The striping on Big Meadow No. 5 is really beginning to show.
Spring has officially grabbed hold here in Central Oregon. And with each passing day the golf courses at Black Butte Ranch spring back to life.
“You can actually see the striping in the fairway out there,” Phil Lagao, Black Butte Ranch’s longtime superintendent, said of Big Meadow. “It’s starting to come back to life and look like a golf course again. Some of that winter brown spots from the dormant grass are filling in and are turning green again.
“I think right now we’re in great shape.”
At Big Meadow, which has been open since early March, the maintenance staff has been busy moving the course into its in-season routine.
The busy work of winter cleanup, mostly removing the debris left by Black Butte Ranch’s ponderosa pine trees, is now in the rearview mirror. The focus now is on getting the turf into peak form.
The course is being mowed regularly, and the irrigation system is being used more frequently. Even the driving range was mowed for the first time this week, a sure sign that early in-season conditions are here.
“The courses are looking good,” Lagao said. “Big Meadow is really mowing in nicely. We have all the winter debris cleaned up. We are starting to get on a more regular schedule now that things are starting to warm up.
“Once we get the first couple of mows on fairways and rough it really starts to get rid of that wintery dormant brown stuff and gets the grass growing.”
Perhaps the best news is that the greens at both Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow, which is scheduled to open later this month, all emerged from winter free of damage. That includes the more notoriously tricky greens: Nos. 4, 12 and 13 at Big Meadow.
Weather conditions over the winter were ideal for the greens to avoid any significant ice buildup, which does the most damage to sensitive turf, Lagao said.
“Considering this time last year we had No. 13 under a tent, I think it’s going pretty well,” he added.
By design, Glaze Meadow is behind Big Meadow in its spring shape up.
Mowing just began last week. Winter cleanup is still in process and expected to be done later this week. The greens have been top-dressed. The irrigation system has just been cranked up. And the staff will begin the work of readying each and every bunker at Glaze Meadow.
Glaze Meadow is scheduled to open on April 20, and the bulk of the work should be done by then, Lagao said.
“It’s kind of the same process that we went through at Big Meadow a month ago,” he said. “We have two weeks to get it ready, and it should be in good shape.”
Through the month of April, a golfer can play 18 holes at Black Butte Ranch for $44 (cart is an additional $10 per person). In addition, golfers will receive a free Black Butte Ranch golf cap with a paid green fee. Golfers also have the option to play nine holes for $29, but a cap is not included. The cap special ends on May 1.
Book a tee time online, call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.