In the mid-1970s architect Pete Dye began to design Oak Tree Golf Club with the directive to make it the hardest golf course in the world.
“When I was working on Oak Tree,” said Dye, “the only comment Ernie Vossler and Joe Walser (the course’s co-founders) made was, ‘can’t you make it any harder?’”
Dye calls Oak Tree the finest inland golf course he has ever built, carefully excluding his seaside gems at Harbour Town, Casa de Campo, TPC Sawgrass and Long Cove. All of these Dye courses, including Oak Tree National, are ranked among Golf Magazine’s 100 Greatest. In 2019 National was ranked 60th in America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses by Golf Digest, calling it “one of Pete Dye’s sternest tests of golf.”
The course has everything – sand, water, trees, length, thick rough and fiercely contoured greens. Dye enhanced the gently rolling property, adding some bumps and hollows of his own along the fairways. The course meanders through oak forests, across streams and around lakes with water coming into play on 13 holes, including each of the par-3 holes. In 2003, Dye returned to redesign several holes and extended the course to over 7,400 yards.
In 2008, Oklahoma businessman Ed Evans, along with Everett Dobson, Brad Naifeh, Greg Naifeh and Garland Cupp, purchased the Club, and initiated a nearly $6 million course renovation to be led by Dye. The updates also included the installation of a state-of-the-art teaching facility led by expert golf instructors: former PGA tour player Jim Woodward and E.J. Pfister, ranked as one of the best golf teachers in Oklahoma by Golf Digest. In April of 2009 the Club was renamed Oak Tree National.
The Fitness Center at Oak Tree National specializes in fitness programs for golfers. Many well-known PGA Touring professionals, club pros, college and high school golfers, as well as competitive amateurs take advantage of the comprehensive and innovative golf-specific programs. The fitness center has become one of the top golf fitness and injury rehab centers in this part of the country.
Oak Tree National has been honored to host many major events over the years: 1984 U.S. Amateur Championship, 1988 PGA Championship, 2000 PGA Club Pro Championship, 2006 Senior PGA Championship, and the 2014 U.S. Senior Open.
In January of 2019 Everett Dobson acquired 100% ownership of National. Today, Oak Tree National is home to 6 former touring pros, 13 current touring pros and numerous young, aspiring tour players.