Oaks Course gearing up for anniversary tournament

COVINGTON -- Twenty-one years is a long time to be in business, especially in the type of business that is fickle on the economy. But that is what The Oaks Course is celebrating as it holds its anniversary tournament Nov. 4-5.

"It stared by wanting to do a month-long celebration," said Andy Bowman. Oaks golf professional who has been there since 1992. "Every year since the fifth anniversary we've had the same event and its always been a nice celebration. A good way to end another year."

Even though the tournament is on Saturday and Sunday, Friday is a good way to see how the course will play from the blue tees. Unless you're over 70-years old, then you play from the white tees.

"Typically players just show up (Friday) and take notes and give themselves a chance to see the course. Saturday we'll meet early for breakfast and have a shotgun start at 9. We'll have lunch and then we'll have a smoker party afterwards," said Bowman. "Then Sunday we'll have breakfast then after the 9 a.m. shotgun start we'll have a little shootout."

After doing away with the shootout format for several years, the Oaks Course decided to bring it back. Of course, a lot of that had to do because of the demand by the public which they always do whatever they can to keep them happy.

The shootout takes eight qualifying teams and puts them together on one hole. All 16 players tee off together until teams get eliminated one team at a time until a winner is declared.

"It puts a lot of people on the hole together and gallery is pretty big. That's always been a favorite," said Bowman.

As a way to keep everything competitive and give everyone that plays a chance to contribute to their score, there will be a maximum of an eight-shot differential between teammates. So a 3-handicapper will only be given 11 points for their partner regardless of how high their handicap really is. Bowman said that by doing this it will keep the flights close. There were 20 teams signed up as of Monday. There are still plenty of spots available as they can have as many as 60 teams participating.

"That would fill out the course," said Bowman. "With it being the time of the time change, it puts us on a tight schedule because it'll be getting dark earlier.

"I remember when we first started this tournament we had 15 teams. We've grown it and I've seen it as high as 120 players. We hope that this year, even though the economy is tight, to get 60 teams. I think we can."

The cost to participate in the tournament is $160 per player. Besides three rounds of golf, breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, lunch and a smoker on Saturday, each player is guaranteed a $25 in Oaks cash to the used in the pro shop or in Putters Restaurant. Prizes will also be awarded to low gross and low net scorers in each flight.

"The course is fabulous. I've never seen it this good this part of the year," said Bowman. "The greens are still fast, the fairways are still green, the roughs are still green; we haven't had a frost yet."