Extreme Makeover Golf Edition
Old Oakland Undergoes Phases of Renovations
Writer / Joshua Deisler
Old Oakland Golf Club has seen its share of changes. After a fire burned much of the clubhouse, the golf club rebuilt the structure, highlighting the beautiful views and modernizing its bar and restaurant services. Now with a new owner, Old Oakland has set its sights on an even bigger project: renovating each of its 9-hole courses.
Old Oakland General Manager Doc O’Neal has always worked in the golf industry.
“It’s my passion,” says O’Neal, who started his golf course management company in 2011. “I’m kind of lucky. I’ve been doing for a long time what I love to do. It’s fun each and every day.”
Along with new owner Steve Sterrett and superintendent Chase Walden, O’Neal supervised a thorough renovation of the east nine.
“Steve is substantially committed to renovating the golf course and to the City of Lawrence,” O’Neal says.
Indeed, the renovations have raised the golf club to another level. The improvements began in the fall when the east nine was closed. The first thing to be updated was the 50-year-old irrigation system.
“It had a lot of failure,” O’Neal says. “The new system will keep the golf course looking beautiful.”
Along with the irrigation system update was the cart path, which didn’t exist before the renovation. A local company planned, dug, and paved the 8.5-foot-wide cart path. Now, even after heavy rains, golfers can enjoy the east course.
“It just made it a much better luxury for the members to play the east nine when conditions may have called for otherwise in the past,” O’Neal says.
The biggest part of the renovation, though, was the bunkers; 30 sand traps on the east nine. A golf course architect helped redesign the sand traps to make them more strategic. Some were moved, some reconfigured, and some removed altogether.
“It’s really kind of a whole new look,” O’Neal says, noting these “Billy Bunkers” have more depth and character. Members will definitely notice the difference.
Along with the east nine, the practice tee has also been improved. A new irrigation system, new artificial tee matt, and new targets have made the practice tee much more presentable.
“It really has a great eye appeal now,” O’Neal says.
In the coming seasons, the other nine courses will experience similar renovations.
“It’s really important that at a private club like Old Oakland, the service and experience are great each and every day,” O’Neal says.
He and the rest of the club management are dedicated to making members’ experience excellent. From the clubhouse, to the practice tee, to the courses, Old Oakland Golf Club is focused on providing wonderful service, now and in the future.