As it turns out, my gift of gab got me several speaking jobs this winter. At the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) conference in San Diego, I got stopped by Liz Doyle who asked me to come speak at the Oregon regional NGCOA conference. I had never been to this part of the country before, so I took her up on her offer.
I had so much fun. I really enjoy traveling and touring other golf courses from around the country to see how they set things up. Here’s a little peek into Liz & Jeff Doyle’s beautiful golf course in Monroe, Oregon. It’s named Diamond Woods. I loved to hear all their fun stories about how they built their golf course. It had been a dream of Jeff and his brother, Greg, to build a golf course. Their family wanted to name their golf course Rattlesnake Creek, but Liz put the axe down on that! She didn’t want people to be afraid to come to their business. A beautiful golf course that Greg meticulously carved out of an old Christmas tree farm. Jeff had previously been a professional baseball player, so the name Diamond Woods was something everyone in the family could agree.
When I first arrived, I got to meet Liz and her family and we had some light snacks in the Sky Box. This was a really cool room that overlooked their finishing holes.You can see it in this picture. It is the series of windows of the building that have a cart path that runs underneath the building. The family and staff were charming and we chatted about everything under the sun. It is fun to talk to other family owned businesses who share the same trials and concerns as we do. It was like I was talking to my own family members. We walked outside of the clubhouse and toured the outside facilities. I loved their driving range! It had such a beautiful entrance to it.Once you were at the top of the driving range tee, you could see that they had two options for hitting. A covered area that was on concrete and had mats that golfers could use, then in front was a grass tee box.
My favorite part about their driving range was this old decoy moose that they had positioned for golfers to take their aim at hitting! I absolutely loved it.We hopped on a golf cart and toured the course. It was an unusually nice day in Oregon, so it felt good to see green and smell freshly cut grass.
Just like at our facility, most of her staff felt like family to them. They were proud of all the work that Diamond Woods had done over the years. Her outside crew had recently finished carving out all new tee signs for each hole.
We stopped to see more decoy animals. This made me realize that I definitely need to put some decoy animals on our golf course. I just think it’d be awesome for golfers to get their picture taken with an elk or bison hiding in the woods.
Liz told me that these were animals that her golfers had placed on this hole. She said that sometimes she finds them in inappropriate positions. I was happy to hear that golfers are the same no matter what part of the country they call home.
Her outside staff was so creative in using what they have to make things work. I loved these ropes that they had created to keep golfers at bay.It is some re-bar with a golf ball on top. Loved that idea!
They also had several bridges all throughout the property. The golf course has some pretty steep terrain, so it was necessary for there to be cart paths throughout. They used old railroad cars as their base for the bridge.Once the bridge was in place, they covered the old cars with some lumber and BAM! Beautiful bridges!They also had been busy cutting firewood that winter to sell from their property. It was all perfectly stacked and ready for sale!
I also really liked their idea on how they handle water out on the golf course. They have built two different housing stations out on the course with an “honors” box. They install small refrigerators in these buildings with bottled water inside. The metal lock box is where golfers just put in a dollar.
They had a lodge on their property. I seriously wanted to move it to my golf course. It was absolutely lovely! They have been working on launching wedding receptions and events, but have had some trouble because it is quite a drive from town. To help accommodate that deterrent, they have four rooms that are in the lodge and ready for rental. I seriously left like a queen staying in the lodge.
We walked around the lodge and got to take in all their great ideas. Liz and Jeff’s daughter has quite an eye for interior design. She had decorated all of the rooms. Their staff had helped to build the lodge to help with cost.
They were set up for a business retreat that would be happening the next day. There were tons of great outside views. Here is their reception area. They are only able to seat about 100 people inside, but they have a huge deck and covered patio areas where they were able to host additional guests.
We walked out on the path and I loved all the old rustic charm. It was just a beautiful place to visit. She had several fun chandeliers that were hanging outside. It was such a great space. I could see them continuing to grow this side of their business. The golf course has been around for about 15 years, but the lodge is fairly new. Of course, I had to check out the kitchen. I always have to see just how they put everything together behind the scenes. That is what I always find the most interesting!
I had supper with Liz and Jeff at a steak house on my first night. We went out for BBQ the next night. They were such a great family. We really clicked well and I can’t say enough good things about the Doyles and their beautiful golf course. If you’re ever in Oregon, you need to visit Diamond Woods!