On January 30, 2019, Golf Course Architecture Magazine, an international publication, published an excellent article, penned by Richard Humphreys, on my 27 hole remodel of Old Oakland Golf Club in Indianapolis, Indiana. Click on the link above or the photo below to go to the article. It is a good read and readily captures the essence of this exceptional project.
As always, space is limited in publications, so I thought that I would add a few details about the project here. First of all, it has been a pleasure and privilege to work for Steve Sterrett and Old Oakland Golf Club for the past three years. I could not have asked for a better experience, especially working with golf course superintendent, Chase Walden, and his crew. There were many challenges along the way, but Chase always rose to those challenges, exceeded all possible expectations with his expertise, dedication and hard work.
Also, it was a pleasure to work with Doc O’Neal of Cohoat and O’Neal Golf Management. Doc’s steady hand and common sense was instrumental in guiding the project’s progress.
As mentioned in the article, Old Oakland’s membership has swelled by 100 new members. This is a testament to the success of the project as well as the quality golf course and practice facilities that are presented to the members on a day to day basis.
With regard to my design of the remodeling project, the article states it well:
How did you approach the redesign of Old Oakland?
I analysed the routing with respect to the sequence of strategic concepts and penal situations it offers through its topography, natural features, lines of play and golf course elements such as tees, fairways, green complexes, bunkers and mounding.
A variety of shot-making requirements into differing circumstances are significant and essential ingredients. This provides a challenging and enjoyable round of golf, day in, day out.
In the case of the club’s plan, it was paramount to develop and implement a design that delivers to the golf course definition, strategic options – alternate lines of play for various skill levels – and beauty.
All detailed design was performed on site. I spent a significant amount of time on site during construction working hands-on with the shapers, the contractors and the golf course superintendent. Many times, I was on site five or six days a week during each phase of the project.
This is a detailed list of the golf course improvements that were made as a part of the remodeling plan:
1. Re-bunkering the entire golf course, incorporating Better Billy Bunker method
2. Adding/rebuilding select tees
3. Widening and enlarging fairways, including grass hollows and chipping areas adjacent to putting greens
4. New irrigation system for the original holes and additional areas of remodeling
5. Tree removal
6. Improved drainage
7. Beautify lake banks by use of stone walls and cobblestones
8. Continuous cart paths
9. A major stream construction and relocation project
10. Practice improvements including:
•A 3.1 acre short game comprehensive practice area consisting of one practice putting green and two practice chipping/pitching/sand-shot greens
•An enlarged, one level, practice range tee
•An auxiliary practice tee
•A practice fairway bunker
The practice facilities will be among the best, if not the best, in this region of the country. The short game area occupies over three acres and features one practice putting green, two short game practice greens, undulating contours in the fairways and roughs, and two bunkers. We accomplished this part of the project in a very compressed time frame (about three months). Therefore, the drawing/plan for the short game practice area is more rough than I typically produce, but we had to get bids and get to building.
I am itching to get out and play all three nines at Old Oakland Golf Club this Spring. I’m also excited to see the opening of, and experience, the new short game practice facility and the other expanded practice facilities. Wow, what an excellent project.
I would also like to reiterate, as found in the Golf Course Architecture article, that this project was a total team effort. Thanks to everyone involved in the project, from start to finish – Chase Walden (golf course superintendent) and Crew, Doc O’Neal (general manager), Derek Dirksen (shaper), Ted Blahnik (engineer), Ted Nelson (construction superintendent), Chris Lutzke (construction superintendent and owner), Eric Graudszuz (shaper), Tony Altum (irrigation designer), Adam Garvey (construction manager), Jim Held (irrigation designer), and everyone at Golf Creations, Duininck Golf, Leibold Irrigation, Albanese & Lutzke, Automatic Supply, Commercial Irrigation, and anyone that I forgot!
Click on the photos to start a slideshow.