Black Butte Ranch professionals Tom Baker (right) and George Mack Jr. (left) warm up Tuesday before teeing off at Crosswater Club in Sunriver for the first round of the Oregon Open Invitational.
It might sound counterintuitive, but Black Butte Ranch’s staff of PGA golf professionals do not often get a chance to play during the peak of the golf season.
During the golf season pros are often far too busy making sure that guests are enjoying their time or that students are perfectly honing their golf skills to get too many competitive golf rounds in.
But every so often Black Butte Ranch’s pros get a chance to show what they can do on the links. That chance has come this week at the Oregon Open Invitational, a Central Oregon staple that is being played this year at Crosswater Club in Sunriver. (You might remember that last year Glaze Meadow hosted the Oregon Open.)
Black Butte Ranch director of golf Jeff Fought, head golf professional Tom Baker, and director of instruction George Mack Jr., snuck out of the pro shop this week and all teed off in the Oregon Open on Tuesday.
For them, it is a chance that they all relish.
“It’s just fun to get out,” Fought said Tuesday minutes after finishing up a 4-over 76 in the first round of the Oregon Open. “It’s fun to play Crosswater.”
Mack, who shot an opening-round 75, does not give himself much of a shot to win this week.
“No chance,” Mack said as he warmed up on the Crosswater driving range before his first round. He added with a laugh: “I’m just hoping 54 holes won’t break down my body.”
Baker shares similar rust, he said.
“I’ve played about 45 holes this year,” said Baker, who carded a 76 in the first round. “I got my first 18 in a week and a half ago.”
How did that go?
“Up and down,” he said as he chuckled. “But we’ll try and steady the ship here.”
Winning, though, is beside the point for Black Butte Ranch’s pros.
Once one of Oregon’s top amateur golfers, Mack still has a passion to play competitive golf. And the Oregon Open fits perfectly into his schedule.
“It is kind of the week before the season starts,” Mack said. “It comes just before the kids get out of school and the Ranch gets going crazy.”
His goal, like Baker’s is to just make the 36-hole cut and advance to the final round of the 54-hole tournament. All three Black Butte Ranch pros were in good shape to do that after the first round.
“This is hopefully a four-day vacation,” joked Mack, who was including Monday’s practice round in his time off. “For sure it’s a three-day vacation.”
Mack and Baker are paired together for the first two rounds of the tournament, playing in the afternoon wave of golfers on Tuesday. Fought played in the morning wave. The order is reversed on Wednesday.
Regardless of when they are playing, they will be keeping an eye on each other.
“We’ve been around each other for a long time now,” Baker said. “We will be rooting for each other.”
For more information on how to take a lesson from Jeff, Tom, George or any of our Black Butte Ranch instructors, visit blackbutteranch.com/golf/lessons-and-instructions. The link also includes a calendar of Black Butte Ranch’s golf schools, clinics and camps.
Book a tee time online, or call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.