Inside The Tomoka Oaks Country Club is a framed 1995 article titled, “Teeing it up at Tomoka is golf heaven.” According to the columnist, Tomoka was rated as the top course in Flagler and Volusia counties. Riding a golf cart through the course, observing neglected, overgrown foliage, the same can’t be said about the course today.
“I think it’s just the nature of the business,” said Bart Hill, one of the club employees. “Golf is a hard industry to keep going. The individual who owns it now owns another course in Lake Mary, and I know he has his hands full with two courses.”
Nevertheless, members refuse to abandon that which they’ve grown to love. Although many golfers have taken their membership elsewhere, since the course’s downgrade a large group of men and women have maintained their loyalty to the club, and some have even recruited friends to join.
Roger Garten joined a little over a month ago, when he got the OK from his wife.
“Rick invited me out there because I’ve wanted to play golf for quite a long time,” Garten said. “He’s been very nice about teaching me, and all these guys have been great.”
A lot of the men credited comradery for their loyalty to the club. After everyone joked about disliking everyone else, they began to talk about their friendships, formed at the club, how they’ve all met each other’s wives at club events. Kjell Hansen, president of the Men’s Golf Association at the Tomoka Oaks, joked about his group, saying,
“Just watching some of these guys are interesting.”
Along with the fellowship, they all seemed to get a kick out of the course.
“You never get tired of playing this course,” said Ron Brandt, a member. “It’s one heck of a layout. It’s not the best conditioned, but it is the best layout in Volusia County. Although it’s always the same, it’s a little bit different each time you play it.”
The Men’s Golf Association still seeks new members who want to join a group of jokesters and guys who enjoy a round of golf. For more information, call 677-7117.
It was better late than never for Tomoka Oaks member Floyd Pettit, who grew up as a caddie and golfer. Still playing at 91 years old, Pettit recorded his first hole-in-one on Friday, June 19, on the Tomoka Oaks Golf Course.