Evergreen Point Golf Course in Baytown, Texas: An enjoyable golf battleground
BAYTOWN, Texas -- You might argue that Sam Houston, just a few minutes away, had a little tougher test a couple of hundred years ago or so than the golfers do at Evergreen Point Golf Course.
But then again, Sam Houston's battle lasted just 18 minutes. His Texas army killed 630 Mexican soldiers and captured another 730, while only nine Texans died.
That kind of success is certainly possible at Evergreen Point, but play the back tees, and that's probably not going to be the case on this 1995 layout designed by the late Jay Riviere and Dave Marr.
The reason? There's water on 13 holes, including the last seven. Add in a little few mature trees and a loose shot or two, and, well, you get the picture.
Still you can't help but have an appreciation for the surroundings. Getting to Evergreen Point in most cases, especially from nearby Houston, requires passing hundreds of oil refineries, which lends an appreciation to the type of golfer who plays here. But just minutes away is the San Jacinto Monument, erected at the site where Houston led his troops against General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's Mexican army to gain independence.
That was 1836. Not too long after, Dr. Ashbel Smith, who was the surgeon general of the Texas Army and friend of Houston's, came to own the 1,000-acre Evergreen Plantation, becoming the largest land owner in Texas at the time.
Fast forward to the mid-1990s. That's when Tim Hazelwood and his family obtained 250 acres from the Ashbel Smith Foundation to build a golf course at Evergreen Point in memory of their mother, Betty Hazelwood. It immediately gave east Houston and the Baytown community a much needed affordable public golf facility.
Today, the course is a favorite spot for tournaments and outings, including Houston City Amateur qualifiers and other amateur events.
Navigating around the water at Evergreen Point
Even if you play it from the back tees at 6,969, Evergreen Point isn't overwhelmingly difficult. With a rating/slope of 73.4/138, it's more than fair, and you can certainly miss shots in the right places.
Move up a set, as the Tee It Forward campaign suggests, and you've got a chance to score as the rating goes down to 70.2 at just less than 6,400 yards. (There are four sets of tees, playing as short as 5,298 yards.)
Ironically, the toughest hole on the course isn't one of the water holes. It's no. 3, which plays 469 yards from the back and 419 yards from the white tees. More than length, what makes it tough are the mature oaks, pines and magnolias that guard the fairway and the length of the hole. A couple of large bunkers also front the green.
By the time you get to four, though, you have to worry about the water as it comes into play on the next five holes.
When you get to the par-5 10th (the par 5s are generally reachable in two by better players but do come with significant risk), you have to keep your tee shot right or you can find a lake in the corner of this dogleg right.
Twelve is arguably the course's signature hole. The approach plays over a pond that fronts the green. There's also water to the right of the green and a scenic cart bridge to the left.
The no. 2-handicap hole at Evergreen Point is the 422-yard, par-4 18th. You can't see the green from the tee, and the approach plays over yet another pond with water and a fountain also right of the hole.
Evergreen Point Golf Course: The verdict
Evergreen Point Golf Course is basically an everyman's golf course. Conditions are always pretty good; it drains pretty well, especially considering the lack of altitude, and staff and owners are welcoming.
Inside the facility's large clubhouse is a well stocked golf shop, plenty of big screens for sports, and good variety of snacks and golf-course food.
The facility also has excellent practice facilities with a full grass range, short-game area and putting green. Lessons are available.
So if you're looking for a fair test at a fair price, you can't go wrong at Evergreen Point G.C.
September 24, 2013