Work soon underway on $1.3 million irrigation system for Big Meadow

Project begins in October, and marks significant improvement for Black Butte Ranch

Big Meadow is about to be upgraded in a way that will keep Black Butte Ranch’s nearly 50-year-old championship golf course in prime condition for years to come.

Beginning in October and lasting until spring 2019, Black Butte Ranch be undertaking the work of completely replacing its irrigation system. The $1.3 million project is an extensive one. It calls for the full replacement of the main lines, lateral lines, and sprinkler heads throughout the entire golf course.

The project to replace the irrigation system is one that has been in the works since 2010.

“The end result will be a more playable turf for all our golfers,” says Jeff Fought, Black Butte Ranch’s Director of Golf. “We couldn’t be more excited to be undertaking this project.”

Among the features of the new system will be single-head coverage throughout the course, which gives Black Butte Ranch’s maintenance staff more control over each individual sprinkler head.

Not only is the coverage better with the system, it is more efficient. The new system is expected to use about 30 percent less water.

“This will give us many advantages, and should really allow us to perfect the conditioning of Big Meadow,” says Jeff Knutzen, Black Butte Ranch’s superintendent. “The new system will allow us to use a bit more water on dry spots, and less water on areas where water collects. That will result in a consistent surface throughout the course.”

Once work begins in October, the project will continue until the weather no longer permits work. The project will then be completed in spring 2019, once the turf thaws from winter.

Big Meadow will remain open through the project and as weather permits, but the hours will be limited, especially Monday through Thursday. From Monday through Thursday — when the bulk of work will be performed — tee times on Big Meadow will be limited to 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

However, Friday through Sunday the course will operate under a normal schedule.

Keeping Big Meadow open to golfers is made possible because of the nature of the project. The system can be worked on one hole at a time, which means that 17 holes on any given day should show no signs of the work.

In addition, Glaze Meadow will remain open under normal hours until weather no longer permits play — which typically happens in early November.

“We want to ensure that our golfers are inconvenienced as little as possible,” Fought said. “We think the plan that is in place should help us achieve that goal.”

Of course, plenty of great weather and prime conditioning awaits in September. Take advantage of Black Butte Ranch’s rates, including a special rate after 11 a.m. on Sunday or any time on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday through September. Golfers are invited to play Big Meadow or Glaze Meadow for just $69. The rate includes cart.

Of course, the best rates are found online. Book a tee time online, call 855-210-5305, or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.