Old Oakland Golf Club Completes Major Renovations and Improvements
Photographer / Michael Durr
This summer marks the end of a four-year journey at Old Oakland Golf Club, under the ownership and direction of Lawrence Township native Steve Sterrett, to make major renovations and improvements to the golf course and clubhouse.
Sterrett’s own journey at Old Oakland, however, commenced long before renovations began. He joined the club as a member in the mid-1980s and knows many fellow members.
In 2006, Sterrett and his wife, Betty, built a house adjacent to the Old Oakland golf course and 10 years later, when he learned that the club was going to be sold, he saw an opportunity to add value to the club for its members and the community as owner.
“A golf business is a living, breathing thing, and you’ve got to invest in it,” Sterrett says. “Membership and revenues at Old Oakland had declined since the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. When the family that owned it decided they were interested in selling the club, it made a lot of sense for a member to buy it. I think it’s really cool that I have been able to do all this in my hometown and the community where Betty and I grew up.”
After officially taking over as owner of the 27-hole club in the summer of 2016, Sterrett hit the ground running with a renovation of the nine-hole east course, including new cart paths, as well as a new irrigation system and bunkers.
“Each of the three nines needed to be modernized,” Sterrett says. “We added some tee boxes and moved some bunkers. The trick in changing a golf course is to make it harder for the good golfer and easier for the not-so-good golfer. I think we’ve done that.”
Sterrett decided to install bunker systems known as Billy Bunkers though out each of the 27 holes at Old Oakland.
“The state-of-the-art bunkers are constructed so that when rain falls, they never flood due to the type of sand and the irrigation setup,” says Chase Walden, golf course superintendent.
After the east course renovations were complete in April 2017, Sterrett promptly moved forward with renovations to Old Oakland’s south and west nine-hole courses in the fall of that year. Both the south and west cart paths were also repaved, a couple of streams were rerouted to improve playability, and Sterrett also revamped both courses’ irrigation systems and added Billy Bunkers.
After renovations to each nine-hole course were complete, Sterrett built out new chipping and putting practice greens and a few practice bunkers on the west side of the clubhouse, all of which were open for members in the spring 2019.
“It’s really a world-class little area for chipping and putting,” Sterrett says. “We’ve added more than 100 members since I bought the club, and we were busting at the seams size-wise, so adding things like the practice area and everything we’ve done to the clubhouse has been really helpful.”
The final phase of renovations began last fall and included a major overhaul and 12,000 square foot expansion of the clubhouse. Members can now enjoy increased dining space and an upscale conference room with a 65-inch television that accommodates up to 24 people.
“The dining/conference area is versatile. It can be used with audiovisual and projection equipment for meetings and events of more than 100 people or be used for a smaller, upscale dinner,” says Sarah Lobe, Membership and Marketing Director. “With the additional dining space, we can host events like our popular couples golf night once a month. We typically have 60 to 100 members who participate, so now we have more room for that type of event.”
Old Oakland’s clubhouse kitchen was expanded to keep up with the increased capacity of the overall dining area. The outdoor patio was also expanded.
“In addition, we also built out an area we’re calling the Player’s Lounge, and it will offer high-tops and soft seating where people can hang out and have drinks with the club’s golf memorabilia decorating the walls,” Lobe adds.
Renovations did not end there. Two state-of-the-art golf simulator bays were installed in the clubhouse for year-round use. Members can reserve times for the simulators, just as they would for course tee times. A 3,000 square-foot fitness area with cardio and strength equipment, a massage station and a room for a variety of group exercise classes is now available for members.
“It’s all brand-new equipment – treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, a Peloton bike and more,” Lobe says. “Steve’s idea behind all this was to turn the club into a 12-month facility, and the fitness center and golf simulators can be used year-round. We’re excited to be able to give our members more to do and to expand our existing amenities.”
Old Oakland Golf Club is located at 11611 East 75th Street in Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-823-4791 or visit them online at oldoaklandgolfclub.com.