Out & About in Greater Tulsa By EMILY RAMSEY
BEAUTIFUL SETTING: Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st St., opened in Tulsa in 1936. The 27-hole golf course was named one of the top 100 courses in the U.S. and worldwide in 2016 by Golf Digest.
Courtesy Southern Hills
There are not many things in Tulsa more picturesque and memorable than driving into Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st St. The lush, rolling landscape, towering trees, and pristine beauty remain sketched in my brain long after I leave the grounds.
Beyond its visual appeal, Southern Hills offers history—it opened in 1936—and prestige. Golf Digest named it one of the top 100 golf courses in the U.S. and world in 2016.
And we have it in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Though I may never be a member of the club, I am grateful to the organizations who utilize the location for events, placing the stately property within the reach of some who would otherwise not ever have the opportunity to marvel at it.
I recently helped to organize the Association for Women in Communications’ 2017 Newsmakers Awards, which have been held annually at Southern Hills for many years. At that event, I heard my grateful sentiments echoed by many attendees.
I have no doubt that a similar giddiness was felt among many with the announcement of the Tournament’s future return to Southern Hills.
I remember my dad serving as a volunteer when the visited Southern Hills in 1994 and attending with him for one day of the tournament. Being quite young, I did not remotely understand the privilege of visiting Southern Hills nor being privy to a national tournament. I could only focus on the heat and my tired feet. I did, however, manage to snag autographs from Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson.
Maybe I will bump into one of them again at one of the upcoming tournaments to be held at Southern Hills—the 2021 KitchenAid Senior Championship and a future Championship, to be held no later than 2030.
While 2021 certainly feels like a ways off, I can’t help but remember when A Gathering Place for Tulsa was in its infancy in 2013 and how unpleasantly far away its opening day felt to me. Yet, now, it is only a year away.
The Gathering Place will, surely, do much for Tulsa’s economy as will these coming events. When the last visited Tulsa in 2007, it generated an estimated $70 million for the greater Tulsa area.
During a time when Oklahoma’s education system is in crisis mode, various businesses are vacating the state, and the oil and gas industry remains in a downturn, this brings some welcome news and the promise of future revenue to our region.
So, as I wait for these tournaments, I will remind myself that the anticipation is half the fun. Although, when it involves Southern Hills, I beg to differ.