Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
Lush, green sod lain in patchwork squares was the first evidence of a newly overhauled Boiling Springs Golf Course,
The resort like scene met golfers Friday morning during the annual Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament.
As each team worked around the course for the annual fund raising event, players couldn't help make comments about the difference in the golf course.
"People say they have played Boiling Springs before, but if they haven't played the course recently, it is a whole new experience," said Don Parks, Boiling Springs Clubhouse manager. "The Chamber Tournament is going along really well today."
Outside Friday, the greens were thick and soft like carpet, tempting the occasional golfer to reach down with both hands and touch what looked like a post card from Ireland.
"The course looks really good," said golfer Josh Howard of Bank of Western Oklahoma.
Howard was playing the 9th hole, where there was an organized "Hole-In-One" competition.
The chamber's annual golf event planner Karla Wilson parsed the course up in segments and created a number of varied challenges including a closest to the hole contest, a longest drive contest and others.
Rolling bunkers created an interesting topography, and white sand behind each lured balls putted just a bit too hard.
Spectators wandered unhurriedly along the path, enjoying the crisp new look of the course.
The scene was a happy divorce from the poor condition of the course a little over a year ago when JCLA Enterprises LLC, still ran the facility under a contract with the City of Woodward.
City commissioners voted in September of 2012 to take possession of the golf course, just two years after signing the group.
The reclamation of the course by the city was a part of a mutual agreement to terminate the contract between JCLA Enterprises LLC and the City of Woodward.
During the same month Woodward City Commissioners approved emergency funding for the repair of the greens.
In May, 2013, when it was discovered there would be other needed repairs and management of the course funds were approved for the installation of sod, bunker drainage, tee maintenance and other needed repairs.
The course is now under the management of the Dunn Golf Group, LLC, which has also developed a number of golf project in Texas, including a 36-hole course at Amarillo and 18-hole country clubs in San Angelo and Rockwall.
Young Cody Peters works on the grounds of Boiling Springs Golf Club.
Friday, he positioned himself on one of the greens where there was a Hole-in-One contest. Each time a golfer made an attempt, he retrieved the stray golf balls and just seemed to enjoy the easy work on an uncharacteristically cool, cloudy day.
"If you would have seen this place before, you would know how much it has changed," he said quietly, as a golfer nearby lined up his shot.
In all, many changes were made to the bunkers (sand traps) and the surrounding course as well as new tees. Primarily, however, there was a vast, new system of greens put into the facility, Parks said.
There were also changes made to a pond, which was not in a good position for optimal play, officials said.
"Well, we lost the greens out here and we had to do a total overhaul or we would have had to close down," Parks said. "That is just how it was. So while we were doing the greens, we just decided to do a total overhaul."
The total overhaul was fine with Rick Schlegel playing on a team with his company, who lives in a home not too far from the course.
Schlegel was impressed with the level of investment the City of Woodward has put into bringing the course back into good condition.
"The other people let it get really bare," Schlegel said. "Now it has new greens and these new bunkers are really attractive."
Spectator Klayne Brown brought a chair out to the edge of a green and sat back as golfers padded through newly planted sod, leaving foot prints in the damp grass made that way by an unseasonable shower early Friday morning.
"I'm really enjoying this," she said. "It's been a while since I have been here but I'm glad I came."