Oregon Amateur a learning experience for maintenance crew
Among the many benefits for Black Butte Ranch in hosting an event of the Oregon Amateur’s stature is that on a still maturing course like Glaze Meadow — which completed a $3.75 million renovation in 2012 — the maintenance crew gets to see the layout in a new way.
Such a prestigious tournament gives Superintendent Phil Lagao and his staff a rare opportunity to learn just what works, and some things that do not, learning what buttons to push to make the course a true challenge to elite players while ensuring that the course will not unfairly cost a contender a single stroke.
“On a young course like Glaze Meadow, it teaches us a lot to see it pushed in new ways,” said Phil Lagao, superintendent at Black Butte Ranch. “Having only hosted one other major tournament up there since the renovation, it is still a learning process.”
For instance, Lagao was able to see how the best players in the state manage some of his favorite, tougher pin positions. More than that, Brent Whitaker, the Oregon Golf Association’s tournament director, found some new pin locations that Lagao and his crew had never really tried.
In addition, he learned better just how the greens respond to a steady regimen of double-cutting and rolling and built a better database on just how to prepare Glaze Meadow in the weeks ahead of such tournaments.
The data is crucial, Lagao said, who took detailed notes during the Oregon Amateur as he did for the 2012 Mid-Amateur Championship, a frequent resource he used in setting up this time around.
“Big Meadow we can set up fairly quickly, because at Big Meadow we have the data,” Lagao said. “We know so much about that course. Glaze is still maturing, and this was only the second big tournament it has hosted. But we know a lot more today than we did just a few weeks ago.”
One more thing the crew learned: Caleb Taskinen, an assistant superintendent on Black Butte Ranch’s maintenance crew, can really play.
Taskinen advanced into match play of the Oregon Amateur before falling in 19 holes in the Round of 64 to Montana Frame, who eventually advanced to the semifinals.
Taskinen’s feat was made even more impressive by the fact that he still managed to help the crew maintain Big Meadow for resort play before and after his tournament rounds, said Lagao.
“We are so proud of what Caleb did,” Lagao said.
The work during the tournament was tireless, too. The crew double-cut and rolled the greens for nine consecutive days, in part to keep the speeds up to a lightning-quick 12 to 13 feet on the Stimpmeter, and even rolled the greens in between the two rounds of the 36-hole championship matches.
In addition, the crew mowed the fairways, tee boxes and approach areas for seven consecutive days, something typically done two or three times a week.
This comes in addition to maintaining Big Meadow each day for resort play.
“That is a lot of time put in by the crew,” Lagao said. “But I am proud of the way they responded. We wanted to make sure that everything was as good as it could be and wanted it to be a true test for the state’s best golfers.
“I am really happy with the way the week went. I can’t wait to host another one.”
Of course, the hard work of Black Butte Ranch’s maintenance staff never really ends during the golf season. Come play two of the best-conditioned golf courses anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
Book a tee time online, call 855-210-5305, or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.
July 8, 2016 | Share: