U.S. Senior Open: Oak Tree National gets some help from Mother Nature

Steve Kimmel, Oak Tree National’s Director of Golf, said the Pete Dye-designed 7,219-yard, par-71 layout is in pristine condition, a stark contrast to the recent U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., when Martin Kaymer romped to an eight-shot win.
by Michael Baldwin Published: July 2, 2014

— Mother Nature was cooperative to Oak Tree National weeks leading up to the 2014 U.S. Senior Open.

Steve Kimmel, Oak Tree National’s Director of Golf, said the Pete Dye-designed 7,219-yard, par-71 layout is in pristine condition, a stark contrast to the recent U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., when Martin Kaymer romped to an eight-shot win.

“After watching the U.S. Open where it was brown and those wild-grass areas were all dead, this is going to be a really lush golf course,” Kimmel said. “We’ve probably had 12 to 15 inches of rain the past two months. We had rains early in the morning and rains at night.

“The weather has been unbelievably good to us. Everybody that has come through has said, ‘Wow,’ after playing the course. They rave about how good of shape the course is in.”

Superintendent Josh Cook was hired in January 2012 shortly after Oak Tree was awarded the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, which runs July 10-13.

Golf superintendents juggle several variables, the most important being weather.

“We were fortunate from the start to have a really dry spring, which helped us get our greens healthy, growing deep roots,” Cook said. “By the time our greens got their legs under them, we started getting some rain and some good night temperatures where the fairways came on strong.

“We’ve been really fortunate. Our maintenance team is really pleased with where we’re at.”

Longtime members said the only time the course has looked better was when they over-seeded Oak Tree months before the 2007 Senior PGA Championship.

Veteran PGA Tour pro Bob Tway has been with Oak Tree almost from the beginning.


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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