By Brian Bearden, TSB Contributor
Many new residents in fast growing McKinney don’t know about Oak Hollow Golf Course, located just north of downtown.
Seniors know the golf course well and make up the biggest age group. Golf leagues, charity events and tournaments are repeat customers.Drivers on Wilmeth Road often know it is as the place where a golf ball shattered a car window.
Architect Jeff Brauer and parks director Lemuel Randolph said the city is not about to let Oak Hollow fall off the map. Situated in the path of growth on McKinney up U.S. 75 and Hwy. 5, Oak Hollow at 3005 North McDonald Street will soon be awakened from its sleepy existence withrepairs and upgrades over the next four years.
The master plan would expand and reorganize the course length for playability.
Currently, Oak Hollow Course is an 18-hole par 70 Championship Golf Course. From the tees to the pin: Blue 6,736 yards, White 6,211 yards, Red 5,147 yards.
The plan calls for a new tee box set up with Black, Gold, Blue, White and Red tees. For instance, on hole No. 18, the distance from the Black tee will be 386 yards, with Gold at 480. From the Red tee, the distance will be 336 yards. The change will reorganize tees to play levels.
The proposed score card: Black tees 6,940 yards, Gold 6,510, Blue 6,004, White 5,350 and Red 4,396. The front nine will be par 36, and the back nine will be par 34 for a par 70 round.
The course has received high marks from players for its recently added clubhouse (2010) and the full-service grill and bar.
The city council was informed by Brauer and Randolphat the Tuesday work session that the course has a poor water source, irrigation system, practice range,tees and bunker sand. Nearby city courses are receiving upgrades, and Oak Hollow needs improvements to keep from falling off the map.
While some neighboring city courses have 60,000 rounds, Oak Hollow has about 30,000. All rounds in North Texas are down from when golf was enjoying better days in the 80,000 range at some courses.
Oak Hollow was judged as having average to good cart paths, landscaping, greens and drainage. The landscaping needs more buffers, and Oak Hollow has lost almost 100 trees because of the drought.
Oak Hollow will not be closed while upgrades are under way. The phasing proposal would keep revenue flowing, repair biggest needsfirst, use in-house capabilities and improve on a project by project basis.
During the first year, the priority task would be providing and storing more water. The lakes would be expanded, and the existing well will be refurbished to add capacity. A second well will be added.
The irrigation system will be rebuilt completely.
In the second year, golf holes on No. 14 and 15 will be rebuilt, while the course remains in play. New tees will be added on No. 2.
All tees would be rebuilt, with players using temporary tees during the construction. The fairways will be widened and 419 Bermudagrass will be added as the second year stressed tees, trees and safety features.
In the third year, finishing the cart paths will be the focus.After the priority items are finished, Oak Hollow will be rebuilding the greens and making bunker additions in the fourth year.
As far as the golf balls hitting the car windows on Wilmeth, more trees and improvements will be added to keep balls from sailing off course.
Councilman Don Day said he often receives calls from people who thought they were about to be killed as their car window suddenly shattered while driving in traffic.
Brauer conceded that the best short-term way to stop the broken windows is for more players to take lessons and said it will take time for the new trees to grow. The new trees and surrounding landscaping improvements should screen the road and improve the view.
Golf Association: Newcomers to town (and anyone else) can join. The TPA at Oak Hollow offers four major events each year, plus Tuesday night scrambles from mid-March through mid-September every year.