Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow firm and fast, while new-look maintenance crew continues to improve the courses

Sometimes the warm, clear summer days can take a while to arrive in Central Oregon. Just ask Jeff Knutzen, who moved from Colorado this winter to take over as Black Butte Ranch’s superintendent.

That’s not such a bad thing, especially if you’re job is to ensure that two championship golf courses are in prime condition during the peak season. And now that we’re in July, Central Oregon’s relatively mild spring is bearing fruit.

“I’m still trying to get used to Oregon weather,” Knutzen said with a laugh. “We’ve actually been lucky with the weather. In Colorado it’s been scorching hot. Here, it’s been pretty mild. I’ve been surprised by that, but I’ll take it. It’s good for the golf course.”

Summer is most definitely in full bloom now, and that means the firm, fast conditions that most every golfer craves are here, too. And the relatively cool spring helped usher in the healthy turf  that allows for those conditions.

Black Butte Ranch’s green speeds are rolling at an optimal 10 to 10.5 feet on the Stimpmeter, and the crew is rolling the greens every day on weekends and every other day during the week.

Much of the detail work is done, too, including the addition of annual flowers and even the subtler work of edging sprinkler heads and yardage markers.

“The courses are just awesome to see, and we are in the normal rhythm of the summer season, Knutzen said.

Even when the crew is settling into the summer routine, the work to continually improve Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow never really ends. Black Butte Ranch’s cart path traffic program, which began this spring, will continue through July.

The maintenance staff has been reconditioning 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.

“It will be an ongoing program, but we are excited about it,” Knutzen said.

The rehab work after winter, a necessity in Central Oregon, is all but complete now, too.

The crew resodded some small patches on the 14th and 16th greens at Glaze Meadow, which both suffered some winter damage. Those greens are nearing full health.

“Other than that, both golf courses are in excellent shape,” he added.

The staff has been expanding, too.

Most notably, Knutzen promoted longtime assistant superintendent Caleb Taskinen to senior assistant superintendent. In addition, new assistant superintendent Logan Grant — a Spokane, Wash., native, who will be coming from Vail Golf Club in Colorado — will join the team in the coming weeks.

The promotion of Taskinen and addition of Grant are part of Knutzen’s new vision for the maintenance staff, he said.

“Everyone is excited about the new structure,” Knutzen said. “It’s great to be able to promote some of the guys into more leadership roles.

“We have a really good team in place.”

Enjoy the summer conditions at Black Butte Ranch yourself. Our primetime rates are $79 per golfer. Before 7:30 a.m. or from noon to 3 p.m., golfers are invited to play either Big Meadow or Glaze Meadow for just $64. The price drops to $49 after 3 p.m. Special daily rates can be found by booking a tee time online.

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