The former Watson Ranch golf course in Coos Bay, Ore. is under new ownership directed by Andre Liloc, a Seattle businessman with a technology and advertising background who most recently worked for ESPN. The 95-year-old golf course has been rerouted into a “new nine” and “original nine,” and other members of Liloc’s family are helping with graphics, apparel merchandising and restaurant management.
Since buying the former Watson Ranch golf course last summer, Andre Liloc has been trying to figure out the best way to embrace the history of the 95-year-old property that is located south of Coos Bay, Ore., The World of Coos Bay reported.
One of the best ways to do that, Liloc decided, was to give the course a new name, The World reported. The new brand, along with other changes, was revealed to the public during the grand opening of the Coos Golf Club on April 7th, during an even that also featured free clinics and food, The World reported.
“I’m hoping that people can come out and have a good time and see that there are changes going on,” Liloc told The World before the reopening event. “There’s a lot of people that know about this place, [but] a lot of people that don’t.”
As part of the rebranding of the course, Coos Golf Club has flipped the order of the two nines, The World reported, with the original nine holes (the original routing when the course opened in 1923) now serving as the back nine and featuring a few changes.
The club’s new scorecards, The World reported, now shows the course divided into “the new nine” and “the original nine.”
That change has also put the 18th hole right next to the clubhouse/restaurant and pro shop, The World reported.
“My thought is if we can get more tournaments out here, this should be the finishing hole,” Liloc told The World as he looked out over the green from the dining room, which has been updated with new carpet and paint.
Eventually, Liloc plans to expand a deck outside the dining area that will give people a chance to sit outside and watch people coming up to the closing hole after finishing their own rounds, The World reported.
As someone who is new to golf course ownership, Liloc, who is from Seattle and has a technology and advertising background, most recently working for ESPN, has embraced the property and those from the public who patronize it, The Worldreported.
“He has this knack of remembering everyone’s name,” said Alden Peterson, who was hired as the club’s Head Golf Professional last fall. “He’s put his all into this. I know it’s going to work out.
“He’s in it 100 percent,” Peterson added. “The family is in it. The community is in it.”
Liloc got interested in golf after the U.S. Open came to Chambers Bay in Tacoma, Wash. three years ago, The World reported. He took his kids, then eight and five, to the tournament (where they got in free with his paid admission), and everyone in the family fell in love with the sport.
While he hadn’t played much since becoming a dad, The World reported, Liloc then found himself taking the kids to the driving range and then out to regular courses.
And that led to his deciding to take the plunge into ownership, taking an instant liking to his new course.
“The two sides are so different,” he told The World about the Coos GC course. “That adds to the uniqueness.
“The greens are kind of fun,” he added. “The picturesque view is really neat. It’s really challenging, but it’s fair.”
Liloc told The World that he has “a laundry list” of improvements for the course, including improving the driving range and tee boxes, but that he is enjoying the process.
“I’m having a blast,” he said. “It’s so much fun. It’s a whole different beast [from working for ESPN].”
While Liloc still lives in Seattle — he and his wife, Karissa, had already paid the annual private school tuition for their children — he has been coming to the Coos GC property, 400 miles south, a couple of times a month, The World reported.
“I love being around people and meeting people and seeing people happy,” he said. “It makes me happy when I see everyone excited about what is happening. The support from the community has been amazing.”
The new owner has a brother and two sisters, and the entire family got involved with the course, The World reported. “For us, it’s a family affair,” Liloc said.
His younger sister, Lara, is learning graphic design and came up with the club’s new logo, The World reported, while the older of his two sisters, Maia Rice, has worked in merchandising and is helping with the apparel. And his brother Paolo is managing the restaurant.
“It’s been fun for them to help out,” Liloc said.
Liloc also made two hires that he considers very important for the facility, The World reported—bringing in Peterson as the golf pro, something the facility hadn’t had for several years, and hiring Kyle Moses to be the course superintendent.
Peterson has a history with the golf course from his days playing for North Bend (Ore.) High School, The World reported.
“Going back to my last job, I was always looking for people that are passionate,” Liloc said. “Alden came to us. He wanted to be a part of this. He wants to see it succeed.”
Peterson said he learned how to play tournament golf and how to be a better golfer during his youth days at the course.
“I knew I need to be out here,” said. “I love teaching.” The community has embraced the lessons that Peterson has started to offer, The World reported.
Moses was a good enough golfer to play on mini-tours and then fell in love with helping maintain courses, The World reported, and most recently worked at Tres Rios, a course in Goodyear, Ariz.
“It’s great to have him here,” Liloc said.
Ironically, The World reported, Liloc hasn’t been playing much golf in recent months, instead planning for the April 7threopening and overseeing improvements to the dining room when he’s been in town.
The exception, though, has been “Muni Madness,” an 18-hole game played on Tuesdays that has proved to be hugely popular.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Liloc said of the event, for which all of the holes are set up as par-3s, with a prize fund and a growing fund for anyone who makes a hole-in-one during the event (which hasn’t happened yet).
Liloc has also embraced youth golf, one of his passions, The World reported.
In addition to hosting a number of local high school teams at Coos GC, special junior rates are also offered, The World reported.
And Coos Golf Club is joining the PGA Junior Golf League this year, teaming with Bandon Crossings, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and Sunset Bay Golf Club, another new facility for the program. A free clinic for golfers ages 13 and under was being offered at the course as part of the grand opening, The World reported.
“Building that youth is huge for us,” Liloc said.
The schedule for the reopening included a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m., followed by a nine-hole, two-man scramble tournament at 9:30.
Peterson offered free clinics at 9:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., along with the PGA Junior Golf League clinic at 11 a.m.
A free lunch and awards were then planned for noon, with a special edition of “Muni Madness” then scheduled to start at 3 p.m.