Final push of the season has courses in prime shape

Black Butte Ranch golf courses hitting peak condition at just the right time

Warm, sunny August days are the stuff of dreams for Central Oregon golfers, and because of this there are few more important times on the calendar for a golf course superintendent.

As the calendar turns to August, Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow are in ideal condition. The greens are firm and true. The emerald green fairways are inviting. And with the Homeowner Guest Invitational Golf Tournament coming up, Aug. 24-26, superintendent Jeff Knutzen and his course maintenance crew are hard at work making sure that the courses are in apex condition at just the right time.

Black Butte Ranch is using special sprinklers to ensure otherwise localized dry spots get enough water.

But this time of year there is just a little extra at stake: Two golf courses that should be in perfect shape until the golf season begins to fade away later this fall.

“We are working on details and trying to get Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow right where we want them,” says Knutzen, who is in his first season as Black Butte Ranch’s superintendent. “We are doing one last big push before we start losing some of our seasonal help. The idea is that we want to fine-tune everything to be in optimal condition for the remainder of the golf season.”

The Homeowner-Guest tournament is added motivation to get the courses just right. For one, the maintenance staff is detailing each course for Black Butte Ranch’s showcase event.

Mostly, that means taking care of subtle details like edging yardage markers. But the crew will also double cut and stripe the fairways, and the greens will be double cut and rolled to give the putting surfaces a bit of a PGA Tour feel.

“The biggest difference between tournament play and everyday play will be the green speeds,” Knutzen says. “For the tournament we’ll have them running a foot or a foot and a half faster than normal. And we’ll have some tricker hole locations.”

For daily players, the speeds won’t be pushed up until it’s time to tee off in the tournament, but they should still experience the peak conditioning, Knutzen says.

Of course, not everything revolves around green speeds.

The staff has continued to make progress on its cart path traffic program, which began this spring. 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 movable, split-rail fencing at both courses to help direct traffic.

“We’re getting a lot of good feedback from homeowners and guests on the project,” Knutzen says. “That has been great to hear.”

For Knutzen, it’s all a process. One that is coming more naturally now that he has had almost a full season of caring for Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow.

“Slowly as the season has gone on and I have gotten more and more comfortable,” Knutzen says. “I see where certain areas need a little more attention and others where we can back off a little. We now have the right people in the right places and we are definitely in the best condition of the season.”

Experience it for 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. After 11 a.m. on Sunday or any time on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday through August, golfers are invited to play Big Meadow or Glaze Meadow for just $69, including cart.

Black Butte Ranch has stay-and-play packages to suit most every guest, and there is still time to plan a group trip at Black Butte Ranch or family reunion in August. Book a round of golf or bring a group of 9 or more in August and receive 25 percent off a cabin, home, or condo when you book your stay with the Black Butte Ranch rental program.

With a group of nine or more, golf is just $64 per person, and the rate includes 18 holes of golf, cart, and range balls. (Offer valid after 11 a.m. on Sun or any time Mon-Wed Through Aug. 31.)  For more information on group golf, contact Tobias Colvin at GolfGroups@BlackButteRanch.com or call 541-595-1292.

Special daily rates can be found by booking a tee time online. To book a tee time, visit us online, call 855-210-5305, or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.