Royal Oak Golf Center gets $1.4M makeover

Jo Kroeker
The Detroit News

Royal Oak Golf Center’s $1.4 million in renovations are “a hole in one.”

Those are the words of Mary Lyn Phillips of Ronnisch Construction Group. The Royal Oak-based construction company and Krieger Klatt Architects did the renovations and design. Changes include more tees for the driving range, a major face-lift for the mini-golf course and a new snack shop. The golf center at 3500 Edgar Ave. debuted its changes Thursday.

One of the biggest changes was an additional 22 covered and heated tees on the driving range, bringing the total to 32. A cinder-block wall keeps cold winter winds out, while new windows cool golfers in the summer. The wall’s construction permits more covered tees to be added if they prove popular. In addition, there are 53 open-air tees.

“While this was already a year-round facility, it is really a year-round facility,” said Glenn Pulice, general manager of Royal Oak Golf Center.

Pulice walked over to the mini-golf course with its mountains, waterfalls and safari ambiance.

He said visitors liked the mini-golf before its renovations, with its elevation changes and water features. But some of the features seemed tired and some visitors found the course too difficult. So he signed a check paying for new deluxe golf course carpeting, brought in a mini-golf reconstruction company from Wyoming and had the mountains rebuilt and newly stained.

Pulice seemed equally excited to show off the new room that houses the golf ball cleaner, which will keep clean golf balls warm in the winter months, a simple pleasure for Michigan golfers.

Ed Doyle, one of the owners, said the golf course renegotiated a contract with Royal Oak until 2033 in exchange for $700,000 minimum in renovations. After several meetings and a year of planning, he said they spent double that — funded by the owners and PNC Bank.

With the longer lease, he said he is optimistic for returns on the investment.

Both the architects and the construction managers involved came to this course recreationally before putting their skills together realize the owners’ wish list of renovations.

Architect Jason Krieger said the biggest issue was blending the renovations in with the existing facilities so they look like they’ve always been there.

He said the biggest game-changer, however, is the pavilion, which can accommodate 200 people for parties.

“It used to be a tent and AstroTurf,” he said. “It was hideous. Now, you can have a party here. The return on investment is amazing.”

Construction project manager Luke Orlins said, “It was a great collaboration between the city, the mayor, the community and the recreation department.”

Even though the wish list of the owners mostly translated, Doyle said there’s still room for more.

“It’s a lot to digest,” he said. “We’ll see how it works. We’re always asking what’s the next thing to enhance the consumer experience.”