COVINGTON, Ga. - Usually, above par is a bad thing in the golfing world, but for the Oaks Course in Covington, there is reason to be proud that this course has been ranked a cut above many other courses in the state of Georgia.
The Oaks Golf Course in Newton County was just named the state of Georgia’s 18th best golf course by golfadvisor.com, which reviewed thousands of courses before compiling its list.
The list is compiled by submitted reviews from golfers, and after 281 reviews, finding a negative review in the bunch was a near-impossible task. Many golfers harped on the condition of the course and the greens as one of the most enjoyable attributes of the course.
Oaks Course owner Nancy Schulz, who is also the District 3 commissioner for Newton County, takes pride in the condition of the course and how well the greens are managed. She believes praise should go to her staff for the atmosphere they created and the excellent job they do in maintaining the quality of the course.
“I am so proud of my staff because I didn’t do this, they did this,” Schulz said. “Consistently, our customers tell us they really appreciate how well they are treated here. We really pride ourselves on our course conditioning. We don’t have a celebrity designer, but we have great customer service and well-conditioned greens, and that’s attributed to our staff.”
That sense of pride extends to Schulz’s staff and head golf professional Bradley Patton, who believes the staff and the course conditions are what make the Oaks Course such an enjoyable course for the customers that take in a round at the course.
“We’re not trying to be a $100 course, our staff is just that good with what we do,” Patton said. “We just want people to come out and enjoy the time out there, and we will give them a phenomenal product at a very good price.”
A round of golf tends to run around $40 at the Oaks, and Patton expressed that he believes the way the staff treats each golfer and the pricing helps bring an excellent experience at a non-excessive price. As a member of the staff himself, Patton and the rest of the Oaks team want to provide a friendly atmosphere that allows them to build personal relationships with their customers.
“Everyone that walks through that door, we look at them like they’re family. They’re coming out to hang out with us, so we’re not going to rake them over the coals,” Patton said. “We have personal relationships with the vast majority of the people that come through the door. We love the family atmosphere here too, so aside from the product, that is what I am most proud about is how all of our staff has interaction with everyone.”
Schulz echoed the sentiments of Patton, and she takes great pride in the personal relationships that are built with each person that picks up a club at the Oaks, and she wants that trend to continue in the future.
“We have all the technology bells and whistles, but we really take pride in the fact that we do build on those personal relationships,” Schulz said. “We have USB ports in the carts and Wifi that extends pretty far, so you can still do your business, but we want you to come out and experience personal relationships. I think that in terms of their experience, I want them to feel that we value them as a person.”
Those types of relationships were experienced first-hand as a member of the course came in during this interview. Without hesitation, the conversation switched from the interview to the customer, and words and laughs were shared until he was ready to make his way out the door.
This type of attention to the customer was a perfect testament to the atmosphere that has been created by the staff. Patton was short and to the point on what he wants for people to experience when they pay the Oaks Course a visit.
“I want this to be a culture that people to come out here and have fun. They’re generous in donating their time to us, and we want to provide them with a great product,” Patton said. “The number one reason is to give our customers an experience that they walk through that door they’re greeting us just like they’re guests at our party and they’re invited, come on in.”
With the course conditions and customer service being a highlight on many of the reviews by golfers, taking the Oaks Course to the next level has already been discussed between Patton and Schulz. Revitalizing the golf shop by adding more of a golf club presence and adding more golf ball options has been at the top of the discussion and has already been set in motion.
As much as the experience and the family type atmosphere are of the utmost importance for Schulz, Patton and the Oaks Course staff, they really want to provide a welcoming environment that can help beginners to seasoned veterans cultivate a love for the game.
With her parting thoughts, Schulz seems to just want to help people love the game of golf and see the welcoming environment of the Oaks. She noted that the Golf Academy, which are lessons provided by head golf professional, Bradley Patton, and assistant golf professional, Jonathan Dean, is an excellent atmosphere to grow any level of golfer’s knowledge and love for the game.
“You don’t need to know how to play golf, and they start at the very basics as early as ‘What is a golf ball,” said Schulz. “I don’t want people to be intimidated by golf because our golf professionals approach the game a little differently. Yeah, they want to teach you the skills, but it is more about working with you so that you can love being out here and enjoying the experience that golf provides.”