New Texas courses earn magazine awards

By David R. Holland, Contributor

LUBBOCK, Texas -- There are a lot of perplexed golfers around Texas right now scratching their heads. There are folks playing beautiful courses in the Hill Country thinking how could a golf course dug out in a flat cotton field be named one of Golf Magazine'sTop Ten New Courses?

Easy, it is a product of award-winning architect Tom Doak.

In 2003 there were about 270 new golf courses opened nationwide and four new courses in Texas won awards. The Rawls Course in Lubbock on the campus of Texas Tech, is a strategic gem. It was on Golf Magazine's Top Ten You Can Play new course list, along with neighbor Black Mesa Golf Club near Santa Fe, N.M.

Golf Digest liked three other Texas layouts. Texarkana Golf Ranch was selected No. 4 on the Best New Affordable List. It is a 7,329-yard, par 72 designed by Jim Fazio Jr. and Hank Haney.

Dallas National Golf Club, the 7,326-yard, par 72 designed by Tom Fazio, was selected No. 2 Best New Private Club in America and No. 4 was Spanish Oaks Golf Club in Bee Cave, just minutes from Austin. It was designed by Bobby Weed and measures 6,930 yards at par 71.

American Golf does it again

The golf-course management company American Golf Corporation is one of the most cussed and discussed in the industry today. Its latest casualty might just be Bryan Municipal Golf Course, a layout built in 1920 by Travis Bryan.

American Golf just informed the City of Bryan that it will not renew its lease in October after 20 years. The 80-acre course is located on Villa Maria Road in Bryan.

Naturally, the golfers of Bryan and The Bryan Business Council want to keep the doors open and most likely a new operator will be hired. There are even thoughts of building a new municipal golf course in the future replacing the old one.

Another scenario that has surfaced is that the golf course and area neighborhood is being tested for arsenic poisoning that allegedly could be coming from the nearby Elf Atochem agrichemical plant. Stay tuned.

Sandia Casino Golf in Albuquerque

The speculation has been there for years, but it appears the Sandia Casino in Albuquerque has finally started making positive steps toward a golf course.

Ted Robinson Jr. has been hired to design the golf course which will be located on the north side of town and east side of I-25 near the casino. The views will be spectacular with a backdrop of the Sandia Mountains to the east and the Rio Grande River valley to the west. Desert arroyos and drainages should be strategic in the layout.

Barton Creek to host tourneys

Three back-to-back Canadian Golf Tour events will be staged at Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin during February and March. The final stop of the Canadian Tour Winter Qualifying School (Q-School) takes place February 14-21, followed by The Austin Classic at Barton Creek tournament from February 23 - 29 at the resort's award-winning Fazio Foothills with The Austin Challenge at Barton Creek from March 1 - 7 on the Crenshaw Cliffside course. ranks Fazio Foohills No. 2 resort-public course in Texas with Fazio Canyons of Barton Creek No. 1.

Texas Tech Alumni Association offers 2004 golf discount book

The Texas Tech Alumni Association has put together an incredible state-wide discount golf book that includes courses from Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, the Hill Country and East Texas.

Highlights include two for one green fees at Tour 18 and Texas Star in the Metroplex. It also includes offers from Lantana Golf Club, Westridge Golf Course, Tangle Ridge, Chase Oaks, Grapevine, Tierra Verde, Sugar Tree and many others.

In San Antonio coupons include The Golf Club of Texas, Brackenridge, Mission del Lago and Riverside. For more information contact Jeff Haley at 214-630-1933 or

Von Hagge announces projects

The Houston-based design firm of Robert von Hagge, Smelek and Baril have announced several new projects. Atchafalaya Golf Course is their first Louisiana design, located in St. Mary Parish, a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It's being called the southern anchor of the Louisiana Audubon Trail. Opening is schedule for the spring of 2005.

Whiskey Springs Golf Club, an 800-acre master-planned golf community in Kerrville, part of the Hill Country, will begin construction this fall with opening set for fall of 2006. The firm has also announced it will design the new Henderson Municipal Golf Course in Henderson, Nevada, one of the fastest growing small cities in the USA. It will be located on an old landfill site. Construction isn't due to start until May of 2007.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Contributor

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

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