Photo taken from Karsten Creek Instagram feed. Water is over 3 feet deep. They hope to be dry by the middle of next week.
By Ken MacLeod
While the girls state tournaments were playing out across Oklahoma Thursday, David Glover, the assistant director in charge of golf with the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, was completing a two-day odyssey of visiting the sites of all five state tournaments to thank the host courses and participants.
One place Glover will not be visiting Monday or Tuesday when the boys championships are being held is Karsten Creek in Stillwater. The course decided it could not host the Class 6A event due to rains and flooding which had placed parts of four holes and its driving range under water as of Wednesday, when the decision was made to move the venue.
The announced move to The Golf Club of Edmond apparently came after Karsten Creek Director of Golf Rob Land was told by the two other courses in Stillwater – Lakeside Golf Course and Stillwater Country Club – that they could not host the event on short notice. Land then gave Glover a number for Michael Henderson, owner of the Golf Club of Edmond and also president of the PGA South Central Section. Henderson said the Golf Club of Edmond could accommodate the switch.
The move caused some distress for coaches, parents and officials with the participating schools. Some parents had locked in non-refundable hotel rooms weeks earlier. The schools face increased costs as The Golf Club of Edmond will charge for practice rounds, coaches’ carts and not allow any outside food, all different from the setup at Karsten Creek.
Glover said Thursday that there was no set protocol for the OSSAA to follow in rescheduling the event, that a move to bring in coaches to consult may not have reached any consensus, and that he did what he felt was right and proper in taking the offer from The Golf Club of Edmond.
The added expenses are what all other schools in boys and girls tournaments face, as Karsten Creek was the only venue providing a free practice round or carts for coaches, Glover said. And while noting that The Golf Club of Edmond, renamed last year after Henderson purchased the former Fairfax Golf Course, is not going to provide the same rigorous challenge as Karsten Creek, one of the top-rated public courses in the country, it will still provide a competitive venue.
“It’s not my place to say whether Karsten Creek would have been playable by Monday, that’s up to them and their green superintendent,” Glover said. “I went over and looked at it myself and it was definitely going to take a couple of days for that water to recede. The Golf Club of Edmond is a good venue and it’s going to be a good event. This has never happened before and I’ll admit we were scrambling. There’s not that many courses willing to clear their tee sheets for three days and possibly lose money.”
Between boys and girls in various classes, Glover has to find a total of 49 courses to host the post-season regionals and state championships each year and he is grateful for the support the OSSAA does receive.
Owasso coach Corey Burd expressed his concerns in a letter that copied Glover, his administration and several area coaches. Burd, who is also the PGA Director of Golf at Bailey Ranch Golf Course in Owasso, said he would have offered that venue without the added expenses.
Glover said he was not inclined to take the tournament to Bailey Ranch or Edmond’s Oak Tree Country Club, as those are the host venues of Owasso and Edmond North, the two clear-cut favorites to contend for the 6A state championship next week.
“I think it’s pretty much a two-horse race and I wasn’t going to put it at the home of either school,” Glover said.
The Class 6A state tournament will not be held at Karsten Creek in 2018 as it prepares to host the 2018 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championships. A venue interested in hosting next year’s 6A state championship should contact Glover.