It will still be called Glaze Meadow. But other than in name, the second 18-hole golf course at Black Butte Ranch will be almost entirely new.
Shut down in fall 2010, Glaze Meadow will reopen soon, and golfers will finally get their first look this season at the 32-year-old golf course since it has been resculpted by noted golf architect John Fought.
On May 25, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Black Butte Ranch will unveil the front nine of Glaze Meadow. And on June 30, all 18 holes will open to the public.
For those who have spent much of the past two years making Glaze Meadow new again, Memorial Day cannot come soon enough.
“That is going to be the fun part, to see people finish (playing) the golf course and see how they feel about it,” says Jeff Fought, the director of golf at Black Butte Ranch and the brother of John Fought. “It's nerve-racking for me.”
Glaze Meadow will open as Central Oregon's first high-profile golf course debut — redesign or otherwise — since Bend's Tetherow Golf Club opened in 2008.
As new as Glaze Meadow will be, it has actually taken on a classical design.
The new version of Glaze Meadow will hearken back to the Donald Ross era of golf course design of the 1920s and '30s: including rectangular tee boxes, turtleback greens and grass-faced bunkers. Even the golf shop has been redesigned in a 1920s theme, Jeff Fought says.
“I think people are going to be impressed with the old style that we've produced,” the architect adds.
Glaze Meadow was originally designed by Gene “Bunny” Mason, an influential golf professional who spent much of the 1970s and '80s as Black Butte's director of golf.
But by the mid-2000s the course's irrigation system had become antiquated, and Mason's original design had become overgrown with trees.
Many of those problems have been solved with the renovation, John Fought says.
Most of the routing of the original design has been retained, but at 7,007 yards the new Glaze Meadow is more than 400 yards longer. The fairways will also be more generous than before.
“I'm looking forward to getting it open because I'm very confident that the golf course has been improved quantum over what it was,” says John Fought, a native Oregonian who renovated Sunriver Resort's Meadows course in the late 1990s and co-designed Sunriver's Crosswater Club. “There were so many things — from infrastructure, to the trees being completely overgrown on so many holes — affecting the condition of the golf course and the strategic elements.
“I think people are really going to enjoy it.”
The renovation has already been recognized by the national golf media: Golf Digest has nominated Glaze Meadow as one of the country's best new courses of 2012.
Those accolades are important, John Fought says. But more important will be how average golfers view the design when the new Glaze Meadow opens.
“We certainly didn't try to make the golf course super hard, although I am sure there will be people who think it's a lot more difficult (than the original design),” says John Fought, a former PGA Tour player who won the 1977 U.S. Amateur at Ross-designed Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia.
“Now you have to kind of think your way around the golf course, and there is plenty of room to play,” Fought adds. “It's very strategic, and I think it definitely has a mature, beautiful look to it.”
Fought says he is particularly eager to hear feedback about Glaze Meadow's opening three holes (the par-4 first hole was a par 5 and the former par-4 second is now a par 5) and the par-4 16th hole, all of which have been changed dramatically.
“I'm really, really excited about how much better some of the holes are,” says Fought. “They're just so different and better. It really is basically a new golf course.”
How golfers will react to those changes is still unanswered, too.
“You create something and just kind of hold your breath to get everybody out there to enjoy it the way you think everybody is going to enjoy it,” says Jeff Fought.
Most of the construction is complete, but John Fought does expect some tweaks before the formal grand opening in June.
Once all of that is done, where does he expect Glaze Meadow will fit in the Central Oregon golf landscape?
“It's good enough to be right up there with any of the golf courses (in Central Oregon),” Fought says. “I think this has made HUGE strides. I really do.
“I think the members and home- owners are going to love what they have there, and I think they are going to enjoy it a great deal for many, many years to come.”