E.A. Sports Today

Word on Indian Oaks spreading

[corner-ad id=1]Inquiries from outside have started to manifest, but the key to the club’s success is within the community

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The reopening of Indian Oaks Golf Club has certainly created a lot of buzz locally and it’s starting to gain traction outside of the county.

Course administrators have been able to move forward on the project because of a favorable enough response from local backers who understand the value a working course brings to their properties. And now they are starting to entertain outside inquiries from people who have either lost their facility or fear they might.

In recent days the club has hired Ron McClellan to run the pro shop and had an enlightening and positive consultation with turf expert Jeff Higgins, who provided them a cutting and chemical plan. Later this week, former U.S. Open champion and one-time Anniston resident Jerry Pate will don his course developer’s hat, tour the grounds and present his insights to the investors.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity and we so much appreciate him willing to come up and spend some time with us,” said Sam Stewart, an Indian Oaks homeowner, project investor and grade-school friend of Pate’s. “He’s seen every golf course all over the country, good and bad, private and public. He can give us an analysis of what we’re doing or are we heading in the right direction.

“You can’t find anybody with more insight. … It’s important for all of us who live out here the course is open, running and vibrant.”

Stewart said the group was “not trying to build another Augusta National,” but simply have a “nice community-owned course that serves the community.”

That is where the success of the development stands. Administrators have collected more than half of the pledged shares to buy out local owner Ronnie Cofield. The pitch is an investment in Indian Oaks is an investment in the neighborhood’s interests.

At its founding, Indian Oaks was a vibrant development of growing young families with the golf course as the draw. But over the years those families have grown older or moved off and other courses were built in the county. In time, developers believe it can become a starter-home community to a new generation of families, while protecting the interests of those who have remained.

“As long as we keep the lifeblood flowing, and that is the golf course,” board president Laura Satterfield said. “I know the golfers are excited, but I want to get the community excited. We have plans to do so much at the club that’s going to involve the community. We’ve got things to offer no other golf course is the community is offering.”

A “very soft” opening now is planned for June 1 with a grand opening in July. There is talk of offering an introductory Saturday just to “spread the word.”

In the meantime, unique to the county, the plan is to sod over all the bunkers, promoting friendlier play and reducing maintenance costs and offer par-3 length tees on all holes for players who’d prefer a shorter challenge. The primary focus, of course, Satterfield said, is the greens.

“Failure is not an option,” Satterfield said. “People on this board don’t have failure in mind, they have success in mind. We just aren’t looking at this as a speculative thing. We intend to make it work and we have a lot out there who are with us wanting it to work.”

‘MAJOR’ CHAMPION: Anniston’s Matt Rogers and Kenneth Patterson of Fort Payne shot 11-under-par 61 to win the Major Dwayne Williams Memorial at Silver Lakes. They won by two over Barry Robertson and Manny Suco. Greg Haynes and Bill Dean were third (64).

Paul Dorsey and Joe Young (75) won the second flight, edging Landon Suco and Evan Rogers by a shot. Fred Wilson and Willie Duncan (78) were third.

EAGLES HAVE LANDED: I have learned from the underside of my Snapple cap that a collection of eagles is called a convocation. If that’s the case, there was a whole graduating class at Anniston Country Club in last Saturday’s round of the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational.

There were eight eagles from the Calhoun County Golf Tour players alone in the round, including two on par-4s by eventual champion Jeremy McGatha and Janson Wilborn’s second ace in a CCGT event this season.

Speaking of aces, Doug Bragg, the one-time pro at Pine Hill who still has a lot of game, aced Heartbreaker No. 8 in the monthly senior scramble at Silver Lakes. The monthly two-man senior scramble at Cider Ridge is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

WELCOME ABOARD: Kyle Brennaman is coming aboard as the new assistant pro at Anniston Country Club. He is a Missouri native who played college golf at Lincoln University. He comes to ACC from West Palm Beach.

GETTING READY: The participating clubs have been qualifying their teams for the East Alabama Sports Today Calhoun County Challenge Cup matches. The first set of matches in the four-week series is Saturday at Anniston Country Club. ACC, Silver Lakes, Cane Creek and Cider Ridge are participating. Stay tuned for more.

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