Sequoyah State Park Golf Course has converted from 18 holes to nine holes while building an extensive new driving range on what used to be the first and second holes.
The move was made primarily because extensive flooding of Fort Gibson Lake frequently closed down holes 1, 6, 7 and 8 on the front nine, leading to a reduction in play. Jerry Winchester, the director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, said last fall that closing the course entirely was under strong consideration.
Converting to a nine-hole facility is a reprieve that Sequoyah State Park Manager Tony Presley said he hopes will be permanent.
“No final decision has been made,” Presley said. “But we think this will help. We’d hate to lose it but we need people to utilize it.”
Right now play is up. Courses are closed in Tahlequah and other locations due to the pandemic, which means new visitors for Sequoyah State Park GC. The lodge is temporarily closed at the state park, but the cabins, trails and recreational vehicle areas are open. The golf course is open using precautions such as single rider carts and no touch points.
Presley said hole nine was kept and is being maintained as either an extra hole or to replace hole 12, which is also susceptible to flooding on occasion. Other parts of the front nine, including some tee box turf, were used to make improvements on the back nine. Irrigation improvements are also being made. Presley said converting to nine holes should allow improved maintenance standards on the remaining holes.
Golfers can still play 18 holes. Cost is $20 including cart Monday through Thursday and $29 on the weekends.
As for the rest of the courses in the state park system, they are all open except Grand Cherokee in Disney, which is closed temporarily. Open are courses at Arrowhead, Lake Murray, Roman Nose, Fort Cobb and Beavers Bend state parks.
– Ken MacLeod