South course at Lake Hefner to reopen May 8

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In some good news for Oklahoma City area golfers, Lake Hefner Director of Golf Brad Sliauter provided an update on the reopening of the South Course, noting the course will reopen May 8 and tee times can be reserved beginning May 1.

Here are some notes from Silauter’s update to Lake Hefner golfers after the course was closed for both turf damage and irrigation repairs:

“While the course is in playable condition, we still need a complete growing season to fully recover. I’d like to go ahead and bring you to up to speed on what kind of conditions to expect.

Tee Boxes: Many of our tees have not fully healed due to last summer’s lack of water from our irrigation system being replaced. We’ve aerified these tees and will be fertilizing them later this week. In the meantime, tee markers will be placed in areas with the best turf. Some will not be in their traditional locations as a result. We sodded all six of our par 3 tee boxes with Astro Bermuda last fall. We are still transitioning to a lower height of cut and they are not yet ready for use. All play on these holes will be from our new artificial turf hitting locations until that time. This will just be temporary as we continue to prepare the turf for play.

Bunkers: Some of the most glaring feedback we’ve received about the South Course is the lack of sand in the bunkers. During our closure, we added 3” of sand to all greenside bunkers and will continue to work throughout the season on the remaining fairways bunkers. This investment in the course will help us maintain consistency from hole to hole in the coming years.

Fairways: Where there is grass, they are in great shape! A year without significant cart traffic has paid dividends on their condition. We have purchased a fairway slicer which is scheduled to arrive in June. We will be opening up all fairways and tee boxes on both courses once it is delivered. This hasn’t been done in at least the six years I’ve been here so I’m excited to see the results! As you play the course, please take full relief from any newly sodded areas, trench lines, or bare spots that will be growing in this summer.

Greens: We overseeded the greens in the fall with 007 Bentgrass to recuperate from the loss of turf. The seed has performed wonderfully and done its job filling in the weak spots. We have plugged (replaced turf) in larger spots where needed. Our green speed will be slower than we’d like at first but will gradually increase as we lightly top dress, mow, and roll them on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be long until we have consistent speed on both courses.

Trees: Like other courses in the area, we’ve lost many trees for a few reasons. The biggest contributors were the sub-zero winter of 2021, the drought and extreme heat from last summer, and a handful of pesky beavers that we’ve been removing the past few months. The course will appear different for many of you as the sight lines have changed. These features are an integral part of the course design and we have plans to replace many of these trees in the fall.

You may also encounter some holes where we ask you to keep carts on the cart path to avoid additional damage to areas under repair. Please respect these cart rules and know you are helping improve the conditions for everyone when you do.

Additionally, we are asking for your help to keep our greens free of ball marks this season. Our starters have been given complimentary ball mark repair tools to hand out to groups before play. Please be sure to fix your mark plus one more. If every member of your group did this, we would not have any more ball marks on our greens and they will roll true. If the starter does not offer, please ask them for one!

Finally, we are looking for volunteers to serve as starters and marshals. This position is required to work 8 hours per week in exchange for complimentary golf privileges. If you or someone you know would like to help out this summer, please contact Ralph Mestre at 940-453-5105.

I know you’re all excited to get out and play the South again but believe me, no one is more excited about this than me! It’s been a long year without it but happy we now have the necessary irrigation to maintain excellent course conditions.

Your feedback is very valuable to us and we’d love to hear from you after you play. Let our professional staff know your thoughts on how we can continue to improve the course or feel free to pass along your input directly to me via email. I can be reached at brad@okcgolf.com.

We’re also a little over a month away from a brand-new golf car fleet. More information on that to come soon. We can’t wait to see you out here again soon.”


 

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Ken MacLeod

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