The early fall can be among the most spectacular times at Black Butte Ranch. Indeed, the Ranch has already begun the transition from summer to fall.
Some signs of the change of seasons are noticeable: a trace of frost in the early morning, leaves beginning to change color, and needles falling from the ponderosa pines.
But before you mourn those long, hot days of summer, this is actually great news for golfers. For one, the September weather provides pleasant, warm afternoons and the aspen leaves are set ablaze with color.
In early September and in the wake of the warmest months, such savory conditions should probably be expected. But what might surprise some is just how long Black Butte Ranch’s championship golf courses will stay in near-peak condition.
It turns out that there is plenty of prime golf to be played.
“Golfers can expect peak conditions all the way through September,” Lagao says. “Even the first two weeks of October are usually great. This is one of the best times. It’s cooler in the morning, but the afternoons are really nice and the conditions are good.”
This is not to say that nothing changes for Lagao and his crew, the size of which shrinks as much of the members of the seasonal staff have already returned to school.
Instead of working to get the course in peak condition, a season-long battle during the summer, the crew’s focus changes to maintaining the current conditions.
“We’re definitely getting into our fall cycle with less mowing and more blowing and sweeping,” Lagao says. “We’ve got most of our weed-eating and edging caught up, and most of our projects that we wanted to do this summer are complete. Now it’s get the course ready for all of our groups this month.”
Cooler temperatures mean that frost delays become a possibility, but it also means the golf courses needs far less water. The greens at both golf courses are still tended to daily, but as the turf growth slows, Black Butte Ranch dials back the frequence it mows other parts of the course.
Still, it is enough to keep the courses in summer conditions, including keeping the same relatively short mowing heights. The trick is to keep the falling pine needles from piling up, something Lagao and his crew keep up with daily this time of year.
“September is a great month for us,” Lagao says. “We don’t have to do as much irrigating, and with less irrigating there are less repairs to be done. So we can just focus on keeping things clean and mowed.”
Obviously, maintaining the current condition would not be so ideal if Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow were not already in fantastic shape.
“I’m pretty happy with both golf courses,” says Phil Lagao, Black Butte Ranch’s superintendent. “Things came together pretty well for us. Greens, tees and fairways are in good shape.”
Don’t miss the prime of the golf season. Book a tee time online, or call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.