Mark Cardon’s article in today’s Herald – Tribune
The Oaks has unique grass from tee to green
As board member Dave Stewart likes to say, Arthur Hills may have outdone himself on this project.
The Oaks Club in Osprey hired Hills to renovate and improve its Eagle course. He is no stranger to area golfers, having designed the Groves at The Meadows, Heron Creek in North Port and, most recently, River Strand in Manatee County.
Armed with a $5.5 million budget, Hills has made the Eagle more picturesque and challenging. Also more playable, thanks to a new strain of grass called Paspalum Supreme.
Developed by Dr. Ron Duncan, former professor of Crop and Soil Sciences at the University of Georgia, Supreme can be irrigated using alternate water sources, including salt water and waste water. Plus, there is no need to overseed it.
The Oaks will be the first course in the country to feature Paspalum Supreme from tee to green.
But what does the unique grass really mean to members and guests of The Oaks and its reciprocal players?
For starters, every shot will be like hitting off of an expensive, plush carpet. Except for Hills’ penchant for installing undulation from tees to greens, you may not get a bad lie on the golf course.
Hills enjoys water views. On the Eagle, he brought the water closer on nine holes. Also, he made the course 300 yards longer, measuring 7,000 yards from the back tees.
Page Dunlap Halpin, a former All-American at the University of Florida and a former player on the LPGA Tour, has been a member at The Oaks since 2000. She is excited about the changes.
“You will have more freedom off the tee,” she said. “But you also will have more demanding approach shots.
There will be more challenges going into the greens.”
Quite possibly, the Eagle will be ready for play in late February.
Once the Eagle is completed, the club has hired Pete Dye to redo the Heron Course.
In three to five years, The Oaks will have a completely new face lift.