Royal Oaks gets a face lift

The Royal Oaks Country Club, originally built in 1953, has undergone a major remodel and upgrade, including a brand new pro shop, swimming pool, upgraded kitchen, banquet and dining facilities, newly paved parking lot and additional outside seating with a view of the putting green and course. The last remodel was in 1986.

“The club wanted to create a facility that matched the high reputation of the golf course itself,” said General Manager Gary Campbell.

The $6.5 million project kicked off in 2005 with about 18 months of planning, and construction began in September 2007. Construction is set to wrap up in the next week.

One of the first phases of the project was the 5,400-square-foot pro shop, which includes 1,800 square feet of display space and an indoor swing training room with a video camera that replays golfers’ efforts on a big-screen TV.

“It’s a dramatic difference from the old shop,” Campbell said. “We will attempt to become one of Golf Digest’s top 100 pro shops.”

Rick Martinson, who became president of the club last month, said the new shop has been heralded as one of the best in the Northwest by several club members.

A major component of the project was filling in the old swimming pool, which Campbell described as a square hole in the ground, and digging a new pool.

But it’s not just a pool – the goal was to create an “activity center where kids want to stay and play,” Campbell said. To this end, the new pool includes a large hot tub, kiddy pool for infants, family changing facilities a snack bar – and a lazy river feature (similar to that found at the Firstenburg Community Center), where kids can float along with the current. However, Martinson called Royal Oaks’ a “raging river” because the club significantly increased the power of the pumps.

Near the pool, the club has built a new 1,200-square-foot exercise facility. When furnished, it will feature three treadmills, two elliptical machines, a recumbent bike, 10 pieces of free-standing equipment, several benches with dumbbells and a stretching area.

Major changes also have been made to the dining and banquet facilities at the club house.

“We wanted the club house to be a casual destination – a place for people to hang out,” Campbell said.

And so, the Oaks Bar and Grill was born. Half of the dining space will be family friendly, while the other half will be a sports bar complete with big-screen TVs.

But formal dining will still be an option for members. The old ballroom lacked a view of the golf course – the updated ballroom has plenty of glass overlooking the fairways and a banquet room with a glass wall.

Outside the banquet facilities, on the north end of the club house (where the old pool was located), members now have access to a paved patio with tables for four, a gas fire pit and enough to accommodate up to 120 people.

And near the ballroom, members raised extra money to include a wine room named for one of the original Royal Oaks Country Club members, Bobby Litton, who died in the spring of 2007.

The Bobby Litton Wine Room will provide a space for cozy private parties and wine tasting.

Campbell said members thought it would be fitting to honor Litton’s memory and contributions to the club with a permanent memorial. Not part of the original remodel project, they solicited an extra $80,000 for the 38- by 19-square-foot addition.

When completed later this year, the room will be decorated with a Tuscan theme.

Martinson said the biggest challenge was to make progress while continuing to serve club members. Campbell and his staff went to great lengths to keep the club open during the entire project.

During the renovation, the snack bar served as a full-fledged kitchen during the kitchen remodel and administrative offices were located in the women’s locker room, making for what Campbell called an “interesting office situation.”

“The members were delighted we could stay open,” said Campbell, who reported that members were “wildly fascinated” by the various phases of the project and would stop by just to see what was new.

Where possible, Royal Oaks used local contractors. Vancouver-based MetFab Heating Inc. provided HVAC services and Vancouver-based Louis Guinett Masonry Inc. completed the stonework and columns.

Much of the project already is complete with the final two pieces being the pool and the offices. Weather permitting, Campbell said the pool should be open shortly and the Oaks Bar and Grill, renovated entrance and office spaces are expected to be completed July 1.

“We’re on time and on budget,” Campbell said.

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