Oakmont Golf gets second chance
Turkeys enjoy strolling the empty fairways at Oakmont's main course.
Oakmont now owns its golf courses, and if the new operators have their way, some of the best dining experiences in the Sonoma Valley will soon be available in addition to the resumption of the community’s foundation activity.
“We are committed to excellence and committed to you appreciating it,” said an enthusiastic Larry Galloway, managing member of Advance Golf Partners (AGP), the golf management group that is leasing and operating the now-former Oakmont Golf Club facilities. “I am going to take this as far as I can take it.”
Under a pair of contracts that became official on Feb. 6, the Oakmont Village Association is paying $3.7 million to assume ownership of the golf courses and restaurant facilities, and then leasing them back to the golf partnership group for 20 years.
AGP intends to open and operate two golf clubs, the west course, to be called Valley of the Moon Golf Club, and the east, Sugarloaf Golf Club, this spring. The Quail Inn building will become a new restaurant called Luna, while the east golf course clubhouse will become the Sugar Shack, a neighborhood gathering spot with, at a minimum, breakfast pastries, coffee drinks and pizza delivered from Luna.
All Oakmont residents will be social members of the entire enterprise, which will offer discounts on goods and services. Those who want to add golf will have several membership options available, including memberships to one golf club or both. In addition, a “Practice, Learn and Play” program will be offered for those wishing to learn the game and those who want a less expensive membership to the Sugarloaf Golf Club. Occasional golfers can still play anytime on either course for a standard greens fee.
Until the new operation begins to roll out, the 250 acres will remain closed to the public, although course rehabilitation and restaurant remodeling may be apparent almost right away, Galloway said. More extensive renovation is expected to begin late this year, focusing on the dining experience at a new restaurant that will feature a completely new dining room configuration and menu – “interesting and inspirational foods” from Italian to Georgia barbecue to “ the best ice cream in America.”
“We’re fortunate to have found an experienced, knowledgeable tenant and operator to work its magic on the property,” said OVA board president Steve Spanier. “This has been a long time coming and is the result of hard work and persistence on the part of many people, both inside and outside of Oakmont. I’m truly grateful we achieved this milestone in Oakmont’s history, and look forward to watching as AGP weaves the golf club amenities into the fabric of our community.”
Oakmont residents approved a $23 increase in monthly dues last August, bringing the total to $98. About $17 of the increase is devoted to acquiring the golf and restaurant facilities. The Oakmont Golf Club was on the precipice of bankruptcy when the sale was completed.
Galloway said roughly 40 to 50 staff will be hired, but how many of them will be former Oakmont Golf Club and Kemper Sports employees is unclear. “We will be welcoming all applicants,” he said, “We’re taking a fresh approach to each position.”
AGP operates 13 golf clubs around the United States, including Bridlewood in Dallas, Serenoa in Sarasota, Florida, and Bradshaw Farm near Atlanta.