Letter to the editor: Remembering Oak Lake Golf Course
I wanted to add to Mary Ann Thomas’ article on the closure and sale of Oak Lake (“Auction at Oak Lake Golf Course in Upper Burrell draws hundreds,” Oct. 26, TribLIVE).
The original 9-hole course was designed and built by brothers Bert and Judd Dunbar of Lower Burrell, along with Ike Finn, around 1956. Sometime in the early 1970s, the course was sold to Conley, which expanded it to 18 holes. The second nine was designed by a golf course architect who did an excellent job of working with limited acreage to build a relatively short “shot-makers” course that rewarded accuracy and course management rather than brute strength.
Unfortunately, given the lessened interest in golf, along with changing demographics and the economy, the appraisal concept of “highest and best use” would indicate that a housing development is where the future of these 113 acres lies, similar to the fate of the Swank Dairy Farm in Lower Burrell.
Reading the article was bittersweet. It brought back fond memories of playing there, but also was like reading the pre-death obituary of an elderly golf icon. I regret that I won’t be able to pay my respects by playing one final round and attending the auction.
Thanks to the Dunbars and the Conley family for the memories and good stewardship of the course. I will be interested to read about the selling price of the land, as well as the buyer’s plans for the course.
The writer is a Lower Burrell native.