From Finance to the Fairway
Writer / Mary Ryan
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
In the early 1970’s, walking the halls of Lawrence Central you could find Steve Sterrett and his sweetheart, Betty Hall. If you asked him where he would be nearly 40 years later, he might have responded, “Married to my high school sweetheart, and living in Lawrence.” What he probably wouldn’t have said however, was “owning a golf course.” But that’s exactly what happened in June 2016 when Sterrett purchased the Old Oakland Golf Club.
Steve is a 1973 graduate of Lawrence Central high school and loved his community so much he’s been in Lawrence his entire life. Steve and Betty have been married for 38 years and, in that time, have built a beautiful family. They have one son, Jeff, who is pursuing a master’s degree and a daughter, Kim, who just gave them Avery George, their first grandson.
After nearly 30 years with Simon Property Group, Steve recently retired from his role as CFO and decided it was time to purchase the Old Oakland Golf course, where he’s been a member for 30 years. Located in his backyard, he saw an opportunity.
“I thought Old Oakland was located in a great trade area,” Sterrett says. “It had ‘good bones’ but could be modernized and better managed. It’s the only championship private club on the south side of Geist. No other championship golf around and it is by far the most convenient.”
As a golfer himself who has played all over the world, Sterrett wanted to enhance the experience for members and also give back to his community. The work being done at Old Oakland is a great way to help beautify Lawrence as the course itself rests on 200 acres. To continue giving to the community, they will also be implementing a caddy program where caddies can do an internship with the possibility of receiving a college scholarship.
Philanthropy isn’t just a passion for the Sterretts — it’s at their core.
“Betty and I are very blessed in life,” Sterrett says. “We wanted to pay it forward. We like to invest in positive youth development, giving at-risk youth a chance to succeed. We also focus on education.”
Through their educational contributions, they’ve endowed a scholarship at both Indiana University and Cathedral High School. Steve also sits on the Board of the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School. Tindley is the first school in Indiana with an accelerated learning appeal and a “college-or-die” motto. Also important to the Sterretts is investing in their church and community.
Admittedly, Steve is “massively left-handed” and a sports fan through and through. While at Lawrence Central, he was an athlete. He also graduated from Indiana University, but he bleeds blue when it comes to basketball as a huge Butler basketball fan. But Steve’s left handed tendencies are more related to using the right side of his brain. He loves listening to music and is a multi-tasking machine, juggling his passions daily while enjoying the retired life.
“Work is in its most simple essence, forced mental stimulation and forced social interaction,” Sterrett says. “I was drinking from the firehose. Now, I sip from life’s cup.”
Passionate about giving his time, he also sits on the Board of the Indiana Golf Association, Indiana State Senior Golf Association and is a member of the Advisory Board on the Real Estate School at IU and on the Kelly Business School Board.
What’s next for Sterrett? If you don’t find him relaxing in his man cave at home, spending time with his family or in the dining room at Old Oakland surrounded by great friends and food, he’ll be strategizing his next move. He plans to continue looking for ways to enhance the members experience at Old Oakland, grow membership and, most likely, will begin one-on-one golf lessons with his grandson soon.