Like any world-class architect, John Fought wants to see his design continually mature into the stunning golf course he had originally envisioned.
The renowned architect, a native Oregonian who now lives in Arizona, led the way on the $3.75 renovation of Glaze Meadow that was completed in 2012. The renovation transformed Glaze Meadow from an overgrown and out-of-date course into a gorgeous throwback design that is playable for golfers of all skill levels.
Glaze Meadow initially reopened to almost universal praise. But a crucial element to the renovation is how well the golf course matures well after the course reopened.
Last week the busy Fought was back at Black Butte Ranch on vacation with his family while checking in on what he calls “one of my favorite places in the country.” We caught up with Fought, a two-time PGA Tour winner and 1977 U.S. Amateur champ, on a bright, sunny morning last week at Glaze Meadow.
Black Butte Ranch believes Glaze Meadow is in its best shape yet. Three years after the renovation, does the architect agree?
“Things are pretty darn good,” said Fought, who is the brother of Jeff Fought, Black Butte Ranch’s director of golf. “I am pretty happy.”
Fought toured Glaze Meadow last week with both superintendent Phil Lagao and Fought’s brother Jeff, noting the progress of the golf course. He plans to write a detailed report of what he saw so that Black Butte Ranch’s course maintenance crew and the Ranch’s PGA staff can continue to make improvements.
The progress report is something that Fought has done each year since the renovation was complete. The idea is to simply offer his ideas on how to keep Glaze Meadow in optimal condition for as long as possible.
“When you do little things along the way you don’t have to do a big, massive renovation,” Fought said. “My goal is to try to as long as I can keep them from having to do much other than little maintenance things.
“No golf course is ever finished. Things change. For me, I want to just keep them on the right track so they can be good all the time.”
Fought clearly liked what he saw, including on Glaze Meadow’s putting surfaces, where so far this year the reviews have been positive.
Fought expected that it would take a few years for Glaze Meadow to reach maturity. The putting surfaces were at first firmer than what would be considered typical because of the volcanic sand used as the foundations of the greens.
That meant that the greens needed to build up some thatch to soften the surfaces.
“I think the greens are probably there now,” Fought said. “With greens, it takes a little while to build up thatch, and especially with the materials we used here. But overall things are really good.”
Of course, the most dramatic change at Glaze Meadow was the thinning of the surrounding pine trees. Thirty years after Glaze Meadow originally opened, the aspens and ponderosa pines had choked off much of the golf course, degrading turf quality and giving the golf course an almost claustrophobic feel.
The renovation fixed much of that, opening views that had not been seen in years at the golf course. Nowhere on the course is that more obvious than on the first tee box at Glaze Meadow. Once a tight, double-dogleg par 5, the first hole was transformed into a forgiving downhill 4 par with open views of the course’s namesake meadow below.
“This is so much better now, looking down here and being able to see more,” Fought said while staring at the first and ninth fairways from Glaze Meadow’s clubhouse. “The views are better. I think the homeowners, especially the ones who live here, really appreciate it now that they see what they’ve been done here.”
Still improvements can always be made. Fought points to the growth of the native fescue in Glaze Meadow’s rough as an improvement that came after the reopening.
“I love the growth of the (native) grass in the rough, which adds a little dimension to the course instead of just green everywhere,” Fought said. “The golf course is more sustainable. It’s just beautiful.”
Fought expects more modest tweaks to come.
Such attention to detail and willingness to see the renovation through, even well past the time the course reopened, was a major selling point when Black Butte Ranch chose Fought to head the Glaze Meadow project.
“With just a few things as we go along, I think it will be great for many years to come,” he said.
Golfers should come experience Glaze Meadow for themselves. Book a tee time online, or call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.