Hitting the Links: A New Dawn at The Oak Brook Golf Club

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By Larry Atseff

Golfers often like an early start in the morning…even a new dawn. And, for certain, there is a new dawn at the Oak Brook Golf Club. While keeping many staff members, the Village has made key changes in the management of Golf Operations and has approved several recommendations to improve the entire golf experience.

Meet Rob Michalak, the new PGA Head Golf Professional. He has run Salt Creek Golf Club in Wood Dale and has been an Assistant Golf Pro at Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club in Hoffman Estates. New PGA Assistant Golf Professional, Scott Fleck, has been the General Manager at Indian Boundary Golf Course.

Here’s how golfers can experience a round at the club, from reservations to relaxation.

To start, reservations can now be made online. Tee times are constantly updated during the day, and the system allows for better management of golfers who make reservations but fail to show up. All of this is to make for more tee times and happier golfers right from the beginning.

In addition, ride in true comfort thanks to 80 brand-new golf carts. They are all-electric and operate with less noise. They also come with individual seats instead of benches, making the ride on the last few holes a little more comfortable.

Sean Creed, the Superintendent of Grounds for the Sports Core, continues to manage the course as he has for 33 years (he manages the Oak Brook Golf Course, the soccer fields, and the polo fields too). The course is in excellent shape, from the grass on the course to the greens. The driving range continues to use real grass instead of mats. “I know all the course nooks and crannies,” Creed said. “I have learned how to handle problem areas in-season and off-season. We strive to be like a private course.”

There will also be a new emphasis on the pace of play. Players will be courteously encouraged to move along, so there is less standing around and waiting for the next hole.

Several changes have been made to the clubhouse as well. The atmosphere has been improved by reducing noise levels inside so golfers can relax and better enjoy conversation after 18 holes. The kitchen is now run by Chris Bozonelos and Chris Figaro, who have managed clubhouse kitchens for Mt. Prospect Golf Club, the Mt. Prospect Park District, and their restaurant in Mt. Prospect. According to Bozonelos, the emphasis will be on fresh, delicious food and beverages that golfers like to relax and enjoy. Featured are some of the most popular starters, burgers, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and a Friday fish fry. Now that the dining area and bar are set apart from the pro shop by glass doors, it can also stay open longer.

To improve your game, Ian Grant (iansgolf@aol.com), Gary Pinns  (garypinns@mac.com), and Dan Kochevar (dankoch@flash.net) are all back at the course.

Michalak and Fleck have heard the call for more club tournaments which are in the future. In the meantime, come out and play. ■

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