River Course reopens at The Club at Indian Springs, Jones still on chase for 500
By Ken MacLeod
For Indian Springs superintendent David Jones, the reopening of the new Champion Bermuda greens on The River Course at Indian Springs over Labor Day weekend was a two-fold blessing.
His members now again have 36 holes and both courses have matching Bermuda greens. And this is a man with places to go and courses to play before his 50th birthday on Nov. 16.
Jones, you may remember, was featured in Golf Oklahoma two years back for playing every course in Oklahoma, public or private, nine holes or 18.
Along with that mission he had announced his goal was to play a course in all 50 states by his 50th birthday on Nov. 16. Jones is going to have to use his brief time off between now and then to knock off courses in Montana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Georgia.
Montana is happening next week. The others could be done in one week, with Georgia saved for his birthday. He would like to celebrate that by capping it off with a 50th birthday round at Augusta National. Right now that remains a birthday candle wish, but if anyone steps up to make it happen, let this reporter know and I’ll be glad to go along and chronicle the round.
Tougher than playing in each state will be reaching Jones’ goal of playing 500 courses by his 50th birthday. With 460 down, that means 40 more courses to play in the next few months and no Oklahoma courses count since he’s already played them all.
Back to the River Course, the transition to Champion Bermuda will match what was installed on the shorter Lakes Course in 2013. The River Course was designed in 1967 by George Fazio and had hosted numerous championships by the Oklahoma and Women’s Oklahoma Golf Associations as well as college events and now an annual event on the All Pro Tour.
Jones said he was pleased with how tight the sprigs grew in over the course of the summer. The new green surfaces are rolling well and being kept at a slower pace of about 8.5 on the stimpmeter until they have a chance to mature but the membership, many of whom were reluctant to lose their bent grass option, have so far been pleased.
“We’re getting a lot of good feedback,” Jones said. “I think they’ll really mature and be great going forward. From a maintenance standpoint they are a lot of work, but still much better than trying to syringe bent grass all afternoon in a summer like we just had.”
With the conversions to Bermuda this summer of Oak Tree National and Indian Springs as well as Bailey Ranch and The Canyons at Blackjack Springs in 2021, the state is moving steadily toward a 50-50 mix of Bermuda and bent grass greens. While Indian Springs is the first of the private clubs in Tulsa County (except the West Nine at Southern Hills) to install Bermuda, the majority of the public courses have gone that direction, including Olde Page, Stone Creek, Woodbine, Pecan Valley, Bailey Ranch, Canyons at Blackjack Ridge, the par-3 course at LaFortune Park and Heritage Hills. Still with bent grass are South Lakes, LaFortune Park, Battle Creek, Cherokee Hills, Forest Ridge and Rock Creek in Sapulpa.