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Fortunately no one was hurt when a tornado plowed through Cimarron National in Guthrie. The course was quickly reopened.
Mother Nature’s wrath
The deadly tornados that struck Joplin, Mo., and days later parts of Oklahoma did not leave golf courses unscathed. What was described as either an F2 or F3 tornado that moved through Guthrie on May 25 leveled more than 1,000 trees on the back nine of Cimarron National, one of four courses in Guthrie founded by Duffy Martin. It’s sister course, Aqua Canyon, was not affected and neither was the courses at Cedar Valley. Head professional Marty Colbert directed a tireless crew that had the course fully reopened in less than two weeks. “We had a good bunch of guys who were more interested in getting the thing cleaned up than they were how many hours they worked,” Colbert said. Most of the debris was burned and Colbert said the course is just as playable as before, but took a hit on the back nine esthetically. “We’ll be replanting a lot of trees,” Colbert said. The afternoon of the tornado was a scary one for everyone at Cimarron National. “It was about 600 yards wide and wrapped in rain,” Colbert said. “Nobody could see it. We had a group of 36 golfers out in a tournament and had them down in the basement with me when it went through. We were lucky that no one was hurt. The clubhouse had some minor
damage, but nothing serious.” The course was hit by a tornado 12 years ago, but with nowhere near the impact. In addition to the tree damage, five houses neighboring the course were destroyed. Still, Colbert said there is nowhere he would rather live. “You’ve got to take the good with the bad, but this just shows us how many good things there are to living in Oklahoma,” Colbert said. The Coves Golf Club on Grand Lake suffered tree damage from the same tornado that leveled Joplin, Mo., on May 22. Course manager Jim Gray said he lost about 50 trees. Several greens were damaged by falling limbs and the clubhouse sustained minor shingle damage. Shangri-La Resort on Monkey Island did not have tornado damage, but heavy rains washed out some sodding and planting work on the new nine holes currently under construction on the previous Gold Course. Project manager Jason Sheffield said the floods set the construction back about a month.
Greenway to run Clary Fields
Greenway Golf Management has signed a long-term contract to run day-to-day operations at Clary Fields Golf Course in Sapulpa. Greenway, which also operates Battle Creek Golf Course in Broken Arrow, has
hired Thomas Hnizdo from LaFortune Park to be the head golf professional and facility manager. “We’re completing a new marketing plan, doing a lot of cleanup work around the clubhouse and redoing the snack bar to get started,” said Ken Campbell, president of Greenway Golf Management. The Greenway turf management program which has resulted in Battle Creek consistently having among the best greens in the state has also been implemented. Battle Creek Director of Golf Dee Roadman will also supervise operations at Clary Fields.
Boiling Springs reopens
Despite the challenges of significant turf damage due to the harsh 2009-2010 weather, coupled with the demise of its longtime operating group, Boiling Springs Golf Course has beaten the ten-count and reopened. Boiling Springs, with its striking elevation changes and challenging layout was likely never in real danger of expiring. Still, last September, when the Boiling Springs Golf Association asked the Woodward Municipal Authority to terminate the lease, the future was in considerable doubt. However, over the winter Woodward officials fielded plenty of proposals for operating the property. Effective March 1, 2012, the city awarded an operating lease to Albuquerque-based JCLA Enterprises, LLC – an www.golfoklahoma.org •••••• 19