Southern Oaks to reopen Feb. 1
The Southern Oaks Golf and Tennis Club is back and will reopen Feb. 1.
New owners David Shipman Jr. of the Burleson-based Shipman Companies, a family-owned real estate investment firm, in conjunction with Dennis and Jennie Niles and their son and daughter-in-law, Kip and Kim Niles, all of Burleson, have hired a professional management company to oversee the golf course and another to manage the event center and restaurant.
The reorganized club house and new restaurant will host an open house for the public from 6-8 p.m. today at 13765 Southern Oaks in Burleson.
“Our goal is to preserve a local treasure here in Burleson and South Fort Worth,” Shipman said. “Southern Oaks Golf and Tennis Club and the Oaks Event Center offers the best golf experience and tennis facility in the area and the most luxurious event center and wedding venue around. We want to make sure the community will continue to have these great assets and hope to improve them through the years. We will be 100 percent up-and-running on February 1 and better than it was.”
The reopening is welcome news to residents of Thomas Crossing, the upscale residential area that surrounds the 18-hole golf course after the 20-year-old facility shut down without warning in November, shocking employees and homeowners. It left employees without jobs, homeowners concerned about property values, and couples without a wedding venue.
But now, the new owners are reopening the golf course on Feb. 1 and have hired Elite Golf, a professional management company, to oversee the course and facility and have rehired some of the former employees. Elite has a proven track record and manages some of the most respected courses in the country, including eight in Las Vegas, Nevada, and other states.
The new owners plan to restore confidence in neighborhood property values and improve what was once considered one of the top golf courses in North Texas. The new owners have been told that the former owners agreed to rebate any memberships to those who requested a rebate.
“Shipman Companies is thankful to Mark and Angie Edins for improving, designing and constantly enhancing Southern Oaks Golf and Tennis Club and the Oaks Event Center,” Shipman said. “Our office was impressed with the swiftness and professionalism exhibited by Mark and Angie’s team.”
Visitors will immediately notice a new retention pond that is under construction to the No. 10 tee box, a water feature that will include a fountain and elevated bridge to the tee box, Shipman said.
Southern Oaks employee, Glen Cumbie, is thrilled to be back.
“Not only am I back, but I’m excited to be back with a promotion,” said Cumbie, formerly assistant manager of guest services who will now be manager of guest services. “Over half of my staff are in the process of coming back. As soon as the new owners took hold, they moved quickly and have done everything in their power to bring us back. Our general manager, Wes Frazier, has wonderful ideas to improve the course even more, with additional staff and better customer service.”
The closing caught all employees by surprise, Cumbie said.
“It was a tough time,” he said, “but what’s really neat is the Southern Oaks members were as upset as much as we were. They got together and raised money for us right before Christmas. This is my second home and second family.”
The golf pro shop has been incorporated with the tennis pro shop, and the restaurant and event center is now under the supervision of the Gardens Hospitality Group, owners and operators of the Gardens
Restaurant from the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.
Rebecca Madan, director of sales and marketing for the Event Center and the restaurant has 25 years of wedding receptions and catering experience.
“I’ve already booked 10 new weddings for the Event Center, and we haven’t even officially opened,” said Madan, who is owner of the Botanical Garden Restaurant. “We’ve upgraded our menus, moved to a private room and upgraded the decor to a more sophisticated, elegant look.”
Homeowners surrounding the property say it was the unknown that left them feeling insecure about property values.
“For the homeowners who bought the property for the golf course and the tennis club, I think it (the closing) takes away a huge value,” says homeowner, Tim Windmiller. “My son played tennis here, and my daughter took golf lessons, and we were disappointed went it shut down. It affected my family life and the convenience of how we lived. A lot of my friends live here just for the golf course. We’re relieved about the new ownership.”
The course, which was designed by pro golf Mark Brooks in 1999, is consistently ranked among the top courses in the area. The 7,302-yard, par-71 course has hosted major tournaments, junior championships, and high school tournaments.
It is also home to numerous nonprofit organization golf tournament fund raisers, such as area chambers of commerce, and the Children’s Advocacy Center.
“I am thrilled to open the course with a professional management company for the first time in the history of Southern Oaks,” Shipman said.
A spokesperson for Elite Golf said the company is ecstatic to have the opportunity to manage Southern Oaks. Shipman Companies is also proud to have the Gardens Hospitality Group as the new owner and operator of the Oaks Event Center.
Construction crews were at work early Wednesday on a new retention pond adjacent to hole No. 10 at Southern Oaks Golf & Tennis Club. The pond will feature a fountain and a new bridge will provide access to the tee box. Southern Oaks, which shutdown unexpectedly Nov. 19, 2018, is slated to reopen Feb. 1.