Skilled golfers make the game look easy, their effortless swings perfectly striking the little dimpled ball, driving it into the air with uncanny accuracy. The allure of the game for beginners starts with one simple thought - “it looks so easy!” And then they put a club in their hand for the first time and all of a sudden what looked so easy becomes exceptionally complicated. The grip, the stance, keep your head still, don’t look up, the rules, etc. Barriers to enjoying this wonderful pastime pop up all over the place! So, how do you get past these roadblocks to learn the game? Or if you’re introducing the game to someone new, what are ways to help make that outing fun and memorable for all the right reasons? We have a few suggestions:
From finding a sponsor to understanding the different levels of membership, there are a lot of questions that come with joining a private club like North Oaks Golf Club. You may be wondering about costs, meeting new friends, or making sure that your family is going to enjoy it as much as you will.
We asked our general manager, Phil Anderson, to identify and answer the top four questions he gets when it comes to golf membership at North Oaks Golf Club:
Much like your first day at a new school, joining a new club can be a bit intimidating. Everyone walking the halls--or in this case, the greens--seems to already know one another and knows what's going on. But just like school, learning the ropes of a new club isn't nearly as intimidating as it seems.
With plenty of social and golf groups to join, family activities to get involved in and lessons to help you improve your skills (not to mention the ability to play the course as much as you'd like) you'll get settled in in no time! Keep reading for a few tips to help make your adjustment go even more smoothly.
When it comes to investing in your family's future and well-being, certain decisions, like whether or not to start a college fund or to supplement your retirement account, are easy to make. But what about the decisions that can start benefiting your family today, rather than years down the line?
Many families find themselves considering making an investment in how they choose to spend their time together. Two popular options are to purchase a cabin getaway or join a country club. While both certainly have their pros, there are also plenty of cons that you need to be aware of to help you make an informed decision. Keep reading to learn what you can expect when you buy a cabin or join a country club, and why one might be the better choice for your family.
When you think of famous golf course designers, names like Donald Ross, Pete Dye and Tom Fazio often come to mind. Many golfers also have favorite designers based on the designers' “signature” approach. For example, if you typically fade the ball, you may love courses designed by Jack Nicklaus Design. Or maybe you have an affinity for courses designed by A.W. Tillinghast who worked on more than 250 golf courses including Winged Foot, Baltusrol and Bethpage Black.
One designer you may not be as familiar with is the late Stanley Thompson. Thompson, who was Canadian and an accomplished golfer in his own right, spent 40-years of his life designing courses. With nearly 150 courses in Canada and 26 courses in the United States, his most well-known courses are the Banff Springs Hotel Golf Course in Alberta and the Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course in Jasper, Alberta. Thompson, the designer of North Oaks Golf Club which was built in 1951, is well-known and respected for his ability to preserve the natural terrain upon which his courses were built.
At North Oaks Golf Club it has been a year filled with opportunities to “Play with the Pros” at the club and at destination courses. In May, a group of members and professional golf staff made their way to Central Wisconsin for a leisure getaway to Sand Valley, named Best New Course in 2017 by Golf Digest.
North Oaks member Vid Kath explains, “as we’re driving through Wisconsin and about 10 miles away, I can’t believe there will be a golf complex because we’re in the middle of nowhere.” “Immediately upon getting to the peak of this property, our entire group was wowed by the views and vistas covered in natural sand,” says General Manager, Phil Anderson.
The architect of Mammoth Dunes, David McLay Kidd, was known for narrow and difficult courses. His goal behind Sand Valley was different. This time his intent was to “remind people that golf could be fun again.” Phil Anderson couldn’t have agreed more, “we heard fairways were 100 yards wide and they truly were, what an enjoyable and playable golf course for all.”
Although most golfers believe in the adage that "you drive for show and you putt for dough," North Oaks member Erik Rasmussen made a lot of hay with his driver this season. He didn't make any money (at least directly), but he did something almost as valuable for a guy who plays four or five times a week. Erik slashed five strokes off his handicap this summer, mostly by working on his driver.
Director of Instruction Grant Shafranski worked with him to move the ball up in his stance and swing up on the ball to take advantage of the driver's technology. The results are 15 extra yards on his drives and a handicap that dipped from +10 at the start of the season to +5 by the end of August.
"It was eight months of work to get there," he says, "but I'm a better player because I'm hitting it straighter than I did before, but I'm also 15 yards longer."
That's a club-and-a-half or a two-club difference on approach shots, which makes a huge impact on his game.
"If you think about your misses with a nine-iron instead of a seven-iron or a seven-iron instead of a five-iron, you understand," Erik says. "It's just that much easier because I'm that much closer."
If Marci Marrone has learned anything about golf this summer it's that a) you don't have to be a scratch golfer to enjoy yourself on the course, and b) all golf teachers are not created equal. In fact, that's the reason she's learned a lot about golf this summer!
After 24 years as a social member, Marci decided to give golf a try. And when Marci tries something, she really tries it, so she signed up for the two-month trial golf membership, attended a bunch of Ladies Clinics, and scheduled ten private lessons with Director of Instruction Grant Shafranski.
"My friends all said, 'that's a lifetime of lessons,' but I really knew nothing about golf, and getting the trial membership inspired me to really try to do it right. Ten lessons taught me what I needed to know."
She's also played about 15 times so far this summer, mostly with boyfriend Nick Alfano. And the results are both a happy golfer and a more engaged member.
"I have really just enjoyed the whole thing," she says. "I spent more time in the club this year than I have in the past 24 years.
The turf is a thick, luscious, and dazzling green. You and the course are bathed in bright sunlight, yet the cool breeze provides a perfect balance. The leaves on the stately oak trees framing the course have begun to turn, providing breathtaking pops of yellow, orange, and red that make the landscape panorama nothing short of majestic.
These postcard-worthy scenes are par for the course during the fall months at North Oaks Golf Club, making it arguably the best time of year to be a member. And even though the golf season is on its back nine, this is also arguably the best time of year to join – because golf is just the beginning when it comes to a North Oaks membership.
Yes, you’ll enjoy the priority tee times and unlimited golf, too. But joining North Oaks means becoming part of a tight-knit community. You meet friends and neighbors who share similar interests and enjoy spending time together. North Oaks facilitates these social connections with year-round events you’ll come to value just as much as – if not more than – the time you spend on the course.
If you love golf and you value the environment, there are few jobs better than Golf Course Superintendent at North Oaks Golf Club. "Look, I've got the greatest job ever," says Brian Boll, who holds that title. "My office is unbelievable!"
That office is more than the golf course. It's all 167 acres that were once part of the James J. Hill Preserve, and Boll is passionate about maintaining them for a club that was founded on a commitment to protect their natural land, water, and wildlife for generations to come.
"North Oaks is unique because we are part of this tremendous flyway and waterway that includes Pleasant Lake," he says. "It's so cool seeing the different wildlife come through this travel way in different parts of the year."
And although some might expect that to require a balancing act between golf course management and his environmental responsibilities, Boll and the NOGC leadership feel they go hand-in-hand.