The Oaks Course is no stranger to tradition, and this coming weekend another Oaks tradition will resume with the 14th playing of the Oaks Open, Aug. 2 and 3. The annual tournament is an individual stroke play event that has become an event many local players mark on their calendars as soon as the date is announced.
The tournament attracts low and high handicap players alike because of the format, which is a flighted, individual 36 hole stroke play competition. This means that golfers of like skill levels compete against each other in separate groups (flights), based on their handicaps. So, a golfer that shoots in the nineties will be competing against other golfers that shoot similar scores.
Andy Bowman, head golf professional at The Oaks Course, got the idea for The Oaks Open 14 years ago when he was discouraged with the turnout for his club championship. Since the membership was still small, he decided to start The Oaks Open and make it a tournament that anyone could play in.
"We had about 50 players play in the first open, which is a great turnout for such a new event." Bowman said.
To make the tournament attractive to golfers, he collaborated with managing partner Dick Schulz, who had first-hand experience with a PGA Tour event. Schulz was the superintendent at Atlanta Country Club when the club hosted The Atlanta Classic.
Some of the benefits of participating in the tournament include a new pair of golf shoes, a practice round on Friday and prizes for the winners. The biggest treat, though, is playing on a course that is in as good as shape as The Oaks.
The greens at The Oaks are possibly the best conditioned greens in the state for a public course, thanks to the installation of new Ultradwarf Bermuda about three years ago. This groundbreaking strain of Bermuda grass is the same type of grass that East Lake has installed in all of their greens this year.
"The maintenance staff always has the course looking great for us, but they take it to another level for the open." Bowman said.
Some of the past champions of the event include local amateurs and professionals alike. Two years ago, Covington's Jonathon Fricke won the event, and he is now fully exempt on The Nationwide Tour. Tommy Moon, head golf professional at Honey Creek, is also a past champion. Some other champions include Mark Gunthorpe, Joe Grady and Chris Newsham.
For questions, or to sign-up, call (770) 786-3801.