Rain might get a golfer down. But a superintendent? Not so much. In fact, Phil Lagao, Black Butte Ranch’s award-winning superintendent, is almost hesitant to get too optimistic about the run of ideal weather.
“Knock on wood,” Lagao warns with a laugh. “It can turn, but right now the 10-day forecast looks great.”
Yes, a warm, dry winter has Big Meadow Course and Glaze Meadow Course springing back to life far earlier than anyone could have expected. That is certainly positive enough news for golf lovers. But there is more. The light, relatively warm rain that fell on Black Butte Ranch this week is actually just what the superintendent asked for.
The reasons are two-fold. One advantage is obvious: moisture provided by Mother Nature. Turf needs water, and already the maintenance staff has had to fire up the irrigation systems. Rain this week made sprinklers largely unnecessary. And getting away from the irrigation system has afforded Lagao and his crew more time to work on other projects.
“It’s a little reprieve because we do have a few things to fix here and there, so it is kind of nice having the weather like this,” Lagao says.
The type of rain that has fallen brings yet another advantage. The relatively warm precipitation actually heats up the soil beneath the turf. And warmer soil helps to foster turf growth, Lagao says.
“Anything we can do to get the soil temperatures up with a little moisture is perfect,” Lagao says. “We didn’t get the 2 inches that they were calling for, which is great. Nothing more than a normal irrigation for us. It’s actually working out well.”
The sun will be back for a few days. Rain is forecasted after that. In other words Mother Nature has been serving up a near-perfect setup to get Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow into peak condition.
“If we can stay out of the low 20s and keep the ground from freezing again we’ll be in great shape, “ Lagao says. “We’re rocking and rolling. A nice start to a season so far. Every day we get a little bit better at each course. We should have a good spring.”
Through March the public can play all 18 holes at Big Meadow for $35. Nine holes can be played for $20. To book a tee time call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.