The Broken Arrow, Okla., golf course will be closed for 12-18 months for extensive renovations, and will ultimately serve as an amenity for the new resort. The planned facility will entail 140 rooms, including some cabins and luxury teepees, as well as game bird hunting, horseback riding, fishing ponds, pools, a spa, tennis courts, and a golf school.
Groundbreaking for a $122 million resort next to Emerald Falls Golf Club in Broken Arrow, Okla., is planned for this spring, closing the course for an estimated 12 to 18 months for extensive renovations, the Tulsa (Okla.) World reported.
Developers are studying course renovation suggestions from associates linked with Nicklaus Design, among others, and expect to finalize their plans and contract for services by April, the World reported.
Once revamped, the course will serve as an amenity to the new resort, which has plans for 140 rooms including some cabins and luxury teepees, game bird hunting, horseback riding, fishing ponds, pools, a spa, tennis courts and other amenities, according to developer David Oberle.
According to Oberle, the project is not comparable to any other resort, as it will be designed to incorporate Oklahoma history and landforms, the World reported.
Bernie Carballo, owner of Carballo Ventures, funded the construction of Emerald Falls and has invested millions in the golf course from its inception in 2007, mostly without return as the course has not yet operated in the black in any calendar year, the World reported.
A group of private investors, however, is helping to fund the resort development, which Oberle said will attract guests primarily from a five-hour drive radius, as well as serve Oklahoma businesses and individuals, the World reported.
Plans are for the upgraded golf course to offer memberships, resort play and still remain open to the public at least several days a week, the World reported.
The project marks the second time a golf course has been extensively redone in the location. Emerald Falls was built on the site of a former 36-hole facility called Deer Run, constructed and owned by Wayne Coppage. The course was redesigned by Jerry Slack with a reopening in 2007 to serve as the centerpiece of a planned real estate development, the World reported.
Though there was room for 850 lots at Emerald Falls, and estimates were for hundreds of lots to be sold and houses constructed by 2014, only 20 are built and occupied now, Oberle said. The course, however, has grown slowly but steadily in popularity, from 13,500 rounds played in its first full season to approximately 20,000 in 2013, the World reported.
“We realized if we were ever going to see a return we were going to have to do something drastic something original and creative,” Oberle said. “We’ve had the top industry consultants involved, and there was a consensus to build a truly unique resort on a five-star level.”
Oberle is the owner of Progeny, a golf course construction company that did most of the building of Emerald Falls. He has maintained a friendship and business relationship with Carballo since, and in February married Carballo’s daughter Lucia Carballo. She is now the majority owner of the original Emerald Falls development, while Oberle and Bernie Carballo have formed a partnership called Emerald Falls Development Corp. to spearhead the resort, the World reported.
In addition to the as-yet-unnamed resort, Oberle said there are plans for an upscale senior living center and a shopping village. Plenty of room for additional housing remains, though developing residential real estate will not be an initial priority, Oberle said.
A new clubhouse is planned, and there will also be an extensive indoor teaching facility and a golf school. The current clubhouse will eventually be turned into a community center. Specifics on the redesign of the course remain uncertain at this point, but tentative plans call for changing the greens to one of the new ultradwarf Bermuda varieties and possibly moving four holes, the World reported.
Oberle estimated the project will create more than 2,200 jobs from construction through permanent operation. A tentative opening date for the resort is spring of 2016 and for the golf course late summer or fall of 2015, the World reported.