Cherokee Hills is one of the many Perry Maxwell-designed golfing gems of the Great Plains. Maxwell, golf’s low-profile, banker-turned-course-architect, is the designer who gave us Tulsa’s Southern Hills, the rugged Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kansas, and approximately seventy other exemplary courses built primarily in the southcentral U.S. between 1920 and 1950.
Maxwell was generations ahead of his time, architecting courses designed with the property’s native vegetation and natural landscape in mind. He showcased rills, brooks, rock outcroppings and the terrains’ natural elevations, minimizing the need to move excessive amounts of earth during construction, maximizing inherent drainage patterns and in general, creating courses that evolved out of the landscape rather than in spite of it. Drawing on his own Scottish heritage and his love of links-style golf, Maxwell created inland courses with a nod to elements of Scottish links design.
John Carothers has logged fifteen years as the superintendent at Cherokee Hills, seven more in various roles at Southern Hills, and four years as a crew member at Cushing Country Club, now known as Buffalo Rock Golf & Gun. The fact that each of these courses is a Perry Maxwell design underscores the scope of Maxwell’s vast influence on Oklahoma golf. It also explains, in part, why John, who understands and appreciates Maxwell’s approach, is so especially well-suited for his role at Cherokee Hills.