Jeff Fought has a way of explaining things that golfers can easily understand.
Take, for example, the new irrigation system being installed on the Big Meadow course at Black Butte Ranch.
“To just put it in perspective, it’s like using a wooden driver versus the new metal drivers,” says Fought, the longtime director of golf at Black Butte Ranch. “It’s like using the old balata ball versus the new balls that go 50 yards farther. The technology on irrigation systems and sprinklers is phenomenal.”
Fought estimates that the previous irrigation system was between 35 and 45 years old. Several parts had been replaced in recent years, and the mainline even broke. The system needed an overhaul and it was time, Fought explains.
“Fortunately, (Black Butte Ranch) saved for it the last 10 years, and so we’re putting in a new system,” Fought says. “The new systems now have single-head coverage, which save you about 40 percent of your watering. It puts the water where you want it. Before, if you had a dry spot, you had to turn on four or five heads. It’s just so much better to have single-head coverage.”
Installation of the system was originally scheduled to begin March 1, but that was pushed back to early April due to the deep snow that lingered on the course in early March.
It is currently still being installed and play at Big Meadow is limited to weekends and special groups, according to Fought. He adds that he expects the irrigation system to be completed and daily play to continue by about mid-June.
“(Workers) are not going to be here on the weekends and we’ll still be able to have play around it,” Fought says. “They might just shut down a hole or shut down half a hole. It just depends.”
Fought says the biggest worry with the old system was the irrigation failing during the summer. The overhaul includes replacing the mainline and installing 1,500 new sprinkler heads. The sprinklers are similar to typical yard sprinklers, but much bigger and capable of shooting water as far as 70 feet.
“They have a lot of pressure behind them,” Fought says. “That’s why you have bigger pumps, the whole deal.”
Black Butte Ranch renovated its other course, Glaze Meadow, in 2013, and that project included a new irrigation system as well.
Awbrey Glen to add bunkers to layout
Bend’s Awbrey Glen Golf Club is adding bunkers to holes No. 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 17 and new tee boxes to Nos. 1, 7 and 14. The changes are part of the master plan for the course, courtesy of golf designer David McLay Kidd, who helped develop that plan in 2011.
“It’s mostly greenside bunkers and there’s a mix of enhancing existing bunkers and adding new bunkers,” says Troy Johnston, chair of the greens committee and a member of the board of directors for Awbrey Glen.
Johnston adds that the purpose of the changes is for golf strategy, improved sight lines and enhanced visual aesthetics.
According to Johnston, Awbrey Glen will remain open for play during the construction, which is expected to be completed by sometime in June.
“We’ll play around the construction,” Johnston says. “It shouldn’t impact more than one or two holes in a round.”
Tetherow adds an indoor golf simulator
Tetherow Golf Club in Bend has a new indoor golf simulator on which players can choose to play various courses or an indoor range. Up to four golfers can play at once.
The TrackMan4 Performance Center includes 27 different courses and a virtual driving range that displays ball spin, carry yards, total yards and more. The simulator includes various short-game and overall tests for golfers to hone their skills.
The simulator is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information and prices, visit tetherow.com/golf.
Other courses in Central Oregon offer golf simulators as well, including Bend Golf Club and Awbrey Glen. Also in Bend, simulators open to the public are available at Parscription Golf.