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When it came time to reimagine KickingBird Golf, staff, stakeholders and City of Edmond Director of Golf Brian Soerensen spent a lot of time checking out public and private courses across the region, looking for ideas about how Edmond’s oldest golf course could grow and improve.
But that team also spent a lot of time thinking about things beyond the traditional golf audience.
“We have had for years – and continue to have – some of the most loyal players in the area, if not the region,” Soerensen said. “And, for that reason, when it came time to give our clubhouse, our course and our facilities a fresh look, we were committed to raising the bar. We want KickingBird to redefine what people envision when they think of a municipal course. We focus strongly on the relational aspect of our business and our customers’ overall experience, and we hope our new facilities will help us attain these initiatives.
“We also wanted to offer up something to appeal to maybe the novice golfer, or the non-golfer. We wanted to make this place as much about the overall experience as we did golf. We want KickingBird to be a place that offers something for everyone.”
With nearly $21 million invested in the project, when the course opens for public play July 1 – right after a special celebration on June 29 and an opening tournament on June 30 – what visitors will find is a facility that offers state-of-the-art amenities.
A new, three-hole short game practice facility on the north side of the clubhouse that partners with a 12,000 square foot putting green on the south side just outside the restaurant and turn bar, near the tees for holes Nos. 1 and 10.
The course has undergone an upgrade, as well. All the greens have been rebuilt and some have been strategically moved, including No. 9, formerly a par 5, but now a 450-yard uphill par 4. The fairways have been widened and re-sprigged with Tahoma 31 bermudagrass. The adjustments mean the course now plays about 200 yards longer than before, at more than 6,900 yards. A new, more robust irrigation system has been installed to keep the course in great playing condition.
“We think our regular players will notice the enhancements and changes right away,” Soerensen said. “We are very excited about the expanded driving range and all the technology that can benefit both serious players and people looking for a fun way to spend some time with family and friends. And having Chase Cooper as our Director of Instruction will allow us to take our golf instruction to a new level.
“There is so much more to offer to players – before, during and after their rounds. The goal always has been to have players leaving here after their day thinking, ‘Wow, that is not like any other municipal course I’ve ever played.’ We want to be the facility that everyone is talking about when they choose where to play golf in our region.”
But, beyond the course, KickingBird offers plenty of non-golf attractions.
The new restaurant – The Lookout at KickingBird – is operated by Hole In One Food and Beverage LLC, which also owns and operates The Mule and The Press, and will be fully staffed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The “turn bar” on the east end of the clubhouse has a covered, comfortable patio and handy to-go choices for players heading out for the back 9.
Also new is a 144-seat special events center adjacent to the clubhouse that, at 6,670 square feet, can easily accommodate corporate events, wedding receptions, dinners and more. In addition, in the clubhouse is a spacious boardroom available for gatherings or when an off-site meeting is needed.
“Our special events center is new and has catering capabilities so it can host comfortably a variety of events,” Soerensen said. “We’ve also added new multi-media screens to provide up-to-date information on events, tournaments, restaurant offerings and more throughout the clubhouse.”
Closed for the project since July 1, 2021, Soerensen is eager to get KickingBird Golf open and operational.
“This was a very large project and this operation will be new for all of us,” he said. “We ask our customers to please be patient with us as we learn how to best operate all the different facets of our operation. The course will be hosting its traditional events, including the Oklahoma Golf Association State Junior Championship, as well as other annual collegiate, high school and fund-raising tournaments.
“What is very exciting are the new events that we are already booking because of these new improvements. We have been named the host site for the 2024 NCAA Men’s Division II Super Regional and were recently named as the host for the 2025 NCAA Women’s Division II Super Regional. We will be hosting the 2023 South Central Section PGA Walter Hopper Junior Championship which will bring in junior golfers from all of Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Kansas.”
Poised for the future, Soerensen is eager to “tee off.”
“Economic development is one of our strategic initiatives,” he said. “It was sales tax revenue that built this new facility and we look forward to creating a successful business operation that will generate high levels of sales tax revenue for many years to come. But, mostly, we want KickingBird Golf to be the place where everyone in Edmond can find a way to come and enjoy themselves.”
For more information, including how to reserve tee times, go to KickingBirdGolf.com.