Oak Tree National in Edmond will reopen to its members Saturday after being closed since March 28 to install new TifEagle ultradwarf Bermuda greens.
The green on the 13th hole will remain closed for a short while longer to fully grow in and the new putting and chipping areas are also not ready. But the other 17 greens are in great shape, according to President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Jones.
Jones said the firmness and eventually the speed of the Bermuda greens will present a challenge to OTN members, including the many elite professionals and top amateurs who call the course home. He expects it to play three shots harder than prior to the renovation.
“It’s going to be a totally different challenge,” Jones said. “A lot firmer and a lot faster than we were able to keep the bent grass, particularly in the hottest months.
Oak Tree National, designed by legendary architect Pete Dye, is home to the famed Oak Tree Gang, of which Scott Verplank, Willie Wood, Bob Tway and Gil Morgan along with newcomer Bradnt Jobe still play out of the home of the 1988 PGA Championship. A new Oak Tree Gang is rising with young pros such as Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff, Talor Gooch, Austin Eckroat, Kevin Tway, Quade Cummins, Michael Gellerman, Logan McAllister, Rhein Gibson, Hayden Wood, Jonathan Brightwell, Josh Creel, Zach Bauchou, Will Kropp and Blake Trimble, among others. In addtion to the 1988 PGA Championship, it was the site of the 2006 Senior PGA Championship and the 2014 U.S. Senior Open.
While the greens on the course will keep their countours and slopes, the new putting green has been completely redesigned and is now a 14,500-square foot green that wraps around the first tee.