A Community Effort
Thanks to its club members, the Moccasin Creek Country Club sports a new look for future generations to enjoy.

A Community Effort

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The updated exterior brings a modern look to Moccasin Creek Country Club. Photo by Troy McQuillen.

A $6 million renovation of Moccasin Creek Country Club is all but finished.

Final touches such as landscaping are the only things left to be done. The idea was hatched about six years ago when the club was approaching its 50th anniversary, according to some of the people who were involved with the project.

The clubhouse now has a modern, contemporary look to it, making it more welcoming. An updated dining room, added bar and fireplace comprise what’s now called The Oertli Room. It’s named after the original owners of the farmland that is now the golf course, John and Helen Oertli.

The revamped kitchen is larger, allows for bigger events and offers a new menu. With the dining area, it’s named Gordie’s after Gordon Bell, who was one of the driving forces behind making Moccasin Creek Country Club a reality.

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Exterior view of the Mocassin Creek Country Club prior to the renovations. Photo by Troy McQuillen.

All of the work amounts to the largest renovation since the golf course opened in 1971, said Dean Zahn, head golf pro.

In the 1960s, the idea of a country club started with several Aberdeen businessmen looking for a spot for a new golf course. There was a need because the South Dakota Golf Association had declared that state tournaments could no longer be played at the old Aberdeen Country Club. The businessmen wanted to be able to bring state tournaments back to town, which meant creating a new course, Zahn said.

Charles Maddox and his son Bill looked for potential sites and found a spot with Moccasin Creek running through it just north of Aberdeen. At the time, the parcel consisted of a farm with cornfields. The two men started designing and constructing the course and clubhouse that would become Moccasin Creek.

Zahn said a big flood slowed the process but didn’t stop it. Charles Maddox came up with a solution and built dikes around the land to stop the flooding. That system helps with flooding to this day, Zahn said.

In 1977, a drought hit and everything on the course was brown except a few hand-watered greens, he said. The course had to close, but Maddox again came up with a solution. He advised organizers to sell lots along the golf course so it could reopen. That area is now known as Prairiewood Village.

About a year later, in 1978, the course reopened as Moccasin Creek Country Club, a private golf course. The course is now one of the best in the state, Zahn said.

Now, it has a renovated clubhouse to match the high-quality fairways and greens.

Jim Lust is the last living member from the original group that helped create the course.

The improvements are important to the community and provide a sense of pride to members and a place where visitors can get a good impression of Aberdeen, said Zahn and Jeff Stockert, who was heavily involved with the project.

They hope renovations allow for more events and are something that encourages growth in Aberdeen.

That’s in line with the country club’s mission: “To enhance lives, foster friendships, and enliven our community through exceptional golf, recreational, and social experiences.”

The idea for the renovations came in 2018, and lots of work was needed just to get started.

It took dozens of meetings to show members what the project was all about and talk about how the work would be paid for, Zahn said. Right around $4.5 million was raised by club members through pledges. The course received 248 pledges, and Zahn and Stockert are grateful for the support.

“The generosity of the members is what made this project possible,” Zahn said. “We could not have done this without all the membership pledges.”

A permanent donor wall will be added to recognize those who contributed to the renovation.

Stockert said it is fortunate that the only time the clubhouse had to be closed was January 1 through 20 during construction.

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Moccasin Creek’s new banquet space. Photo by Troy McQuillen.

Improvements at the country club include a full exterior renovation, a covered outdoor patio space, an all-new interior, outdoor seating and dining, a banquet space, and golf shop improvements.

Near the golf shop, there is a new casual bar and lounge area that offers a more relaxed and open space. It’s called Maddox Pub, named after Charles Maddox.

Also added was the Shortridge Studio, a multipurpose and golf simulator room with two simulators for year-round use. It can be converted to a private room for meetings, dinners, or birthday parties. The studio is named after Moccasin Creek’s first golf professional, Dean Shortridge.

The golf shop was revamped and is stocked with new merchandise, Zahn said. More bathrooms were also added. And the outdoor patio includes new views, sail shades, seating, fire pits, radiant heat fans, an artificial turf area for yard games and more.

Zahn and Stockert said they are striving for excellence with the new clubhouse.

With the recent work, more people can fit in the clubhouse, they said. They hope it provides a nice gathering spot for members and that future generations continue building on the legacy of Moccasin Creek Country Club. //

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