Projects keep coming in the Lone Star State

By David R. Holland, Senior Writer

Twin Creeks Country Club

Despite an economy that continues to fluctuate, new golf courses and proposed projects are still making news in the Lone Star State. Here's a look at some of the newer dreams completed and others on the drawing board:

Twin Creeks Country Club in Cedar Park

Twin Creeks Country Club, just outside bustling Austin, is a new private club that opened in November. Designer Lee Schmidt says of this Fred Couples Signature Course is like playing a layout that was carved out of nature. Fairways meander through low-lying ravines, present long views of unspoiled Texas Hill Country with rocky outcroppings and two creeks. "We set out to create an exceptional golf experience for every level of player, with a delicate balance of challenge and fun created by the positioning of the holes in their natural scenic settings," said Schmidt.

This par 72, will include 500 equity and invitational memberships with no daily-fee options. It rolls to 7,000 yards on 195 acres with 419 Bermuda grass fairways and rough, Tiff Eagle greens, 13 of 18 holes with natural creek features and 100-year-old pecan and oak trees. Twenty-two bridges cross the meandering twin creeks.

Twin Creeks is close to shopping, and the cultural and entertainment options of Austin -- the "Live Music Capital of the World." The school children living here will attend the Leander Independent School District.

Bentwater on Lake Conroe

Construction is set to begin in June on Grand Pines Golf Club, a new private golf course in the gated community of Bentwater on Lake Conroe. It will be the third golf course in the master-planned neighborhood. The golf course will span 182 acres of land that meets the 160,000-acre Sam Houston National Forest and will feature the area's natural beauty on all holes.

Grand Pines Golf Club Golf will be the center point of this development designed by Houston's Jeffrey D. Blume & Associates. Blume tutored under Jeff Brauer of Arlington, designer of award-winners in Texas and The Quarry at Giants Ridge in Minnesota. Blume also worked for Robert von Hagge of Houston. Some of the projects he's worked on include the Springhouse Golf Course at Opryland in Nashville, Tenn.; The Links at Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso, New Mexico; Sugar Land's Sweetwater Country Club; and the Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course in Fredricksburg.

Grand Pines will feature large greens and more than 65 sand bunkers on rolling land. It is located off FM 1097, and could open as early as October 2005. Bentwater already includes courses by Tom Weiskopf and Scott Miller and will include about 3,300 home sites. Call (866) 866-8613 for more information or log on to Bentwater.com.

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center on Lake Grapevine

Cowboys Golf Club Originally named Opryland Texas, the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center on Lake Grapevine, has opened creating a ritzy, superb place for travel golfers to stay while playing golf at nearby Cowboys Golf Club.

Not far from Grapevine Mills Mall, the $515-million dollar project is big as the Texas legends it was built to resemble. Theres the nine-story oil derrick; a grotto-styled outdoor pool and 20-meter indoor lap pool; a huge Lone Star designed into the atrium glass; and marina access for boating and fishing.

It took nearly four years to build and has impressive credentials -- its the third resort of its kind sharing a kinship to Gaylord Opryland Nashville and Gaylord Palms near Orlando.

The resort features 1,511 rooms, 141 suites, six lounges, five restaurants, shops, a spa and fitness center, and a variety of entertainment venues. Architecture mirrors Lone Star and Hill Country styles and features a 5,000-pound bronze sculpture of a stallion, two mares and a colt, named "Racing the Wind." Dining? Try the Old Hickory Steakhouse, contemporary Ama Lur, Nuevo Latino and The Riverwalk Cafi.

The edifice to celebrate Texas is located at 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, TX 76051. For more information, visit www.gaylordtexan.com or ww.gaylordentertainment.com.

Justin Leonard, Tripp Davis in Colorado?

Grand Elk Golf Club OK, Justin Leonard fans, did you know the former University of Texas star may be taking on his first golf-course-design challenge with Tripp Davis? If all the business stuff can be agreed on Leonard's entry into the field will be in beautiful Grand County Colorado, near Winter Park, where a lifestyle community is being planned that would put fishing first and golf second.

Orvis Shorefox will include fishing on 2 ΒΌ miles of Colorado River fishing on part of the historic Horn Ranch. Other amenities include fly fishing, sporting clay and wing-bird shooting, a hotel, conference center and spa, 50,000-square foot of commercial space, an Orvis West retail outlet and fly-fishing museum.

Tiger musings

The Tribute Golf Club Loved reports about the discussion of a few golf writers recently talking about Tiger Woods' inability to win a major. "What do you mean he hasn't won a major," one writer quipped. "Have you seen his fiancee?"

The folks at the Byron Nelson Championship were thrilled to have Woods at this year's tournament, but things were a little darker in Fort Worth where he skipped the Colonial for the seventh straight year. A Star-Telegram report quoted Tiger as saying the course no longer fits today's game. He said it was 225 yards and then a dogleg and that he hits two drivers all day -- both on the par 5s -- then he's hitting a 2-iron or 3-wood on the rest of the holes.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Senior Writer

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 at @David_R_Holland.


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