More than a half century of golf
In 1962, on the outskirts of Marion County just north of Oaklandon, a small group of devoted golf lovers collaborated to purchase a dairy farm, with a plan to turn the rolling, wooded landscape into a place where people could come to pursue a common passion.
Thus began Old Oakland Golf Club.
Using a combination of friends, family members and local teens, PGA Professional Jack Keesling and Don Street, with funding from Joe “Doc” Miller, began work on the 18-hole layout. With a course design by Charles Maddox, this dedicated group relied on handtools and raw, physical labor to prepare the routings of Indiana’s newest 18-hole gem.
Six-time Indiana PGA winner Ed Kynch recalls setting tee box locations during the final phases, hitting shots from various locations to determine how far to stretch the tees to challenge even the longest hitters of the day.
By 1965, all 18 holes saw play and the new “clubhouse,” a modest building featuring a pro shop, snack bar and little else, began serving guests.
As time went on, “the little course in the country” began seeing more and more play, gaining the respect of better players throughout Indiana. Known for its expansive greens, Old Oakland presented a fair test of golf that welcomed players of all sorts. Old Oakland played host to prominent businessmen, public servants and celebrities, all of whom enjoyed the well-kept course and the people who played there.
In 1970, a young high school player from New Albany set an IHSAA tournament record, firing a 67 during the state finals. Although he finished second overall, that record-setting round foretold things to come for that young man, Frank Urban Zoeller, better known as “Fuzzy.”
Many other notables strolled the fairways at Old Oakland. Jack Benny’s sense of humor reportedly led to a fracas with one of the club’s female members. Basketball legend Tony Hinkle visited weekly to escape the rigors of coaching college hoops. Sports figures, celebrities and businessmen all welcomed the escape that Old Oakland offered its members and guests.
In 1987, after purchasing the course, developer Joe Dawson, with counsel from course designer Michael Hurdzan, began a redesign of the course, altering three holes and adding nine more, with the now 27-hole course opening in 1994.
The clubhouse was redesigned and rebuilt in 2014 and serves the members and their guests with a full complement of dining and lounging options.
In 2016, prominent businessman and respected golf amateur Steve Sterrett purchased Old Oakland. He remains committed to providing members an experience that combines the best of golf, dining, friendship and camaraderie. His vision, revealed in the improvements made the first week of ownership, includes an ever-growing list of innovations and improvements as he adds to Old Oakland’s half-century heritage.
Old Oakland Golf Club, long known for the quality of its golf course, has become renowned for the quality and value of its membership, too.
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