Big Meadow is back … again. After a weeks-long hiatus that allowed Black Butte Ranch’s maintenance staff to perform some much-needed work, Big Meadow is ready to challenge golfers for the rest of the golf season.

What’s changed in the nearly three weeks since anyone teed it up at Big Meadow? Plenty.

The bunkers on the front nine have been freshened up with new sand, the edges have been sharpened, and in some traps new drainage has been added. In addition, superintendent Phil Lagao and his staff have repaired a handful of irrigation breaks and leaks. And any damage to the greens from last season has been smoothed out with new sod where there “were some weaker spots,” Lagao says.

“We got a lot of stuff done,” Lagao says. “It was very beneficial to be closed. There is always more to do, but Big is looking pretty good.”

Also looking good is the resurfaced 13th green. The green continues to grow in and appears to be on track for a Memorial Day Weekend opening, if not sooner.

Until it reopens, golfers will play to a temporary green on the par 3.

“We are going to definitely make sure we don’t bring it in too soon and take any unnecessary risks,” Lagao says. “The goal has always been to have it playable by Memorial Day.”

Lagao also has his eyes on a Memorial Day finish for the back nine bunkers. Originally, the maintenance staff had planned to finish all 18 holes while Big Meadow was closed. But alas, Central Oregon’s spring weather can be unpredictable.

In this case, several days of cold temperatures brought snow and morning frost delays, which slowed down the efforts of Lagao’s team.

“Mother Nature does that,” he says. “A little payback for that good weather in March, I guess. It always evens out.”

Still, Lagao envisions few obstacles to getting the back-nine bunkers fully revitalized well before the meat of the golf season. And he adds that golfers should be pleased with the conditioning of Big Meadow when they return to the course this weekend.

“Compared with last year at this time, we are in noticeably better shape because we were able to knock a few things out during the closure,” Lagao says.

“The conditions are very good, especially for this time of year,” he adds. “I am pretty happy with everything.”

Black Butte Ranch is still offering its 45th anniversary hat promotion and some of its best rates of the golf season through the end of April: 18 holes at Big Meadow or Glaze Meadow for $42. In addition, golfers will receive a free Black Butte Ranch golf cap with a paid green fee. Golfers can also also play nine holes for $27 after 2 p.m., but a cap is not included.

Tee times are limited at Glaze Meadow Friday, Saturday and Sunday while it is hosting the annual Central Oregon Shootout golf tournament.

Book a tee time online, call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.