Last winter, Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow were both blanketed in the year’s first snow on Dec. 4. The next time Phil Lagao, the longtime golf course superintendent at Black Butte Ranch, would see the turf free of snow again would be 111 days later.
What he found once the snow melted was a surprise to even Lagao, one of the most respected superintendents in Oregon: A course with little to no ice damage and tees and greens that were in some of the best post-winter shape he had seen.
Not surprisingly, the sight was a welcome one for Lagao and his staff.
“After 90 days of snow I start doing spot checks, just to put my mind at ease,” Lagao said. “When I started doing that I wasn’t seeing a big ice layer. But you never know until all the snow fully melts.
“Needless to say, I feel really lucky.”
The back nine of Big Meadow is set to open on Wednesday, April 12, joining the already-open front nine. That means all 18 holes at Big Meadow are open for the season, weather permitting. Golfers are expected to get their first crack at Glaze Meadow during the Central Oregon Shootout, April 27-30. Then Glaze Meadow is expected to officially open for the season on Friday, May 12.
And what golfers will find is a golf course that is in its normal spring condition after a winter that was anything but normal in Central Oregon. Best yet is that the finer areas are in particularly good shape.
“Greens and tees came through winter surprisingly well with amount of snow we had,” Lagao said. “We didn’t know what to expect, but it was a nice, slow melt off with very little ice. That helped protect the greens, which came out of winter as well as I have ever seen.”
Golfers should still expect early season conditions, of course. The maintenance crew is busy clearing the natural debris, such as tree branches, pine cones, and needles, that collect over winter. And the rough and fairways are still a few weeks from being in prime condition.
Most importantly, though, any imperfections have been mostly cosmetic.
“Typical spring conditions,” Lagao said. “We’ve been very blessed the last two seasons to get going in the February. We’re about a month behind this year, and we’re still not getting much growth. So there is still some normal spring cleanup to do.
“But overall, I actually feel really good about how both courses came out of winter, considering, all the snow.”
The price to get the season started is right, too.
Through April, Black Butte Ranch will be offering UNLIMITED golf for just $44 per person, and cart is an additional $12 per person. In addition, golfers will receive a free Black Butte Ranch logo golf cap with a paid green fee.
“I’m not sure there is a better deal in Central Oregon,” said Jeff Fought, director of golf at Black Butte Ranch. “There is a reason why the cap deal has become an annual tradition.”
Golf is back, and Big Meadow has come through a tough winter in fine spring shape. What more could you ask for?
For tee times call 541-595-1500 or book online.