While I was searching for my golf ball in lush Bermuda rough a few feet off the fairway on the sixth hole on Stone Creek Golf Course at Page Belcher last Sunday, my first thought was, wow, Jason (superintendent Jason Casey) needs to get this stuff mowed a bit.
My next thought was, what am I complaining about. Two years ago we didn’t have grass on large parts of the course.
The improvements made at Stone Creek and Olde Page in the past two years are striking. And we (golfers who use the City of Tulsa courses at both Page Belcher and Mohawk Park) are fortunate we have superintendents at both facilities who are passionate about providing excellent playing conditions at both facilities.
But they need the tools to provide them. And that’s why it’s crucial that golfers vote yes Tuesday on the Improve Our Tulsa bond issue that has $8 million directed toward the city courses, the first significant capital improvement dollars directed to the city courses in many years.
Those who have written in complaining about the dry fairways at Mohawk Park this year, that is not the fault of superintendent Tomas Hnizdo and his maintenance staff. It is the fault of a Depression-era pump house failing utterly and an irrigation system that is largely kaput. That will be the first issue addressed.
At Page Belcher, you’re probably read many times that a crucial issue over the years has been the city, through the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority, charging its own courses top dollar for irrigation to where water was unaffordable. A long-term solution to that issue is also going to be addressed when the bond issue passes.
The commitment of the city to properly maintain its own golf facilities the past few years under Mayor G.T. Bynum and Parks Director Anna America has improved drastically. A Golf Course Advisory Committee, of which I am a member but more importantly has Southern Hills General Manager Nick Sidorkis, golf architect Randy Heckenkemper and former Tulsa budget director Pat Connelly as members) is confident the city is at long last heading in the right direction towards providing its citizens quality public golf at an affordable price, but a price that also provides adequate resources for proper maintenance.
Besides the resources that have already resulted in dramatic improvements at Page Belcher, there will soon hopefully be $2 million more for improvements as the $1 million match of private donations to ARPA funds is raised. We still are short some $50,000 of earning the match, so if you can help please do. Bunkers, further tree trimming and sod and other esthetic and infrastructure improvements at both facilities are planned.
Please vote yes on the bond issue which does not include any new taxes. I am confident golfers will be very pleased with the results in the years to come.
– Ken MacLeod, Golf Oklahoma