History Of The Course
Royal Oak Golf Club was a dream of Don Soper. Don had a dream that he could tum a 63-acre former dump site, with few trees and old streets and sidewalks, into the best municipal nine-hole golf course around, with a country club atmosphere. As we walk the tree-lined fairways, putt the large plush greens, and relax in the friendly clubhouse, we know that Don's dream was realized.
The Royal Oak Golf Club was constructed during 1960 and 1961, opening on Memorial Day 1962. The land for the course was leased by the City of Royal Oak to Don and Ruth Soper for twenty years. Don Soper provided the funds to build the course, clubhouse, and maintenance building. Improvements during the twenty-year lease were financed from greens fee money. These improvements included the parking lot, cart ham, cart paths, six-foot fence around the course, new greens on holes one and four, pond in front of hole four, over fourteen hundred trees, and clubhouse improvements. The profits from the operation of the course were divided equally between the City and the Sopers
The Royal Oak Golf Club was a forerunner for the way in which governmental units throughout the United States finance major recreation facilities today. Golf courses, arenas, concession facilities, and indoor tennis facilities, to name a few, are built on public land with the construction financed by private enterprise. News of the opening of the Royal Oak Golf Club was carried by a national news service and appeared in newspapers throughout the country.
This par 35, 3107-yard layout has had many proud moments during its history. The yearly club championship and periodic scrambles are anxiously awaited by the members. The Royal Oak Golf Classic was held in 1971 through 1978 and featured Michigan's top golfers. In 1975 the Royal Oak Golf Club golfers raised $9,066 for National Golf Day charities, a national record for an individual golf club. The Christmas Classic was initiated in 1982 and each year raises funds for the needy in Royal Oak at Christmas time.
Don Soper's dream of 1960 will continue to flourish in the future as long as the residents of Royal Oak place a high priority on maintaining the quality of life in their community.