No matter the season or temperature, the greens at Southern Hills Country Club stay vibrant because of what is underneath.
The course is able to keep the underground temperature consistent year-round thanks to a unique system developed by a local company.
In 2019, crews installed special pipes that have either hot or cold water coming in and out, depending on what is needed to keep the greens between 55 and 65 degrees.
“The root system is much better in those golf courses that have that temperature range so the grass can live longer, it’s greener, it’s a better putting surface for the golfers,” explained Jay Kindle, vice president of RAE Corporation, the company in Pryor that developed this system.
Kindle said the multi-million-dollar project includes four air-to-water heat pumps that use electricity to maintain the ideal temperatures for the pipes throughout Southern Hills.
“The equipment is really well hidden,” said Kindle. “It’s painted green, and the fans are really quiet, so it’s hard to even tell that it’s out here unless you know where it’s at.”
While most people cannot see the system, the world can appreciate how it works: From everyday golfers to pros at the 2021 Senior PGA and the 2022 PGA Championship.
“We build a lot of equipment for a lot of companies all over the world,” said Kindle. “So, to see something like that here in Tulsa and for some of our employees to get here and kind of enjoy it, and get to see things like this, it’s very exciting for RAE Corporation.”
Kindle said golf courses in Texas and Atlanta have asked about installing the same system after hearing about the success at Southern Hills.
RAE Corporation is a family-owned company with 400 employees.
Kindle said the company is looking to hire more people to keep up with the demand of projects like the one at Southern Hills.
Southern Hills said the system is a great investment that ends up saving time and money.