There is a good reason the two courses at Lincoln Park in Oklahoma City are popular spots for high school championships, numerous collegiate events including the 2019, 2020 and 2022 NAIA Women’s National Championship, Oklahoma Golf Association and Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour events and much more.
It’s because both the East and West Courses are always in nearly immaculate condition, offering green and fairway conditions the envy of many private courses.
A big reason for that is Jim Wood, the superintendent the past 22 years. Wood retired as of Jan. 31 and will be honored at Wednesday’s meeting of the Oklahoma City Golf Commission.
“I hired him in 1998 and it was the best hire I could have possibly made,” said long-time Lincoln Park Director of Golf Steve Carson. “There’s not another person who could have made the improvements or done a better job. He oversaw the total reconstruction of the West Course and then later the East Course and managed the grow-in on both of those jobs and just did an amazing job.”
Wood was a favorite of golf course architect Randy Heckenkemper, who did the restorations of both the West and East courses. He said Wood was among the top superintendents in the state at any level, always providing full Bermuda fairways and firm, fast bent grass greens.
“Jim elevated the turf conditions almost immediately upon becoming Lincoln Park’s superintendent,” Heckenkemper said. “He used a blend of new and old techniques and practices. He most likely maximized maintenance dollars more than any superintendent in the state.”
Before coming to Lincoln Park in 1998, Wood was the superintendent at Oak Tree National.
Carson said he has hired assistant superintendent James Kinney to take over the maintenance crew. Kinney has been an assistant to Wood the past four years and worked at Lake Hefner Golf Course the previous four years.
– Ken MacLeod