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Variety of changes at Karsten Creek made to improve course for fans, players CNHI Sports Oklahoma

Since Karsten Creek Golf Club was announced a year ago as the site for the 2018 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships, Rob Land and other officials have been making updates to the course west of Stillwater. Land, a PGA Golf Professional at Karsten Creek – the home of Oklahoma State University’s golf teams, and his crew has kept busy improving the course during the past 12 months. Some of those will be noticed by


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

By Jimmy Gillispie

the spectators at the two-week long championships, while others were made only for the players. Regardless of their purpose, Land can’t wait for the golfers and fans to arrive and witness Karsten Creek during the next two weeks. “We’re excited for everybody to get here,” Land said. “They’re going to see it and be excited by what we’ve done.” The most obvious improvements to fans will come on the final two Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press holes of the course. The Karsten Creek brought in new sand from North Carolina to fill its

bunkers within the past year. It’s the same type of sand used at See Changes, Page 3 Augusta National, home of The Masters.

Table of Contents

2 Changes to Karsten Creek 5 Karsten Creek Course map 6 Loyal & True Column: A novice

golfer’s perspective of Karsten Creek

8 Pro Tips: Former NCAA champion Jonathan Moore breaks down each hole at Karsten Creek

12 Karsten Creek to host its first women’s national championship

14 Visionary masterpiece: How Mike Holder made Karsten Creek a reality

16 Former OSU golfers on Tour 18 2011 Flashback: A look back at

the last time Karsten Creek hosted the NCAA Men’s National Championship

Credits Sports Editor: Jason Elmquist Sports Reporter: Jimmy Gillispie Sports Reporter: Jordan Bishop Graphic Designer/Columnist: Jeff Hopper

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Ex pi re sM ay

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Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News PRESS

Trees on the island in Lake Louise at Karsten Creek were removed to create an unhindered view of the See Rough, Page 4 18th green and the clubhouse from No. 17.


island located on the reservoir lake between the No. 17 and 18 holes has seen one noticeable change. The trees on the island have been trimmed down, making for better line of sight between the final two holes. Those changes were recommended a year ago. “We talked to the Golf Channel when they came in last year for the first site visit,” Land said. “To get camera angles good, they mentioned maybe taking those down and Coach (Mike) Holder was all in on it, so let’s take them down.” The Karsten Creek crew has also cleared

out some of the trees and plants between holes on the course. The course is known for primarily only seeing one hole at a time, because of the thick forest between holes and the layout of the course, but spectators will have a better view between holes while at the championship. “We have cleared out a lot of the undergrowth inbetween holes,” Land said. “Before, you couldn’t see between fairways. Now, the viewing angles are opened up a bit. We’re actually going to encourage the spectators during the championship to walk the fairways with the players. “The rough is great, so we’re asking them to keep out of the rough.


HOLE ##3 Par 3 198 Yards Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

Rain washed out some of the sand in the bunker at Karsten Creek, exposing the capillary concrete that lines the bunkers allowing for better drainage.

Rough We’ve done a lot of clearing, so hopefully it will be a better experience for them. It won’t be a huge difference, but it’s an improvement for us.” The final change to the course for fans will likely be the most obvious ones. There will be grandstands on the course, but only on the final hole. The layout of the course made it difficult to include them in other locations, so No. 18 will be the only hole where grandstands were added for the championship. “We talked a lot about grandstands and where we could put them,” Land said. “After looking at the golf course and how we’re treelined, there’s not very many good places to put them, so we opted to only put one out


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Continued from Page 3

What they have to say:

sand from North Carolina – the same type of sand used at Augusta National, home of The Masters. He says they’re “We always want to get better. Just like the playing fantastic. golf teams – they want to get better every year, Retaining walls were added so do we.” on No. 17 and 18 holes. Those Rob Land were likely needed with or PGA Professional at Karsten Creek Golf Club without the championship coming to town. “It’s two-fold. There were some problems with that turf there. It’s going to be right at every year, so do we,” Land the corner on the 18 fairway, said. “Golf changes – kids get sort of falling into that lake, so you can look back down better, they hit it further and so it’s going to keep that from happening. And, it really and see the 18 tee box, you we’ve got to make accommocan see the 18 green and you dations for that. When we im- dresses it up – makes it look a can look back across – now prove the bunkers and things lot better out there. It cleans it up.” that there’s no trees on the like that, it’s to improve Tee box renovations were island – and you can see 17 playing conditions. We want also done around the course, green and fairway.” to give our student-athletes, The other changes or imespecially, the best chance we with new ones added on the final two holes. The tee boxes provements to the course can out there and get them were moved back about 30 were made for the golfers’ ready for the next level, and yards on No. 17 and 18 to benefit. They include lengthwe think that’s necessary to make them more challenging, ening two holes, adding keep doing.” depending on wind conditions, retaining walls and bunker Karsten Creek officials imaccording to Land. improvements. proved the bunkers around He also said the entire tee “We always want to get bet- the course. According to Land, ter. Just like the golf teams they put capillary concrete in, box renovations around the course were made to improve – they want to get better lined them and got all new

them. “We started a tee box renovation last April. We resurfaced all of our tee boxes on the golf course with a new Zeon series of grass. It’s a little more firm and very similar playing conditions to what they have down at Jimmy Austin (OU Golf Club) in Norman. We really like the turf so we did that.”

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News Press

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018


North Central Oklahoma’s Bone & Joint Specialists

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Considered by many to be at the apex of college golf courses, Karsten Creek certainly does not fail to live up to its hype. Before I get too deep into the course itself, allow me to preface my comments with the information that my handicap ranges from, “Wow! That actually looked like a golf shot!” to “I lost how many golf balls today!?!” Karsten Creek is a hidden gem, nestled away in Stillwater. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to play Karsten Creek a handful of times over the


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Karsten Creek: A joyous frustration Loyal and True jeff hopper past several years and I get as excited as a kid on Christmas morning every time. This round packed an extra gift, in that I was able to play the round with former Oklahoma State Cowboy golfer, 2006 NCAA Champion and former PGA tour player, Jonathan Moore. I could fill an entire

piece just about how enjoyable it was to spend 18 holes with Moore. The knowledge of the course, the way a pro thinks about each hole and each shot coupled with some amazing stories of his time spent at Karsten Creek made this one of my favorite rounds I’ve ever played period. He certainly makes me proud to be a Cowboy and to have him back “home” helping the next crop of future professionals sharpen their game. Jonathan, if you’re reading this,

Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

News Press graphic designer and sports columnist Jeff Hopper got the chance to play Karsten Creek before it is set to host the NCAA Division I Men’s and See Hopper, Page 7 Women’s Golf Championships.

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be able to see the hole they’re playing. Karsten Creek will definitely put each golfer on an island by themselves and test their mettle and focus. Although my golf game is horrid, at times, I’ve had the opportunity to play some amazing golf courses around the region, and Karsten is battling for tops on the list. If you’re ever given the opportunity to play Karsten Creek, I highly recommend it! Even for those of us that aren’t great at golf, you won’t regret the decision to play one of the premier golf courses in the country! Jeff Hopper graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2008 and has been a football season ticket holder since 2005. He can be contacted at

Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

Don’t let the views at the par 3 third at Karsten Creek distract from its true bite. The two-tiered green make it challenging if the tee shot fails to land on the proper tier.


people to underestimate it. The speed of the greens is absolutely ridiculous. A player faced with a downhill putt (now you know why I’m bad at golf), will need the deftest of touch to not race their ball feet past the hole with a simple nudge! The greens would test even the best putter. As tough as the golf is, the scenery is equally as beautiful. Karsten Creek has some of the best views on a golf course that I’ve ever seen. The incorporation of elevation changes, streams, creeks and Lake Louise will help a novice player forget how awful the round is going and how many golf balls they’ve lost. The woods provide an extra level of tranquility, as in most cases a player will only

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

(like most of mine) will find themselves amongst the wildlife, that call the woods surrounding the course home. Continued from Page 6 Approach shots are manageable, if you’ve sorry you had to watch thought ahead, and are me “play golf.” hit from immaculately Back to the feature kept fairways. attraction, the course is The most fun, just fairly lengthy, playing nearly 7,500 yards from ahead of some interesting tee shots, comes the Championship tees from navigating the (which I do not play greens at Karsten from), but never feels impossible. The majority Creek. If I were to say that the greens are fast of the course is pretty and undulating, it might straight forward. Step be the understatement up to the tee, see the fairway and try to hit it. of the year! I rarely found myself The trouble comes for standing over a straight those of us who don’t putt (I know, I know, hit the ball straight on I should get better at a consistent basis. If golf). In fact, Moore a player strays too far said that he tells everyfrom the short grass, one that plays Karsten they will either find Creek to add an extra themselves in some of foot of break to their the densest rough that I’ve ever played in, or for green reads, because the course constantly gets the more wayward shot

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HOLE ##7 Par 3 206 Yards

Jonathan Moore is a former Oklahoma State golfer who won the 2007 NCAA individual national championship and was a member of the 2006 Cowboy squad that won the NCAA team title – the last championship to be won by the program. After leaving OSU early to go pro, he spent several years on various tours, most notably the Asian Tour – and played in the 2006 U.S. Open and the 2015 Open Championship. After going back to get his college degree from Oklahoma State, he returned to the Cow-


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Former Cowboy Jonathan Moore dissects Karsten Creek boy golf program this year as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. The Vancouver, Washington, native recently played a round of golf at Karsten Creek Golf Club with the Stillwater News Press to provide tips and discuss the intricacies of each hole at the championship course that will host the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s National Championships.


Par 5 542 Yards It’s not overly unique for a lot of golf courses to open with a Par 5. On this golf course, it does allow for you to get off to a nice start, which is good. This is one of those holes that you hope to be walking off with a birdie, so it can kind of get you off to a good start to your round.

No. 2 Par 4 458 Yards You always want to

Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

The Par 4 fourth hole at Karsten Creek provides a serene waterfall in front of See Tips, Page 9 the fairway.


HOLE ##9 Par 5 623 Yards

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Tips Continued from Page 8

No. 3 Par 3 198 Yards

“I think it’s the most difficult green on the course. Easily the most difficult Par 3.” Jonathan Moore

Ex-Cowboy golfer on No. 7 at Karsten Creek

is really narrow and the putts having to go up to get to it are difficult. So you are trying to hit it all the way back there. Just really requires a good shot, and if not, you are going to find yourself in a pretty challenging spot.

No. 6 Par 4 350 Yards

Where this hole’s challenge is with of the fairway is the the slope of preferable spot because the green. Very slopthe trees up the left side ing green from back kind of hang over and can block you. If you can to front, and from right to left. You position yourself there, you leave yourself a nice have to have a second shot that little wedge shot at the green. Very much a bird- you can take some spin off of it ie hole. because if you hit a full wedge shot up in No. 5 the air, you’ll hit on the green and spin it right Par 4 481 Yards back off the front of the It is definitely a secgreen. ond shot hole due to a big ridge that kind of divides the green with No. 7

Par 3 206 Yards I think it’s the most difficult green on the course. Easily the most difficult Par 3. Big, big slope starting about 20 yards into the green. The whole last half of the green kind of goes downhill and left to right pretty severe. When this green is firm, it’s just really hard to hold the ball – you have to hit it really high in the air to get it to stop and land soft coming down.

No. 8 Par 4 459 Yards It’s the only hole on the course that doesn’t have a bunker on the entire hole. So it’s a

pretty straight forward Par 4.

No. 9 Par 5 623 Yards It’s a really a fun hole from the standpoint that you tee off high and steadily make your way down to the green. It really has a pretty look to it and one of the highest points on the course. If you can hit a good drive, there is a potential to get down the slope and have a shot at the green in two. What makes this hole unique is the amount of slope in the green, but it does allow to hit that long second shot into the green because it’s a bit of a backstop and bank it on around to a right pin.

See Back Nine, Page 10


A really, really difficult green. It’s an elevated green, so you are hit- No. 4 ting down and the wind Par 4 349 Yards plays a big factor on the ball. There’s just a really You want to hit it sharp degreed front to somewhere around 100 back, tiered green. The yards from the green. back part of the green The middle to right side

a right shelf and then a lower left part. There is a deep bunker short of the green that can come into play and makes it difficult from there.

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

be below, and left, of the hole on No. 2 if at possible. The green has this big, gradual slop from right to left that if you are past and right of the pin, you are going to have a very, very fast putt. It’s really all about positioning that second shot.

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Back Nine Continued from Page 9

No. 10 Par 4 477 Yards It’s a difficult tee shot when you have a wind into your face because you can’t hit it low enough because you are hitting from elevation. It’s going to get up in the air, so you’ve got to hit a ball with good flight on it, otherwise it’s pretty easy for it to start curving off toward the rough. A tee shot off the left side is safer because you have a big cedar up the right side that can block you out.

No. 11 Par 3 209 Yards


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018


The big challenge is that tier in the green. It’s a long, narrow green, but it’s divided into two sections. You’ve got to be in the right spot otherwise it’s going to be a long putt. You don’t want to use the slop on the right because the rough is going to be up high enough that you’re not going to be able to bounce it off of there.

No. 12 Par 4 351 Yards A short Par 4 that you can actually drive the green if you are playing downwind. So it’s a hole that forces you to make a decision on. Most players during the stroke play portion will likely just hit an iron out there and wedging it on to make four birdies that way. In match play, I bet you’ll see some guys pull out

the driver and give it a go.

No. 13 Par 4 425 Yards It’s a blind approach shot. You actually can’t see the surface of the green, so that adds to the challenge. Even if you hit a good shot, it’s not a long approach shot, but it demands you to be precise with putting it below the hole. So it’s not a long iron, you’re probably hitting more of an 8-iron or pitching wedge into this hole, but you better put it below the hole.

No. 14 Par 5 570 Yards It’s a bit of a dog-leg, which is sort of unique out here. There’s not a lot of dog-legs, most of Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

The Par 3 No. 11 offers a view of a brook that runs through the small valley in See Closing, Page 11 which the hole plays.

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Closing Continued from Page 10

No. 15 Par 3 217 Yards

The second shot you are very exposed to the wind coming off the lake. As this green gets out close to the water, the second shot just has a big wind affect to it.

No. 18 Par 5 551 Yards

It’s a unique tee shot because you are hitting over water, and for the No. 17 most part you aren’t dealing with water on Par 4 471 Yards Karsten Creek – it’s You need a good tee more about the trees off shot in order to score to the side. It just preswell on the hole. It also ents a different look to requires a good second the hole, but it’s a wide, shot. The tee shot leads generous tee shot. If you Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press to one of the more narrow hit a good one, it sets Considered by many the toughest hole at Karsten Creek, No. 17 leaves little fairways on the course you up to be able to go wiggle room for errant tee shots with thick trees down the right and Lake with big trees on either for the green in two. side. It has a big green, – Jason Elmquist Louise along the right.


It’s a big green, not overly undulating. A few fall offs on the edge of the green makes this a

No. 16 Par 4 471 Yards

but it’s very narrow. You don’t have much of a chipping option from the right side of the green, and left isn’t an option because it’s going to hit and roll down into the water. … You can hit the green in two and be in a place where you are looking for a three-putt pretty easily. Just an awesome golf hole.

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

them are pretty straight. You’re not going to be able to cut off any of it, so it doesn’t play like a typical dog-leg where you’re going to take some off. In a south wind, guys are going to be knocking it on in two no problem. The decision on the second shot, if you are going for it in two, is to possibly carry the ball all the way to the middle of the green. If you are trying to run it up, it becomes pretty narrow in the front.

little unique. If you hit it short right, there is a pretty big swell that slopes off and the bunkers are pretty deep. The surface itself is big, you’ve just got to hit a good long iron.

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HOLE ##12 Par 4 350 Yards

Women excited to host title at Karsten for first time CNHI Sports Oklahoma

Karsten Creek is ready for its close-up. For the first time, the home of the Oklahoma State women’s golf team will be hosting its first NCAA women’s championship, beginning Friday. Karsten Creek hosted the 2014 Central Regional, but for it to host the main event, as well as give Stillwater the chance to host its first women’s golf championship in nearly 40 years, means the world to Courtney Jones. Jones, OSU’s coach, realizes how important


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

By Jordan Bishop

it is for Stillwater to host both the men’s and women’s events at Karsten so visitors can see what the town has to offer along with the eminence of the course’s greens and fairways. “For college golf, it is really unique for us to have a crowd and to have fans,” Jones said. “That is the experience and environment I would love to showcase to all these teams around the country and say, ‘Hey, college golf in Stillwater is a really big deal to have the women’s championship here.’” The last time the

Payne County seat hosted a women’s golf championship, it was when the AIAW still ran the show and not the NCAA. The first NCAA-sanctioned women’s golf championship came in 1982, which was won by Tulsa – Jones’ alma mater. When the AIAW came to town in 1979, Karsten Creek hadn’t been built yet, so the championships were held at the Stillwater Country Club. SMU ended up winning the whole shebang that year.

Oklahoma State Athletics

Former Oklahoma State golfer Pernilla Lindberg shows the current team some tips at Karsten Creek a few weeks ago. The golf course is hosting its first See Women, Page 13 women’s national championship.

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What they have to say: “To welcome them here and to really showcase these female athletes is incredible. To see where the women’s game is, it’s incredible to see the transformation on the women’s side and our athletes. To be able to showcase that here in Stillwater is something that I’m really looking forward to.”

Courtney Jones

Cowgirl golf coach

facilities here are still some of the best that I have seen anywhere in the world. This course gets you ready for the tour life. It tests every part of your game and especially makes you mentally strong, too.” When the individuals and teams take the course this week, Lindberg will be watching on her TV as she gets prepared for another pro tournament. While Jones’ team

didn’t qualify, she and the other Cowgirls will be there to root on Broze and show the rest of the nation what Karsten Creek and Stillwater has to offer. “I think the game of women’s golf is at its very best right now and the future is going to keep getting better and better,” Jones said. “To be able to showcase that here at Karsten Creek is really special.”


Broze is one of the types of players that the women’s side is consistently churning out, with 10 former Cowgirls on tour. One such player who cut her teeth at Karsten Creek is Pernilla Lindberg, the program’s only product to win a major. Lindberg, one of the top golfers on the LPGA Tour, looks at Karsten as one of the driving forces behind her success as well as her grit to come out on top in this year’s ANA Inspiration. “For me, as soon as I saw the facilities here, I was sold,” Lindberg said. “This is what I needed and what I thought would help me get ready for the tour life and it did. To this point, and though I have been touring for nine years, I can say that the practice

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

a sense of accomplishment. “That was something that was a dream of ours,” Jones said. “We put a bid in for every single national chamContinued from Page 12 pionship, whether it was a regional or whatever in the So for Jones to show some hopes that these student people who haven’t seen athletes could play in Stillwater in four decades or Stillwater and in front maybe never what Karsten of their home fans, has to offer is a big deal for which we don’t her. get to do as a “To welcome them here gold team or and to really showcase these female athletes is incredible,” golf program Jones said. “To see where the very often. Tennis, softwomen’s game is, it’s incredi- ball and the other sports ble to see the transformation get to play here a lot so for us, it would really on the women’s side and our be such a neat opathletes. To be able to showportunity to get to case that here in Stillwater play at home in front is something that I’m really of their friends and looking forward to.” family and supporters When Jones came to OSU, of OSU.” she was an assistant under While the Cowgirls narAlan Bratton, who is now the rowly missed the cut in their Cowboys’ coach. Back then, Regional and didn’t qualify the two had a dream of getting Karsten to host the illus- as a team, OSU senior Emma Broze made it as an individutrious event so to finally see it come to fruition gives Jones al after winning a playoff.

HOLE ##14 Par 5 570 Yards

Visionary masterpiece How Mike Holder made his dream of Karsten Creek a reality By Jason Elmquist Mike Holder still remembers the first and last name of every man that made his dream a reality. It doesn’t matter if the person gave him ideas, donations or a ‘no’ – every person played a part in the nearly 20-year path that culminated in the creation of Karsten Creek Golf Club – a championship-caliber course that is home to Oklahoma State golf. The idea to just create a course came from his former coach and mentor, the legendary Labron Harris. Holder saw it as a way to recruit top golfers to Oklahoma, away from the coasts where many of the elite prospects were found. Harris was the architect of Lakeside Golf Course in 1945, two years before becoming the head coach of Oklahoma State’s men’s golf program –


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CNHI Sports Oklahoma

spending around $500 to build the front nine then “splurged on the back nine spending twice as much money” with $1,000 spent. “I had all that history of knowing that Coach Harris built that golf course, so that put the thought in mind – ‘Somebody has already done it,’” Holder said. But Karsten Creek is nothing like Lakeside, or Stillwater Country Club. The two older courses in Stillwater are wide open designs with few trees. Karsten Creek was carved out of native oak trees that are now home to many errant golf shots. By shear happenstance, the idea for the location of what would become the country’s elite college golf course came from his officemate in the basement of the old Spears School of Business building where Holder was teaching quarter-time when he was

HOLE ##15 Par 3 217 Yards

hired as Harris’ successor as OSU’s men’s golf coach in 1973.

See Vision, Page 15

Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

Karsten Creek, home of the Oklahoma State golf programs, will test the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s best golf programs with the national championships. It will be the third time Karsten Creek has hosted the men’s event, and the first time for the women’s tournament.

HOLE ##16 Par 4 471 Yards instagram 6/1/2018


the beginning. As he searched for backing to turn his dream of a college golf course into reality, even Oklahoma State’s biggest donor to date was skeptical. “I went to go see Boone Pickens to try to get him to be a hole donor … and to my surprise he agreed to do it,” Holder said. “Then when I left that day, he told his best friend, Jerry Walsh, ‘I’ll never have to pay that. There’s no way that guy can find 18 people that are going to give $150,000 to build a golf course. So I was just nice to him and appeased him.’” By the time the money was donated for holes, years had passed and suddenly the figure in mind to create the course was much smaller than the logistical number needed. “By the time we got traction, $2.7 million wasn’t enough,” Holder said. “In the history of Oklahoma State, nobody had raised very much money at the period of time

we’re talking about. The number of million-dollar gifts was minuscule.”

The namesake That’s where Karsten Solheim, of whom the course is named after, stepped forward to fill the shortfall – donating roughly $4 million. “I’ve got to believe he was probably the largest donor ever to OSU at that time, and he didn’t even go to school here,” Holder said. “He just believed in our golf program.” But just how did the Norwegian-born founder of Karsten Manufacturing, makers of the PING brand of golf clubs, come to be the biggest benefactor of the Oklahoma State golf program? It’s actually a connection steeped in the early stages of the PING franchise that has become one the leaders in the manufacturing of golf equipment.


Instead of getting Landmark Land and Pete Dye to help Holder with the design, Walser directed him to a young golf course designer that was just cutting his teeth in the industry – Tom Fazio. “He wanted to have the only Pete Dye course in Oklahoma, but he had been impressed with this young man Tom Fazio, who was just starting out in the business,” Holder said. “He thought he was young enough that he might take on our project, because we were kind of a bargain basement kind of a start-up, if you will.” And so in the early 1980s, the seeds had been planted. The land had been purchased, a design sketched. But like the trees in which Karsten Creek is tucked within, this seed took quite some time to grow. Holder, now infamous as an expert in getting donors to contribute to Oklahoma State’s thriving athletics department, wasn’t so famous in

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

and thought, ‘This would be a great place to build a golf course.’ “So I decided within two or three months of being the Continued from Page 14 golf coach that I was going to build a golf course. I just As Holder tells it, Tom didn’t realize how long it was Doozan, a member of the golf going to take.” team who was majoring in With the assistance of landscape architecture and donations from Edward C. was working on a class project Joullian and Wiley T. Mcwhich was a golf course. The Collum, Holder bought 160 design of his course was based acres from Lawrence Hamm on an area south of Lake Carl around what was then called Blackwell, north of Highway Hamm’s Lake and another 51. approximately 1,1000 acres “He asked if I ever paid atthat was owned by Oklahoma tention while driving west on State University “at fair marHighway 51, and I said, ‘No, ket value.” The plan was to I’m looking at the highway,’” get hole sponsors at $150,000, Holder said of the road leadgiving them $2.7 million to ing west out of Stillwater tobuild the course, which would ward I-35. “So the next time I have been enough to build a drove out west, I glanced over golf course in the early ’80s. at the area he was talking So Holder turned to Joe about and I was shocked with Walser, a former OSU golfer what I saw and pulled off who co-founded Oak Tree Nathe road and went down to tional, for a potential design the lake, which I had never that he could take to prospecbeen around before and got a tive donors to see the vision feel for that piece of property firsthand.

See Namesake, Page 17

Former Oklahoma State golfers on Tour Oklahoma State has a long history of producing professional golfers from its ranks. Currently, there are 14 Cowboys playing at the next level – nine on the PGA Tour and five on the Web.Com Tour. One Cowboy has won a major, and it was Bob Tway at 1986 PGA Championship in Toledo, Ohio. On the women’s side, there are 10 Cowgirls playing professionally. Seven are in the LPGA, two are exclusively on the Ladies European Tour and one is on the Symetra, or LPGA Futures, Tour. Only one former Cowgirl has won a major – Pernilla Lindberg at this year’s ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California.

PGA Rickie Fowler Joined 2009 Best major finish: 2nd in 2018 Masters

Morgan Hoffmann Joined 2013 Best major finish: T27 in 2015 US Open Charles Howell III Joined 2000 Best major finish: T10 in 2003 PGA Championship Hunter Mahan Joined 2004 Best major finish: T6 in 2009 US Open Alex Norén Joined 2005 Also on European Tour Best major finish: T6 in 2017 British Open


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Talor Gooch Joined 2018 Best pro finish: T13 in 2018 Wells Fargo Championship

Kevin Tway Joined 2014 Best major finish: T60 in

Former Oklahoma State golfer Rickie Fowler. 2014 US Open Peter Uihlein Joined 2011 Also on European Tour Best major finish: T44 in 2017 British Open Bo Van Pelt Joined 1998 Best major finish: T8 in 2011 Masters

Edward Loar Joined 2000 Best major finish: T32 in 2013 Masters Jordan Niebrugge Joined 2016 Best major finish: T6 (Low

OSU Athletics

amateur) in 2015 British Open

Pernilla Lindberg became Oklahoma State’s first female golfer to win a major when she won the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the year, on the eighth playoff hole.

Chris Tidland Joined 1995 Best major finish: T51 in 1999 US Open

Best major finish: Won 2018 ANA Inspiration

Casey Wittenberg Joined 2004 Best major finish: T10 in 2012 US Open Tour Kevin Dougherty Joined 2016 Best major finish: 64th in 2017 US Open

Associated Press

WOMEN LPGA Caroline Hedwall Joined 2011 Also on Ladies European Tour Best major finish: T3 in 2013 ANA Inspiration Pernilla Lindberg Joined 2010 Also on Ladies European Tour

Caroline Masson Joined 2010 Also on Ladies European Tour Best major finish: T3 in 2017 Women’s British Open Maddie McCrary Joined 2018 Best pro finish: T32 in LPGA Texas Classic Jane Rah Joined 2012 Best pro finish: T9 in 2012 Canadian Women’s Open Karin Sjodin Joined 2006 Best major finish: T4 in 2012 ANA Inspiration

Julie Yang Joined 2015 Best pro finish: T6 in 2016 Coates Golf Championship

Ladies European Tour Josephine Janson Joined 2013 Best pro finish: 30 in 2014 South African Women’s Open Linda Wessberg Joined 2004 Best pro finish: Won three events, including 2009 Australian Ladies Open

LPGA Futures Tour Linnea Johansson Joined 2017 Best finish: T9 in El Dorado Shootout


What they have to say: “Boone Pickens always says there’s two kinds of people in the world – givers and takers. Tom Fazio is definitely a giver.” Mike Holder

awarded by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, The Old Tom Morris Award. He would return to “The movers and shakers, the people that the land purchased by the golf program, tweak the design to shape golf around the world, are going to be make it fall at the $4 million watching things that are happening in Stillwaprice point and would charge ter, Oklahoma, for 14 straight days.” just $400,000 for his services. “We were six months into Mike Holder construction before he ever Oklahoma State athletics director sent me a bill for anything,” Holder said. “And he never asked for any of that money for when he came out in ’82 or ’83. of stewardship, I get a call the major was made using a Tom Fazio is the kind of guy from him at about 10 o’clock PING club. you want to do business with. at night, I was in bed already, And that golf course didn’t cost and he said, ‘Yea, I’m going to The biggest giver a dime over $4 million.” send you some money for that The vision of Holder, the “Boone Pickens always says golf course, I’m going to send generosity of the Solheims and there’s two kinds of people in you half a million dollars,’” Holder recalled. “I’m thinking, the world – givers and takers,” the design of Fazio culminated in the Karsten Creek opening ‘That’s not going to do me any Holder said. “Tom Fazio is on May 9, 1994, and receiving definitely a giver.” good, we need millions.’ But I recognition as the “Best New With the help of Solheim thanked him for it. Public Course for 1994” by Golf covering the shortfall in fund“Time passed, wondering Digest. Four years later, Golf ing for the course, the money where the money is and we Digest awarded the course its was finally in place to move get a FedEx envelope from first five-star rating, giving dirt. Karsten Manufacturing, so Karsten Creek the distinction The issue now posed to I drove him and run in the of being among only 10 coursHolder was the plans created house and my wife hands es in the country to earn that by Fazio were dated, and his me the envelope, pull out the course designer had gone from honor. check and I go, ‘You gotta And then just one year shy relative unknown, to one of be kidding me, he only sent of the course’s 10-year annigolf’s greatest course design$100,000. This is supposed to versary, it officially became a be for $500,000!’ My wife jerk- ers.  championship-caliber course According to Holder, Fazio ed the check out of my hand as it played host to the 2003 was demanding $1 million and said, ‘No dummy, it’s a NCAA Division I Men’s Golf per course design by the time million. You need to learn to Oklahoma State had procured Championship. count zeros!’” Now, 24 years removed the funds for its own course. A year later, John Solheim from its inception, the course “By 1990, when it was time brought his kids to Stillwater is hosting its third men’s nato select the architect to build for the Oklahoma State golf our golf course, we didn’t have tional championship, and its camp in 1989 – right after any agreement with Fazio and first-ever women’s national OSU had played in the nahe hadn’t charged me anything tournament. And for the first tional championship at Oak time, Holder’s vision will get Tree Country Club in Edmond for doing all that site work the royal treatment from Golf – and he brought with him an- and the routing plan about 10 other check for $1 million. And years earlier because he knew Channel as Karsten Creek plays center stage on national we didn’t have any money,” gave another million dollars television. Holder said. “By that time, the following year to couple “You can’t play the tournahe had ascended to the No. 1 with the $2.7 million Holder architect in the world and was ment anywhere else in the had collected from hole sponworld where people care as turning down jobs left and sors to move forward. passionately about the tournaright, and I didn’t think we Perhaps the perfect tie bement and what it stands for, could afford him. But I called tween the program and the what it means as you’ll find him up out of courtesy and growing golf manufacture here in Stillwater at our golf came five years before ground respect for what he had done, course,” Holder said. “… The thinking I’d hear no.” was even broken on Karsten movers and shakers, the peoA handshake agreement Creek Golf Club, when Bob ple that shape golf around the was made with Fazio – who Tway won the 1986 PGA world, are going to be watcha year after completion of Championship – the only ing things that are happening major title won by an ex-Cow- Karsten Creek became only in Stillwater, Oklahoma, for boy golfer. The bunker shot he the second course architect to receive the highest recognition 14 straight days.” made on the 18th hole to win


Oklahoma State athletics director

What they have to say:

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

the door. And that program was Oklahoma State, which included national championships in 1976 and 78. And there just so happened to alContinued from Page 15 ready be Cowboy player using their clubs. With Solheim trying to “David Edwards, the youngbranch out beyond putters, er brother of Danny, is already many PGA Tour members here, so there was already were hesitant to use PING a connection,” Holder said. irons. “David was using the club, “Karsten’s designs were and dealing with scrutiny and radical. The putters were like needling that went with using nothing anybody had ever them. He even used a PING seen,” Holder said. “But he golf ball.” understood the value of toeAfter some initial pushback heel balance to cut down on from his golfers, Holder and the twisting of the head. And that really helped putters, and the Cowboy program began a thought he could use the same partnership with PING – one that still stands to this day. In technology in irons to make a time that Oklahoma State the irons more accurate. dominated the college golf, it “But they were funny-lookwas doing so with the PING ing, and he couldn’t get anybody to use it. He knew it was brand attached to the program – which led to more and more better, but he couldn’t get college programs reaching out anybody to use it because it to join the fledgling manufacwas ugly.” turer. After years of Solheim and “Golfers are like cattle, they his tour rep Gary Hart failed just kind of follow the cow in to make any headway on the front of them. There’s a lot of Tour – though Danny Edimitation,” Holder said. “If a wards, a former OSU golfer good player is using a good who had a younger brother club, or some of the better who also played for OSU at players are, a lot of people the time, was one of the few golfers on the PGA Tour in the equate it to, ‘Well, I’ll play as mid-70s that was using PING good as that player if I use the same equipment, or where the equipment – they took a step same clothes.’” back and re-evaluated their With the connection in place, approach. it still took some time – and Instead of trying to break convincing – before Solheim, into the Tour where golfers already had established clubs, who also helped build the ASU Karsten Golf Course in they instead looked to the college level to try to get their Tempe, Arizona, that opened irons into the hands of impres- in 1989 (five years before the course in Stillwater). Holder sionable young golfers who even enlisted the help of Hart would eventually break into to help present the idea of the professional tour. building the course for OklaSo they looked to the best homa State. college golf program at the “After three or four years time to try to get their foot in

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While the result of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship wasn’t a favorable one for Oklahoma State, it wasn’t an entirely bad experience for former assistant now coach Alan Bratton. The 2011 championship was the last time OSU hosted the event before this year’s championship. Karsten Creek Golf Club, the Cowboys’ home course, was the site of the championship. For Bratton, OSU


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018

OSU’s Bratton recalls 2011 championship at Karsten Creek men’s golf coach who was an assistant in 2011, and the Cowboys, the finish of the event wasn’t the one they wanted, as they were bounced out by eventual national champion Augusta State in the match play semifinals. The Cowboys were aiming for a national championship on their home course, but fell just short, losing to the 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed and Augusta State. “We had a chance to win that, but fell short,” Bratton said during a press confer-

ence at Karsten Creek leading up to this year’s championship which will host the women’s event before the men’s championship begins. “I think the world’s gotten to see the player that Patrick Reed is. He put it on us that day. It was still a very good experience from our end, but what I remember is the crowds. I hope we can deliver on that again.” In 2011, the Cowboys battled through stroke play and finished tied for third with Illinois behind UCLA and Georgia Tech. Bratton

recalled the Cowboys needed an impressive round on the final day of stroke play to improve their seeding. “I remember the final round – the third round – we finally had some wind,” Bratton said. “That year there were only three rounds of stroke play. I can’t remember what place we were in, but the pressure was on us going into that final round. We were down in fourth, fifth or sixth, and I think we shot the

News Press file photo

Alan Bratton, left, was an assistant coach for the Oklahoma State men’s golf program when Karsten Creek last hosted the NCAA Division I Men’s National Championships in 2011. He is now the program’s head coach and looking to guide the Cowboys to the program’s first championship since 2006 with the See 2011, Page 19 tournament returning to OSU’s home course.

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Bratton Continued from Page 18

Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018


lowest round of the day that year when the wind blew. Our guys were under the gun and they stepped up and played well.” The Cowboys earned the No. 3 seed in match play and defeated No. 6 seed Ohio State, 3-1, in the opening round of the match play bracket. Current assistant coach Donnie Darr was the Ohio State coach in 2011. He was an assistant coach in Stillwater from 2006-09 before taking the job at Ohio State, only to eventually return to OSU for the 2015-16 campaign. In the semifinals, Augusta State beat OSU 3-2 while News Press file photo Georgia defeated Duke by Kevin Tway, now on the PGA Tour, tees off during the 2011 NCAA Men’s National Champion- the same score, setting up an all-Georgia final. Reed and ship at Karsten Creek.

Augusta State won the championship 3-2, winning their second-straight NCAA title. The end result wasn’t what the Cowboys wanted, but plenty of memories were made. One of the biggest memories was the size of the crowds, especially during the match play rounds. “Performing in front of a crowd – it’s rare we get to do that,” Bratton said. “Even when people do come out to golf tournaments, you’re usually spread out all over the place. Match play consolidates the crowd that you have. We drew some people. That will be the real home course advantage for us is if our fans turn out.” Bratton even recalled a specific moment during the tournament where he was concerned the crowd noise might affect one of the Cowboy golfers. “In 2011, I remember the

See 2011, Page 20

2011 Continued from Page 19 crowds,” Bratton said. “I was on the 17th tee with Kevin Tway and I had an experience I’d never had in college golf for sure, or probably anywhere. I looked across the way and saw Sean (Einhaus) was about to putt and Kevin was getting ready to tee off, and I thought about stopping him, backing him off because I knew if that putt went in, it was going to be loud, and he was I think one down in his match. I didn’t want that to affect him. I ended up keeping my mouth shut and he got that tee ball off just before that roar. That’s the things I look forward to.” Tway was one of sev-

eral OSU golfers from the 2011 squad to later play professionally. The others included Peter Uihlein, Talor Gooch and Morgan Hoffmann. Another member of the team, Brandon Weeden, later played in the NFL. The Cowboys’ instate rivals, Oklahoma, also participated in the 2011 championship at Karsten Creek. The Sooners finished 28th out of 30 teams in stroke play. OU coach Ryan Hybl, who took over the program in 2009, admitted his team might not have been ready to compete at that level in 2011.

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“That was my first time with a team that had made it to a championship,” Hybl said. “We probably weren’t ready to be here at that point. We overachieved a bit at regionals to make it through. It was a great experience, because it helped build what we’ve created now, but it wasn’t a great experience for those guys personally. It was a rough week.” Hybl’s Sooners are the defending national champions. He expects a much better showing at Karsten Creek this year.

News Press file photo

Morgan Hoffmann, now on the PGA Tour, was a member of the 2011 Oklahoma State golf team that lost to Augusta State in the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Men’s National Championship at Karsten Creek.


Stillwater NewsPress • Wednesday, May 16, 2018


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