Houston’s Oakwood Golf Club has dodged a bullet – again – and will remain a golf course for the foreseeable future.
Houston residents Doug and Michele Moseley and Doug's sister, Dr. Lori McPherson, of Mountain Grove, recently reached a deal to purchase the 9-hole venue from owner Bud Evans. The new owners said they will be leasing the course to Doug and Tina Sutton, of Houston, who will operate it in its current form. The Sutton’s son, Kobe, will work full-time at the course. He is a 2016 graduate of Houston High School and played on the Tigers’ golf team for three years, and will return from living and working in Springfield to be part of the family golf course venture.
Evans announced the deal Monday. The property was sold for $250,000. Evans said he still owns the golf equipment.
“I really didn’t want to see the course go away,” Doug Sutton said. “It’s such a nice place to play and all the members are so good; it’s just a great opportunity to do something good for it.”
Both Suttons are employed in the education field in Texas County. Doug is technology director for the Licking School District and Tina is a pre-school teacher at Houston Schools. Doug said he is an avid golfer who has been a long-time member at Oakwood. He plans to retire soon and dedicate himself to managing the course.
Doug Moseley is a farmer and land investor. Michele Moseley is nurse at Houston Elementary School. A conversation between Michele and Tina Sutton – who work in the same building – got the ball rolling on the golf course lease arrangement.
“I guess it was kind of their dream to run a golf course,” Doug Moseley said. “It all worked out pretty good. As long as they want to run it as a golf course, we’ll keep it like that. They can run it that way for 100 years as long as it’s working out.
“It’s something they really want to do and something they love, so I think it’s going to go well for them.”
Doug Sutton said the plan is to transform Oakwood Golf Club, which has faced its demise multiple times since it moved to its current location since 1985, into more viable, self-sustaining business.
“I want to advance the course and make it better,” he said. “I want to draw more people from outside the area, and I want to make it something that will be there for my grandkids.”
Doug Sutton said Kobe is all in with regard to his new direction in life. He’ll perform both clubhouse and maintenance duties.
“He’s really excited,” Doug Sutton said. “Golf is one of his true passions.”
While details are still being worked out, most – if not all – of the annual fundraising tournaments staged at Oakwood will continue, and local high school teams will still have a place to play. Doug Sutton said he’s looking at ways to decrease membership rates and greens fees, and the clubhouse grill will operate most days during non-school months and on weekends the rest of the year.
“It will be the cheapest place to play in the area,” he said.
Evans took control at Oakwood in early 2010. He announced the course would be for sale at the club’s annual informational meeting last December, saying he was ready to move on due to his own health, the health of family members and other considerations.
“I’m 65 now, and I want to spend some time doing something other than sitting in a clubhouse,” he said.
Throughout 2017, Evans vowed to sell Oakwood even it was as pastureland. An attempt to sale or lease the course to the City of Houston failed, with the city council unanimously voting against the idea in mid-October.
“I so relieved,” Evans said. “I’m relieved for myself because of my health issues and for the golf teams and for our members. This is big.
“I was really in the doldrums after the city decided not to do it. I feel good. I’m excited about the Sutton family being out there; they have some new ideas, and I told them to go for it. They’re really ready to do some stuff. This couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Doug Sutton said discussions are ongoing as to who will be Oakwood’s grounds-keeping superintendent.
Oakwood Golf Club will continue to have an online presence via a website and Facebook page. The phone number is expected to remain 417-967-3968.
Doug Sutton said he and his family are committed to “making a go of it” at Oakwood.
“I spent most of last weekend out at the course catching members and talking to them and saying, ‘Hey, spread the word; we’re going to make this thing work,’” he said.