A look back at the 2018 golf season at Black Butte Ranch

This year was an eventful one with course improvements, tournaments, and more

Big Meadow will remain open until at least Nov. 4, and may stay open longer as long as weather permits. Regardless, there is no denying that the golf season season is winding down to its final days.

Those warm, sunny days of 2018 are behind us here in Central Oregon, leaving us time to reflect on another golf season at Black Butte Ranch.

The 2018 golf season at Black Butte Ranch might be remembered most as one that help set the stage for great conditions for years to come. For one, this was the first full season at Black Butte Ranch of new superintendent Jeff Knutzen.

“They are just awesome golf courses,” said Knutzen, describing his first impression of Black Butte Ranch earlier this year. “The location and scenery are amazing. Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow are very different, but both really good golf courses.”

Several significant projects were also undertaken in 2018. The most important one is a $1.3 million project to overhaul Big Meadow’s irrigation system that is still a work in progress. That project, which was started in October, will be complete in spring 2019. Once complete, the new system will offer the maintenance crew greater control and more efficient use of water for years to come.

“The end result will be a more playable turf for all our golfers,” Jeff Fought, Black Butte Ranch’s Director of Golf, said in September. “We couldn’t be more excited to be undertaking this project.”

Smaller projects were important, too. All summer, Black Butte Ranch’s maintenance staff had worked to recondition the entry and exit points of the cart paths — where pavement gives way to turf — to make for a smoother ride.

In addition, Knutzen and his crew have been adding split-rail fencing, which is movable but looks permanent, at both courses to help direct traffic.

All are designed to make incremental improvements to Black Butte Ranch.

Of course, what would a golf season be if it was all work and no play? Black Butte Ranch enjoyed an incredible year of weather, giving us an early start to the golf season and playing conditions that remained summer-like until the end of October.

Along the way, there were tournaments, of course. As always, the tournament season started with another full field for the Central Oregon Shootout in April. Black Butte Ranch once again hosted some favorite traditions, such as the Homeowner Guest Invitational. And we moved forward with newer, unique tournaments such as The Civil War.

The tournament calendar also included another visit from the Oregon Golf Association, which held its 91st OGA Men’s Team Championship at Black Butte Ranch in September.

“This is the third consecutive year that Black Butte Ranch has hosted an OGA championship, and it is something we want to continue to do whenever the opportunity arises,” Fought said at the time. “We want to support amateur golf in the state as much as we can, and hosting state and regional championships such as this is a great way to do this. Plus, we love to see the best amateurs in the state tested at both Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow. And it speaks well of everyone at Black Butte Ranch that the OGA chooses to return for its championships.”

Some days were more somber, though. Black Butte Ranch lost a dear member of its family early in 2018 when we lost longtime pro Terry Anderson. It’s impossible to understate what Terry meant to the entire Black Butte Ranch family. He is sorely missed.

But we celebrated all that Terry did for the entire Central Oregon golf community in the best way we knew how — the new Terry Russell Anderson Memorial charity event and golf tournament.

The golf event was sold out nearly as quickly as we announced it, and it made for a fantastic June weekend befitting the man Terry was in his life.

“There are so many wonderful things he did that I could keep going,” Emily Stewart, a pro at Black Butte Ranch and the daughter of Terry, told The Bulletin in January. “This would not even come close to expressing who he is to me.”

In 2019, the Terry Anderson Memorial will be back. We can hardly wait.

Until then, all we can do is look back at another momentous 2018 golf season at Black Butte Ranch and look forward to a new in 2019.

Of course, the season is not quite over yet. Book a tee time online, or call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545. For more information on how to create a custom group golf vacation at Black Butte Ranch, contact Tobias Colvin at 541-595-1292 or tcolvin@bbranch.org.