EDMOND, OKLAHOMA — His footsteps fall on a blend of SR1020 and SR1119, so soft you want to take your shoes off.
But Josh Cook insists that’s not necessary.
As Oak Tree National superintendent he starts his day on the practice putting green to get a feel for this famous golf course.
He kneels down to touch the short grass on the putting surface and says, “The better density we have and the more upright growth, the truer the ball roll is.”
He studied turf grass science at Penn State University and got a masters in agronomy just to be sure.
He bounced around the country at a few different courses, then came to Edmond in January, 2012 just in time for a record drought.
2014 has a been a different story though.
This year yielded the best possible weather for tending golf courses.
“The timing has just been tremendous,” he says.
“Yeah,” agrees a visitor. “In July you’re rolling the dice. It could be 105 degrees and windy.”
“For sure,” replies Cook. “We had more than double the usual amount of rain in June.”
He takes care of trees like the Oak for which this course is named.
He directs fairway mowers and green brushers.
His golf course is looking good for a big tournament, but he’s been here long enough to know that just about anything can blow through.
Cook says, “You have to accept that the weather is going to be volatile and you’re never in control as much as you’d like to be, and you have to figure out ways to be okay with that.”
A dry winter sent grass roots deep.
A wet June greened up the fairways.
This morning’s rounds finish with a long drive up to the 18th green.
Of all the seasons, of all the years to hold a big golf tournament, Mother Nature gave Josh Cook a gift for this one.
His intimate relationship with Oak Tree National is closer than it’s ever been.
A soaking rain early Wednesday morning became the ‘hook’ Josh Cook didn’t expect.
Moisture softens the greens and fairways.
That usually means the course yields lower scores for golfers.