EDMOND — Oak Tree National isn't the same course as 1988, when it was known as Oak Tree Golf Club and Jeff Sluman won the PGA Championship there. The course has even changed since Jay Haas won the 2006 Senior PGA Championship.
Pete Dye was brought back in 2009 to put his stamp of approval on subtle changes to the 7,410-yard layout that opened in 1976.
During a 10-month renovation, 22 bunkers were added four years ago. Eight greens on the back nine were reshaped. Tee boxes were laser leveled.
New fairways, irrigation, tees, bunkers and practice facilities were added. The goal was to return parts of the par-71 course to its original look.
“I don't know where they'll put the tees,” said Oak Tree PGA Tour pro Scott Verplank. “Parts of the course is longer now. Unfortunately it has to be because of the new equipment.”
With a 155 slope, the maximum score, Oak Tree National tests golfers with sand, water, trees, length, thick roughs and challenging contoured greens.
Oak Tree places a premium on hitting greens in regulation. Shots barely off target can find water hazards or deep bunkers.
“As far as the greens, and shots from the fairways, it's still very similar,” Verplank said. “That added a couple of tweaks to the course that didn't work out over the years. It came out pretty good. I don't think it will play significantly different for those guys that have played here. I think they'll like it better.”
Greens were reshaped to match the original design on holes 8, 13 and 18.
No. 8 once again is guarded by a beach bunker. The No. 13 green was reduced in size to live up to its original name: “postage stamp.” No. 18 was converted back to its original shape and size.
Railroad ties have been replaced by native stones. Native grass was added.
“It's added to the aesthetics of the club,” said E.J. Pfister, Oak Tree's director of instruction. “It's more native to Oklahoma than manufactured. It's a great golf course. The changes they've made have been fantastic, putting a premium on irons because greens are elevated a little bit.”