For anyone who loves the great game of golf (such as myself), we’re always looking for another great golf course to test our abilities against. While there are many golf courses in the London area, few compare to the likes of the Oaks. Built in 1993, the course offers some of the best golf conditions, unique holes, and a great atmosphere for golfers of all talent levels to enjoy. In short, this is a golf course that all avid and casual golfers must play.
This great golf course is a testament to the dedication and love that was instilled into by President Walt Spivak and his late father Nick. With both father and son living right beside the course itself, the two had planned jointly to make the Oaks the best golf course it could be. Always investing back into the course, the duo made sure the sterling reputation and quality of play continued year after year. Walt remains loyal to this mission, and the course looks better than ever. In honour of all he did for the Oaks, the course built a pub in Nick’s memory (appropriately called Nick’s Pub) where members and guests can enjoy a snack and a refreshing drink after a beautiful round on the course.
Located on the southwest outskirts of London, this beautiful course offers many fun challenges along the way from the giant bunker that sits in the center of the first four holes, to a traditional links-style forcing the golfer to stay straight with their drive, to many ponds across the course. Their signature hole, number 15, is a 154-yard par 3 (from the Blue Tees) with an island green that requires precision and a certain aggressiveness to attack the pin.
But, this course is not just for those golfers looking for a difficult challenge out on the links. With four different tee decks ranging from 5,538 yards to 6,924 yards, there are options for all skill levels of golfers. With pace of play at, or less then, four hours, many golfers can further enjoy the course knowing that long rounds are unlikely. Furthermore, tee times are often available allowing members the ability to pick up the phone and save a tee time the day of.
According to John Schidowka, General Manager of the Oaks for over 20 years, the “layout [of the course] has stood the test of time.” With a very unique layout of six par 3s, six par 4s, and six par 5s, the course requires you to make use of proper club selection, power, and finesse. Combine this with conditions that are second to none, you will be hard pressed to find a better course in the London area.
What makes the Oaks an exceptional golf course beyond the actual conditions and layout of the course is the many events that they hold throughout the year. They have “Couples 9 & Dine” which allows for members and guests to play a relaxing nine holes followed by a beautifully prepared dinner, and tournaments for members and for the public during the summer months. It should also be highlighted that the Oaks hosts a limited number of charity events every year, with many of these events being held at the course for over 20 years. These events often sell out fast which is a testament to the organization and fun the club offers through them.
Besides events, the Oaks is known for their fun and competitive leagues that they run throughout the year. Leagues are available for men, ladies, and seniors allowing social play for all members. The men’s league is played every Thursday, with approximately 160 members joining in on the fun – all fighting for the honour to hold up the Molson Cup at the end of the season. Teams compete against one another every week and accumulate points based on participation and scores. Come late summer/early fall, these teams then compete in a playoff with the winner being the new proud owner of the Molson Cup. Beyond providing organized golf and a challenge, it allows members to mingle, create inclusiveness, and generally become friends. It is this notion that Schidowka is most proud of.
“It’s the members that make this club” Schidowka stated. “Everyone is here for the right reasons; to play a beautiful golf course and enjoy camaraderie with friends.” The leagues, events, and many other numerous social gatherings are evidence of the great atmosphere that the Oaks has to offer. With all of us consumed with our jobs and other commitments, the Oaks is more than just a golf course – it is a family.
Whether you are a casual golfer who plays a few times a month, or an avid golfer who plays three to four times a week, this spectacular course offers something for everyone. We all need a little bit of paradise in our lives – the Oaks offers just that.
Written by Daniel Scheid
Photography By Darren Hatt
For those interested in joining the Oaks, seeking more information, or looking for a tour of the course, please contact General Manager John Schidowka at 519-652-1760 ext 1. www.oaksgolf.com