Chartwell came in late May during the week of the club's 30th anniversary celebration.
Jakovics, who was only the third golf pro at Chartwell, was the guiding force in building the clubto 650 members. Chartwell started with 16 charter members in 1961 and never stopped growing. Chartwell has an eight-year waiting list to become a member.
Through the dedicated leadership of Jakovics, Chartwell became the county's most elegant country club, and he hopes toaccomplish the same at Walden.
"Chartwell is second to none in the East and definitely is tops in Maryland," said Jakovics. "The things I'm proudest of the most at Chartwell are the re-designing of the sand traps and green areas for 14 holes, and the putting in of all thecart paths.
"I was also instrumental in extending the irrigation system to where they no longer have crab grass, but perfect fairways.I was able to do all that in the last four to five years."
It wasover the last decade that Jakovics had complete responsibility for the golf course, and he was able to implement his expertise. It's expertise that he has gained through hard work and by attending several schools to learn the business inside and out.
Jakovics, who speaks four languages (Latvian, German, Spanish and English), was an assistant pro at the Country Club of Maryland in Towson for 12 years after graduating from high school. Joining the PGA in 1962, he won the 1964 Mid-Atlantic PGA at Woodmont Country club in Rockville and played on a Caribbean Tour from 1967-1968.
In 1969, he took over as golf proat Chartwell and along the way has added to his vast knowledge of the sport and all its intricacies by going on tours to Spain, Germany, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
At Walden, he has thoughtof everything and put things in a luxurious setting.
"I was a consultant to the people at Walden for about a year and a half before I took the job, and it was a tough choice to leave Chartwell, but I don't feel like I really left," said Jakovics, who said he went to sleepat night thinking about the potential of Walden.
"I'm right around the corner from Chartwell and am still and will remain very close to many of the Chartwell members. Walden was a chance to start something from the ground up and we have an awesome golf course. And the reason I'm calling it Camelot is because everyone will have equal accessjust like King Arthur's knights had sitting at the round table facing each other."
Jakovics pointed to the average country club, such as Chartwell, and how programs and decisions are made through electedcommittees and boards whose terms are normally short.
"Each time a committee changes, the continuity of a club suffers," he said. "Someone on one committee might not like the way the curtains are hung, while a new committee that comes in might change it back.
"It's nottheir fault, because it's the nature of the beast. With committees you never get anything done, and you don't have the sounding board of the members."
Jakovics prefers to be in charge along with his hand-picked staff, which includes people who are experts in their specific fields and will not include any staffers from Chartwell. While he remains close friends with many of the hired hands at Chartwell, he won't be recruiting any for Walden.
"I realize that the best way to do business is to hire people who have more knowledge than you do in certain areas and let them do it," said Jakovics. "We will announce the schedules and activities and pay close attention to satisfying allgroups from the men to the women to the juniors.
"Everybody will have equal access, and I feel confident we will fulfill their needs without committees. My ideas along those lines were accepted by everyone involved, including Bob DiAiso and Land Tech Corp. of Annapolis, who engineered the site."
Jakovics was told he "had something" withhis concept of no committees in fulfilling the needs of the members.