Traffic increases at Cherokee Hills Golf Club | Sports
CATOOSA — With the PGA Championship in Tulsa May 19-22 at Southern Hills Country Club and global warming, golfers are back on the links in effect.
That’s good news for the staff at the Cherokee Hills Golf Club at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, and it seems the proximity to a major golf course is reminding many locals to plan tee times.
“There has been a tremendous increase in interest and tee time bookings,” said Matt Harris, director of golf operations for Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “On an average week in May, we get maybe two and a half times the usual business.”
Additional business is welcome, but emphasizes the course. Harris said the team and grounds staff – whom he called the best he has ever seen – work hard to keep the greens, boxes and fairways in top condition.
“It’s nothing we can’t handle, and it’s not something we haven’t seen before,” Harris said. “But it will keep us very busy.”
More tee times are being booked around PGA majors, Harris said, citing increased traffic when the Masters was played in April. For many who frequent the links, the Masters is the start of the “golf season”.
“They are interested in playing, coming out of winter,” he said. “With the PGA (Championship) coming right after the Masters, interest remains high. People want to get out and play, and they know that Cherokee Hills is one of the top 5 golf courses in the state. everyone wants to come here and play, and be there with Hard Rock – so they can go next door and enjoy that entertainment as well while they’re here.
The Cherokee Hills course was built in 1924, designed by architect Perry Maxwell. Operation of the course was taken over by CN in 2002 and a renovation was undertaken in 2003. The course reopened in 2004 as Cherokee Hills Golf Club.
“Since then, we’ve been consistently ranked as one of Oklahoma’s top courses by Golf magazine – one of the top 5 public-access courses in the state,” Harris said. “We’ve been ranked in the top 50 in the nation for casino courses a few times by Golf Week, and Tulsa World has rated us ‘Best in the World.’
One of the reasons for the accolades is the challenge the course presents. Stray shots can land in one of the many sand bunkers protecting the greens and inside the doglegs there are water hazards in ponds and streams, and it’s unclear where the ball will go if it descends into the rocky outcrops of some of the holes.
“When people come to play at Cherokee Hills, they usually leave with a big, distinct memory on their minds,” Harris said. “It’s our hole, no. 6. It’s a par-5 that reads short on the scorecard, and it plays very long uphill. Keeping the green in front is a natural rock outcrop. Once past the rocks, the green is still not a walk in the park. People can shoot a 3 or a 13 there, and they always remember that. It’s our claim to fame and our Achilles’ heel at the same time.
Those interested in setting a tee time should call first for information and expect to plan ahead. Harris said there was no wiggle room in the schedule and the best near-term chance might be to get a cancellation. The pro shop can be reached at 918-384-7600 or [email protected]
“We’re full from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day,” Harris said. “He’s not stopping right now. We have been fully booked for two weeks now.