History of Tierra Oaks - Redding, CA
A Gated Northern CA Golf Course Community
Tierra Oaks Estates
One part of a three part story:
Tierra Oaks Estates is a neighborhood of Custom Homes on estate sized lots within this Gated Golf Community. This spectacular gated neighborhood is surrounded and intertwined by the 18 hole Championship Golf Course known as Tierra Oaks Golf Club.
Tierra Oaks - The Original
The original Tierra Oaks development includes Homes on acreage parcels adjacent yet NOT attached to the Golf Course nor a part of the Gated Community.
You can read the descripiton below on how it was developed.
Tierra Knolls - Proposed
Property at the south end of the Golf Course has a development in the Planning stages called Tierra Knolls.
The plan includes homes with Golf Course Frontage on holes 11,12,13, & 14. If constructed as approved by the City of Redding it would not be a part of the existing gated community.
The History & Events at Tierra Oaks
Many years of enjoyment have been had as a member of the Golf Club (since the mid 1990's) and Men's Club. This includes time as head of the men's group although the following information could not have been compiled without the help of:
Jim Summers (the Golf Course Architect), Dan Kowall (the First GM and Head Golf Professional), Don Davis (Son of Harrell and Louise Davis who was the developer and visionary), and Perry Massa, (Chief Title Officer of Fidelity Title Co.). A special thanks goes out to them for their collective efforts.
I hope you enjoy knowing the History of Tierra Oaks including the Golf Club and development.
Note: Anyone who was involved in the early days and would like to add to this, please contact me as I would like this to be as complete and accurate as possible.
The first land purchase of 160 acres that would become the original Tierra Oaks Development was completed in December of this year. This parcel would be split into residential lots with a minimum of three acres and with CC&R's requiring the building of quality custom homes which set the standard for what was to follow. Harrell Davis was the developer and major force behind this, the beginning of Tierra Oaks as well as the future development associated with the Tierra Oaks name. This parcel of land is located slightly west of what would later become the gated community of Tierra Oaks Estates and Tierra Oaks Golf Club.
In January the first phase of the original development was approved and lots were being sold in the original Tierra Oaks development.
While traversing Tierra Oaks Golf Course, you can see some of the homes in this original development on holes 3, 4, & 5. They share the Tierra Oaks name and a few have views of the golf course, yet they have no direct access to the course or the final golf course development. They are accessible from two spots off of Union School Rd. at both Phadera Lane and Tierra Oaks Drive.
On June 4th of this year, Harrell Davis the future developer of Tierra Oaks Golf Club acquired interest in a 160 acre parcel (58 acres of which would eventually be included in the new development, a large portion of this property became unit 3 within the original development). This would be the first of many parcels that would become the Golf Course and the surrounding Tierra Oaks Estates. When all the property later became cobbled together the site consisted of well over 500 acres.
Over the next few years:
The remaining property acquisitions consisted of a 108 acre parcel which became a part of the driving range, the clubhouse location, and a still vacant remnant to the east of the second hole. Another larger parcel consisting of 205 acres includes much of the center of the golf course and includes a large portion of the the beautiful homesite's. The southern portion had yet to be added.
There were many property transfers including partial interest transfers over these years with people and entities such as: Whispering Oaks General Partnership with Jim Graves and Charlie Moss of Moss Lumber involved, Mitchellinda Ranches Inc. which included Jack & Janet Mitchell, plus members of the Olsen Family which included Christian, Orma, Gary, and Barbara. These were in addition to Harrell Davis and his wife Louise.
The neighboring Whispering Oaks Estates located to the south and east off of Old Oregon Trail had an early impact on the entire project. Much of what we know today of Whispering Oaks are the homes that were built in the 1980's and 1990's on acreage parcels. What isn't as well known is, a portion of the property that would later become Tierra Oaks was at one point a portion of Whispering Oaks.
Golf Course Architect Jim Summers as a part of a company called Golfco was contacted by Developer Harrell Davis. They made arrangements for Jim Summers and Golfco to design, manage, and own the golf course when completed. In conjunction with the routing of the golf course Davis would develop the lots in the surrounding residential development.
As a Golf Course Architect, Summers has been described as an "on-site craftsman" and successful architect with his early designs showcased at nearby Canyon Oaks in Chico, the upper 9 at Plumas Pines, and Eagle Valley West in Carson City Nevada. Jim described his early visits with a sense of pride in what was ultimately created. His early treks of the property included crawling under Manzanita and crossing the creeks while avoiding snakes in order to route the golf course.
After beginning the rough layout of the course there was bit of difficulty because there wasn't quite enough property to finish all 18 holes. Davis then exercised an option he had on the neighboring 144 acres which ultimately became the southern portion of the golf course near holes 10, 11, 12 and 13. With the additional property and the routing complete, Golfco began getting approvals from the City of Redding, Shasta County, and State Fish and Game. Also with the recent work on Canyon Oaks in Chico they were prepared for the proper submittals of documents and fortunate to get approvals quickly.
Deposits were being taken on the Tierra Oaks Estates lots from willing buyers, yet the golf course was still years off.
With approvals now in place for the City, County, and Fish & Game, plus "will serve" letters from the utilities needed for the project they were ready to go. Construction of Tierra Oaks Golf Club was to start in the spring of 1990.
The combination General Manager and Head Golf Professional Dan Kowall made his first visit to the property. He had a previous relationship as a Head Golf Professional on another project with Summers.
Golf Course Architect Sandy Tatum was added to the Golfco partnership. His pedigree includes being the former president of the USGA and member of the Stanford National Champions Golf team in 1941 and 1942, and Individual Champion of the NCAA.
Sandy Tatum through the PGA also renovated Harding Park in 2002-2003 located in San Francisco where the Presidents Cup was held in 2009, and the location of the 2005 American Express Championship which is a world golf invitational event for the top 50 players in the world. You can read an interesting interview with him here.
The two men collaborated on the final design of Tierra Oaks Golf Course as well as later projects at Lockford Springs in Lodi CA, Mount Shasta Resort in Mount Shasta, Apple Mountain in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento and Stonetree Golf Club in Novato located at the north end of the San Francisco Bay.
Tierra Oaks Golf Club construction began and minor adjustments were made as each hole unfolded. The routing of the course which takes you along Stillwater Creek and it's many tributaries has an interesting and nostalgic design. While traversing the the course you don't return to the clubhouse until the conclusion of your 18 holes of golf. This is much like Pebble Beach Golf links and The Old Course at St. Andrews, the home of golf, .
Bella Vista Water district was unable to provide water as previously agreed and the construction of the course was held up due to drought conditions and disagreements over the service. Nearly half of this years construction time was lost.
Construction of the Golf Course was back on track and continued.
In the Fall, the large culverts spanning Stillwater Creek that provide access to the Estates were put into place. Excitement was building as the grass on the 18th hole was also making its debut at this time.
The summer of 1993 was when the golf course was complete and promptly featured in the Northern California Golf Association magazine with many accolades. Tierra Oaks Golf Club was gracing the cover of the magazine and was the topic of the feature article.
You can review the NCGA article in their archives along with the pictures used at the time of the publication.
The operations at this time were housed in a temporary mobile office structure located at the far north end of Driving range. The Cart Barn was under construction in the early months of this year. The selling of Memberships were under way and they were of the Non-Equity variety as they are still are to this day. Upon completion of the Cart Barn, the Pro Shop opened and was located in what is now the Cart Maintenance portion of the Cart Barn. The Clubhouse construction was drawing near.
Building lots were beginning to be sold within Tierra Oaks Estates, this was the first phase and included 86 homesite's. This first phase of the project occupied a portion of the land adjoining the golf course while future phases were still being planned. Sales were initially brisk but soon slowed. The quality of the development was, and still is unique to Redding with its stringent CC&R's. The homes to be built in this development were required to be of a very high quality..
With the Clubhouse completion in July of 1994, the Georgian inspired structure became the focal point at the end of the long driveway entrance and a relaxing point upon completion of a round of golf. ---- The Golf Club was now complete.
As a part of the construction of the homesite's a bond was issued in May of 1994 for just over 3.8 million dollars. These funds were used to widen and reconstruct Old Oregon Trail, construct a sewer pump station, sewer lines, water lines, fire hydrants, street lights, underground power, and gas lines within the subdivision. The bond was paid off in September of 2014, it was formerly paid as an assessment within the annual tax bill on each parcel.
Golfco found itself struggling to fill the membership and eventually succumbed to the financial pressure during this downturn in the economy. The financier of Golfco, John DeNault was left with the ownership of the Golf Club and the duty to manage it.
American Golf Corporation was contracted in April of this year to a 20 year management agreement. Soon, with adjustments in marketing and pricing, the club membership began to grow.
As a part of a package deal that had American Golf take over Tierra Oaks, they also contracted for two other golf courses which included the ownership and management of Canyon Oaks, plus management of Bidwell Park Golf Course. Both of these golf courses are located in Chico.
In July of this year, Tierra Oaks Golf Club was host to the 10th annual Northern California Amateur Championship. This annual NCGA sanctioned event drew players from the Northern California and Southern Oregon. The NCGA representative John Nakamura presented a memorial plaque to the General Manager Dan Kowall on the #1 Tee, A picture of the presentation is shown here.
As the year progressed the neighboring Tierra Oaks Estates fared the same financial downfall as the golf course and the late Dr. Tom Lowe who had been one of the key financiers became the owner who then sold the remaining lots.
Dan Kowall, the first General Manager who was also the Head Golf Professional left the club in May.
Blackpointe Homes acquired the surrounding undeveloped property along with the remaining lots in phase 1 of the development. They proposed smaller homes to be built in clusters that would allow a large amount of open space on the vacant property. The homes were planned to have less stringent CC&R's and be smaller than the original phase of homes. As expected the plan was met with disdain from the existing property owners. Ultimately it was approved although they were unable to attain financing to build, and the plan failed.
The second phase of Tierra Oaks homesite's were now available which included 12 Lots in the cul-de-sac on San Vincente Dr. located between the 8th and 9th holes of the Golf Course. These lots sold quickly and soon many homes were under construction. With this addition there were now 98 total homesite's.
The third phase of homesite's was now available which included 35 Lots on Alicia Parkway, Palermo Dr, and Belleterre Pl. These lots had waiting lists as they were nearing completion. Unfortunate delays in the completion coincided with a slow down in the economy, most of the lots were sold when they became available although some were left unsold. Two of these lots have flood plain difficulties near the 7th green and 8th tee box which leaves 33, for a total of 131 homesite's in Tierra Oaks Estates.
In the first week of August of this year a fire started in the clubhouse between the kitchen and dining room. After a recent kitchen stove replacement the firefighters believed the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion from within the wall separating the two rooms. The fire was primarily confined to the dining room and kitchen areas in addition to a portion of the roof structure above. A large part of the damage was caused by the water from the fire sprinklers as the shear volume of it ruined most items it contacted. The good news was the clubhouse was saved and the repair work began shortly thereafter.
A very large temporary tent was set up on the driving range to host events that had been scheduled previously, unfortunately many events were cancelled due to not having access to the Clubhouse. Fortunately the Pro Shop remained undamaged and open during the time that repairs were being completed and the Clubhouse re-opened the in last week of November. The members and guests were happy to have it back with its updated look and color scheme.
The southern portion of the property that Blackpointe Homes had unsuccessfully proposed its cluster homes, has a new development proposal called Tierra Knolls. This most recent effort is being brought forward by a new project development company. This plan which has undergone many adjustments as would be expected in its design phase has also been approved and is awaiting favorable market conditions.
TierraOaks.com transfer of ownership occurred in November of 2009. For many years the previous web site was owned by Tom Lowe who was instrumental in financing and selling of the homesite's. The goal now for Tierra Oaks.com is to help spread the word of the attributes of Tierra Oaks Golf Club and the surrounding custom homes. Tierra Oaks Homes include the original Tierra Oaks, the gated community of Tierra Oaks Estates, and more to come as development proceeds.
In March we welcomed Kevin Williams as the new Golf Course General Manager.
In September, David Major joined us as the Golf Course Superintendent.
On May 1st and after 18 years of being managed by American Golf, the DeNault family is again managing the Golf Club that they own. Changes were to be expected initially and perhaps even as the year progresses. The original lease contract with American Golf was for 20 years, it ended 2 years early with the return to the DeNault family.
Soon after the management transfer longtime Head Professional Travis Grisham and David Major the Head Superintendent have moved on. The new Golf Professional is the old Golf Professional....well sort of, Dan Kowall is back for a second tenure as Tierra Oaks Head Golf Professional.
Ryan Cheers has joined the staff as the Golf Course Superintendent. He is a hard working young man with a college degree in agronomy and a desire to improve the club. He has been welcomed by the membership who have high hopes with the recent changes.
On November 17, 2013 the original developer and Tierra Oaks visionary Harell Davis who had been living in Indio CA passed away peacefully at his home.
Manny Zavalar joined the staff as Head Superintendent after a short vacancy.
A few personnel changes occurred early this year with Food and Beverage Manager Jessica moving on with her career goals. Shortly thereafter General Manager Kevin Williams accepted a new position in the Monterey area as manager of Pacific Grove Golf Links.
Significant flooding took place in February and damaged a few of the cart bridges along Stillwater Creek. Many were readily repairable mostly with railing work. Unfortunately the second portion of the cart bridge on hole number two was moved off of its abutment which required more time and effort to get repaired.
The green complex on hole 17 was very small and has struggled with compaction and lack of consistent growth for some time. Previous efforts to make this better have not proven successful. This year it has been addressed in a much more complete manor with a complete rebuild. It began in March of this year and re-opened to play in October.
In November after long being available for sale the Golf Club of Tierra Oaks was purchased by local residents Jason and Becky Munson. They also own Grape Ranch Golf Course in Palo Cedro, a very nice 9 hole golf course that features a great layout and views of Mt Lassen.
The Tierra Oaks purchase is a welcome change with local ownership and someone who wants to own the property as opposed to a financier taking it back on default. High hopes abound and congratulations to the Munson's.
2023 & Beyond
More will be posted as it occurs.