Oaks Course Review
by Tim Kennedy
Local historians remember the famous champion Bobby Jones designing the original layout and playing here often during the 1930's and 1940's. The course was redesigned and rebuilt by its present owners in 1989-1990. Since reopening, it has served over a half million golfers and was nominated as one of the top 50 public courses in the United States. It offers private memberships.
Setting up your round: Non-members can make tee times up to 5 days in advance. I've had little trouble getting on the course, even on weekends. The biggest competition: tournaments. The Oaks runs plenty of corporate outings so call before you make the drive.
When you arrive: A friendly staff, nice pro shop and simple bar and grill make a pleasant first impression. An excellent putting green and well maintained driving range will make it easy to get loose before you play.
Hole you will love: #11 is a scenic and challenging par 3 that plays over water all the way to the green. Take out too much club, fly the green and you'll be looking at a tough downhill lie chip. Gamble that you can bust a six iron 178 yards and you may get wet. This is a beautiful golf hole that would be so simple if you could just ignore the 120 yards of lake in front of you. Like the game itself, it's all mental. Hole #6 will do a lot for your ego. An elevated tee to a wide open fairway that funnels your ball toward the green will have most players swinging out of their soft spikes.
Hole you won't: A 90-degree dogleg left that demands a straight tee shot or a row of pines will block your approach. The green is just a sliver and slopes off in front and back. Safely on in 2 and you're still looking at a slick 2 putt. I've had a few good rounds blow up here with my second shot just 140 yards to the pin.
Overview: This course is a gem. Superbly maintained, reasonably priced and not a drop of attitude from anyone on the grounds. Whenever I play with high-handicappers, this is where I head. The forgiving layout means no one gets too frustrated and no round takes too long. I've played on busy weekends in just over 4 hours. For really good players, this course offers a few difficult holes and some nice course management decisions. To top it off, during the week, you can "walk all day" for about $30. That is my idea of heaven.