Golf, Hot Rods, and Rock and Roll?

jamie_farr.jpgStuffy Country Club?  Not if owner Bill Place or Crescent Oaks residents can help it.  When he purchased the shuttered Crescent Oaks Golf and Tennis Club in the Eastlake area last September, he and his members knew a different approach would be required to succeed.  And, it wouldn't just involve a $1 Million golf course and clubhouse renovation.  It was time to think outside of the box. 

The first step, a Grand Re-Opening last month featuring M*A*S*H actor Jamie Farr ("Klinger") resulted when member Larry Donizetti offered his friend and fellow member's services to "help the club". More than a thousand people attended that event and were entertained by Farr.

Now, Mr. Place is taking another bold step to transform the "stuffy" country club image and get more "regular people" enjoying the club even if they don't play golf.  He is bringing one of America's longest playing rock ‘n roll bands to Crescent Oaks and inviting both members and the general public to attend.  "Of course we are a golf, social and tennis club, but this event will add a whole new level of excitement," says Bill, "Why shouldn't a golf club be about fun?"

Again, the inspiration to innovate came from within the Crescent Oaks subdivision of the Eastlake area where Crescent Oaks Country Club is located.  Resident Herb Gross of "Herb Gross & the Invictas" called Mr. Place to offer his help and a special performance for the club.

The Invictas are national recording artists who have been featured on The Today Show. Bill adds, "From their entrance in their hot rod hearse, to their non-stop rock ‘n roll, this band really gets people on their feet." The show features 60's, 70's and 80's rock ‘n roll that millions of Americans grew up listening and dancing to.  To add to the fun, the audience participates, singing and dancing to songs like "I Can't Get No Satisfaction, Gloria, Mustang Sally and many others."  

The Invictas (which means "unconquered" in Latin) started their band in 1961. Three of the four original members are on stage including Herb Gross on lead vocal, Dave Hickey on drums,  and Jim Kohler on bass guitar.  Dave Profeta, lead guitarist, and Sam Gruttadauria, keyboard player, subsequently joined the band.  All the band members are in their 60's.

The Invictas hail from Rochester, NY.  They travel to Florida to rock crowds at locations such as The Villages and The Oldsmar Days Festival. The band will play at Crescent Oaks on the day prior to headlining the BBQ and Music Festival in Punta Gorda.

During the 60's, the band shocked the nation with a hit record and dance called "The Hump."  Since reuniting in 2005, the band's story has been featured on TV, in newspapers, on radio, and on the Internet. 

Why do they drive a hot rod hearse?  During the 1960's, the band's vehicle was a 1955 Cadillac hearse. Now the band has an ‘84 hearse they call "The Big Caddy."

The Invictas will perform on Friday, March 2nd at the Crescent Oaks Country Club. The party starts at 5 pm (food and drinks available for purchase), with music from 7 to 9 pm.  Guests are invited to wear their dancing shoes, put on their sunglasses, and dance like they are teenagers.  The event is open to the public. Admission is $15 per person or $25 per couple.

Crescent Oaks Golf Club is located at 3300 Crescent Oaks Boulevard in Tarpon Springs, off Eastlake Road a mile north of Tarpon (Keystone) Avenue.  For further information, go to or call (727) 937-4653.


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