The Ambush at Lajitas Newest Lone Star Golf Hideaway

By David R. Holland, Contributor

LAJITAS, TX - Just when you thought America's golf course boom would never include the far West Texas boondocks of the Big Bend Country and the dusty, hideaway territory of legendary bandito Pancho Villa, here comes Austin architects Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell, with The Ambush at Lajitas.

Scheduled to open this spring along the banks of the Rio Grande, the course is located within 22,000 acres of Chihuahua Desert, in the foothills of the Chisos Mountains. The Ambush will play to 7,103 yards from the back tees and features four holes on an island in the Rio Grande.

The Lajitas Resort and Golf Club, a planned resort community described by owner-developer Steve Smith as "The Ultimate Hideout" for its remoteness and "rugged luxury."

"We designed this course for the holes to slowly build in drama and intensity and reach a crescendo at the end," says Bechtol, adding that the course is heavily contoured to reflect the area's mountainous ridges (nearby peaks climb 8,000 feet above sea level). "The Ambush will be an oasis of green in a sea of desert, with mountains beyond," he says. "Golfers are going to get distracted by the sheer beauty of the landscape and we hope that they, like us, will be inspired by the setting."

The Ambush concludes with a 19th hole or 11A, an optional par 3 that plays across the border into Mexico.

Sad News

Houston's "Pro", Dick Forester, 87, passed away March 4 from a bacterial infection after surgery to repair a broken hip.

Forester saw many firsts in the history of golf in Houston. He played and worked with Jimmy Demaret and Jack Burke, Jr., who were co-founders of Champions Golf Club, site of the PGA Tour Championship.

Forester grew up with Demaret as a boy caddie in Houston and was a club pro for more than 50 years.

In 1944 he was named pro at River Oaks Country Club. He then ran Houston Country Club for more than 20 years before moving on to Bear Creek Golf World for the remainder of his career. Until his death he was pro emeritus at Cypresswood Golf Club.

Forester's sons Jack and Rick, were leaders in Houston golf starting in the 1970s. And their dad helped launch the Houston Golf Association. Rick designed Cypresswood Golf Club's Creek and Cypress layouts.

Work Begins on Twin Creeks

Work began in December 2001 on Fred Couples' Twin Creeks golf project in Cedar Park, north of Austin. The 18-hole, 7,021-yard layout will be part of a master-planned community.

The project also includes a driving range and practice facility. The course's builder, Weitz Golf International is a division of The Weitz Company, LLC, a respected construction company established in 1855. Weitz Golf is involved in both golf course and clubhouse construction. Weitz Golf International has offices in North Palm Beach, FL and Temecula, CA.

Brauer To Redesign Indian Creek

Jeff Brauer of Arlington, designer of Cowboys Golf Club (pictured), has been hired to redesign the Creek Course at Indian Creek Golf Course in Carrollton.

The City of Carrollton hired Brauer to remodel the Creek Course, but will leave its Lakes Course untouched.

Indian Creek is located on I-35 in one of the heavy growth areas of Dallas County, so Brauer predicts the new design will be popular and can be a staunch rival in this populated corridor.

Besides Cowboys Golf Club, which is ranked No. 10 in Texas by, Brauer's popular area courses include TangleRidge Golf Club, Trails of Frisco, Ridgeview Ranch and Whitestone.

Huntsville's Raven Nest

Tripp Davis, who brought you The Tribute at The Colony (pictured), has several on-going projects in Texas. Raven Nest Golf Course in Huntsville has begun construction on 183 acres west of I-45 and south of State Highway 30. This 7,010-yard design will serve as the home for the Sam Houston State men's and women's golf team.

"It is a very interesting site with rolling hills and clumps of mature pines," Davis said. "Having grown up in Georgia, I am excited to be working with pine trees! Our objective was to make this one of the best municipal golf courses in the country and I think we are well on the way towards that. We can't wait to see this one with grass on it."

Just 30 minutes away from Raven Nest, Davis has tweaked Waterwood National Golf Course at Lake Livingston, which was purchased by Jack Parker, owner of The Quarry in San Antonio and Tapatio Springs in Boerne. Waterwood has reopened with all new greens and other subtle changes to the Pete Dye design.

Davis has also completed design for the New Course at The Tribute. The initial course will be renamed the Old Course. Unlike the Scottish inspired Old Course at The Tribute, the New Course will be a more "Americanized" layout patterned after Davis' love of courses like Pine Valley and Prairie Dunes.

Fazio in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas

Tom Fazio has emerged on the Texas golf scene like a skyrocket. He designed the Fazio Canyons (pictured) and Foothills award-winners at Barton Creek Resort in Austin, ranked No. 1 and 2 by

Fazio's Stonebriar Resort opened with a Westin Hotel in Frisco a year ago. And now under construction is the Vaquero Club in Fort Worth and the private Dallas National Golf Club project.

Former British Open champion and University of Houston All-America Bill Rogers is one of the developers involved in the new Briggs Ranch Club, an 18-hole course Fazio course, that is 25 minutes from downtown San Antonio off U.S. 90.

Briggs Ranch, a private, golf-only project is the first private course to open in the San Antonio since the Dominion Country Club opened in 1985. Rogers left his post at the San Antonio Country Club for Briggs Ranch.

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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