Bill Kirkendall, Glen Oaks general manager and CEO of Golf Resources Group Inc., surveys the expanded banquet area at the club.
Glen Oaks Country Club completed a front-to-back, top-to-bottom $3 million renovation on May 1, transforming what many considered a “men’s only” money loser into a family-friendly social center at the heart of Iowa’s first gated residential community.
The club came under new ownership in 2010, emerging from a bank foreclosure, and the new owners have found that you can “solve a lot of problems by writing checks,” said Robert Pulver, one of the owners.
Pulver, his wife, Ruth, Mark and Jill Oman and Ron and Ruth Pearson turned over rehabilitation of the club to Bill Kirkendall, a former private equity workout specialist who is the CEO of Golf Resources Group Inc. The consulting group was founded in 1987 by his best friend, golf professional D.A. Weibring, who won the PGA Champions Tour tournament held at Glen Oaks in 2004, when it was called the Allianz Championship. The tournament changed sponsorship and became the Principal Charity Classic in 2007.
All of those checks that Pulver referred to have brought lots of changes, from new doors at the north entrance to a wall of glass extending along the main level of the clubhouse, providing sweeping views to the south. And a new atmosphere has been created, one where the clubhouse can be a gathering spot for members of either sex, and the public can take advantage of enlarged meeting and banquet facilities.
“Everything has been touched,” Kirkendall said.
Workers moved the building’s south wall 10 feet, making room for expanded banquet facilities on the main level and the addition of dining rooms and a lounge in the members-only section at ground level. There’s even a wine cellar for members, and the women’s locker room has been opened up from a series of partitioned mini-rooms, with all-new appointments, fixtures and paint – lavender.
Stone and wood are the chief architectural details throughout the clubhouse.
The changes have made a difference. Revenues have increased 25 percent, 135 members have been added over the last year and golf memberships are at 390, just 10 shy of the maximum.
On the course, improvements have been made to the drainage system and the pesky fescue grasses that encroached on the fairways have been tamed, among other upgrades.
“Right now, the golf course is the best I’ve ever seen it,” Kirkendall said. “The pros are going to see a golf course in almost perfect condition.”
He might say the same about the clubhouse and the improved fortunes for Glen Oaks Country Club.
“I think there is endless opportunity here,” Kirkendall said.