Golf Returns to Oakmont

            Golf returned to Oakmont with the Valley of the Moon Club opening of its driving range and the first play on the Valley of the Moon course, where play under a new operator was delayed by the COVID-19 emergency.

            Sonoma County gave the go-ahead for golf to resume starting Monday, May 4.

            Advance Golf Partners said in an emailed announcement it was opening its driving range and Oakmont’s former west would fully reopen on Friday, May 10.

            “We now have before us the enormous task of getting the Valley of the Moon Club course in condition to open. Our entire team will be working to accomplish this as quickly, and as safely, as possible,” AGP said.

            The driving range was operating daily from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

            Greg Anderson was named earlier as general manager of AGP’s Oakmont clubs.

            AGP said there would be added maintenance staff working on the Valley of the Moon course for several days. It asked that people walking on the course walk on the Sugarloaf (formerly east) course. “Please aid us in letting (the maintenance staff) work.” No date was immediately announced for opening the Sugarloaf course.

            The coronavirus shutdowns also stopped work on remodeling the dining and bar facilities at the Valley of The Moon club. “We were able to complete most of the demolition in the Clubhouse and Golf Shop. We are looking forward to the beginning phases of construction as businesses start opening up again,” AGP said in an email.

COVIG-19 MEASURES

            AGP said it was following federal, state and local coronavirus safety guidelines for employees and customers.

            It said staff would regularly clean restrooms and sanitize touch points, and that staff and customers must observe six-foot social distancing.

            The AGP website said the club pro shop was not open, with check-in for play outside. Payments were being accepted only online or by credit card and tee times were limited to six per hour.

            Staff members were told to wear face covering, and customers would be asked to do so when the pro shop opened, AGP said.

Bob Branstetter coming down on the ball on the reopened driving range. (Photo by John Williston)

           Players were asked to bring face coverings and observe social distancing. No shared equipmentwas permitted. No club cleaning will be done by employees.

            Hand towels, ice chests with water, seed/sand bottles, on-course bunker rakes, ball washers, community tees, scorecards and pencils, rakes for sand traps, and all on-course water stations have been removed from the course, AGP said.

            On the greens, flags are being left in at all times. All cups have been raised above green height to avoid reaching in the cup for a ball.

            No food service was being provided, there was no indoor or outdoor seating and no rental clubs were available. 

            The Valley of the Moon course was designed by golf architect Ted Robinson, whose other work includes the Fountaingrove Club in Santa Rosa.

Former east course, from the 17th tee. (File Photo by John Williston)

            While no date was announced for resumption of play on the former east course, which has been renamed Sugarloaf Golf Club. AGP said in an email “We fully expect both courses to be open by June 1.”

            AGP also unveiled a new logo for the Valley of the Moon Club.

WALKING ON THE COURSES

            AGP offered assurance to Oakmonters who enjoy walking on the courses that lie in the center of the community.

            “Your walking privileges will not be going away,” AGP said on its website. “ We have applied a great deal of out-of-the-box thinking to determine how members can walk the golf courses while they operate (a benefit to community members we have never seen in all our years of experience, by the way!). We believe we’ve found a solution, and will be following up in the next couple of days to give you detailed instructions.” 

            AGP said on its website that details would be announced on booking rounds of golf. The website is at https://www.valleyofthemoonclub.com

            The 250 acres of golf courses that lie in the center of Oakmont were acquired by the Oakmont Village Association after the former operator, Oakmont Golf Club, ran into financial difficulty. OVA members approved a dues increase to pay for the golf courses, and OVA signed an agreement with AGP to operate the property. AGP renamed the two courses and the former Quail Inn, to be called Luna.

            All Oakmont members are social members of the Valley of the Moon Club and The Club at Sugarloaf, the former East Course.

            Benefits include participation in member social events, member pricing on selected items and access to the planned Sugar Shack at Sugarloaf, to be open only for community members and registered golfers on day of play.

 

Oakmont News Staff Report

            Golf is returning to Oakmont with the Valley of the Moon Golf Club announcing the opening of its driving range, to be followed by play on the Valley of the Moon course, whose reopening under new owners was delayed by the COVID-19 emergency.

            Sonoma County’s announcement that golf courses could operate starting Monday, May 4 spurs the return to golf in Oakmont.seen on the range in a photo by John Williston)

            “We now have before us the enormous task of getting the Valley of the Moon Club course in condition to open. Our entire team will be working to accomplish this as quickly, and as safely, as possible,” AGP said.

            It said the driving range would open for four hours starting at noon on Monday, May 4. The range will be open daily starting Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

            The back 9 holes of the course will be open Wednesday, May 6 and the front 9 Thursday, May 7 and the full 6,300 yard course starting Friday, May 8. Daily hours for the course are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through May 10.

            AGP said there would be additional maintenance staff working on the Valley of the Moon course for several days. It asked that people walking on the course walk on the Sugarloaf (formerly east) course. “Please aid us in letting (the maintenance staff) work.”

            The coronavirus closures also stopped work on remodeling the dining and bar facilities at the Valley of The Moon club. There was no immediate announcement, but that work is expected to resume with easing of the order which has stopped most construction work in the county.

            The Valley of the Moon course was designed by golf architect Ted Robinson, whose other work includes the Fountaingrove

Former East Course from 17th Tee. (File photo by John Williston)

Club in Santa Rosa.

            No date has yet been announced for resumption of play on the former east course, which has been renamed Sugarloaf Golf Club.

            AGP said on its website that details would be announced on booking rounds of golf. The website is at https://www.valleyofthemoonclub.com

            AGP also unveiled a new logo for the Valley of the Moon Club.

            AGP offered assurance to Oakmonters who enjoy walking on the courses that lie in the center of the community.

            “Your walking privileges will not be going away,” AGP said on its website. “ We have applied a great deal of out-of-the-box thinking to determine how members can walk the golf courses while they operate (a benefit to community members we have never seen in all our years of experience, by the way!). We believe we’ve found a solution, and will be following up in the next couple of days to give you detailed instructions.”