By Ken MacLeod
Bailey Ranch Golf Course in Owasso reopened today after being closed since May 3 to install Tif-Eagle ultradwarf Bermuda greens. Being fortunate enough to be in the first group off, it was like playing a brand new course. No diviots anywhere, no ball marks, pristine conditions.
Superintendent Chris Cook and his staff are to be commended. Despite the labor shortage, some water issues and the drought we’re in, the new greens are full and firm, the tee boxes all sodded with Astro Bermuda and the collars with Tahoma Bermuda.
Bailey Ranch was not immune from last year’s freeze, losing about seven acres of turf grass. Director of Golf and General Manager Corey Burd said about four acres had been sprigged, another acre sodded and much more had grown in over the summer, but there are still a few spots that are healing.
The reaction as golfers began to make the turn Friday morning was pure excitement mixed with appreciation.
“Everyone is excited and pleased,” Burd said. “We’re booked solid until 4 p.m. and have good tee sheets for the weekend. The course is almost 30 years old and the greens were tired. We’re glad the City of Owasso decided to invest in the course and it’s going to be great for the golfers.”
Cook and his crew were able to enlarge the greens back to original dimensions and the slow-growing Tahoma collars should enable them to avoid loss of square footage to encroachment. They were also able to do some select tree removal and trimming to allow better sunlight and air flow to the new greens.
While the four months may have gone by in a heartbeat for the maintenance staff, it seemed to last forever to Burd and the pro shop staff.
“Four months is not that long, but it sure seemed like a long time,” Burd said. “It’s great to see everyone back out and enjoying the course again.”
The course used the down time to spruce up the clubhouse and improve practice facilities, in addition to all the work on the course.
Burd said he was having trouble adjusting from a typical late summer of praying for a break in the heat to protect bent grass greens to not worrying about it with the Bermuda.
“Normally I would have five guys out syringing greens on a day like this,” he said. “Now we can put them to better use. We’re all for long Indian summers now.”
To see Bailey Ranch for yourself, call 918-274-4653.