National magazine still slapping Texas

By David R. Holland, Contributor

September is an almost heavenly time in the Lone Star State -- the Texas Open, Big 12 football, tail-gate barbeque, bird hunting, and birdie hunting -- cooling temperatures can draw just as many to the golf courses.

But the newly released Top 100 You Can Play List by Golf Magazine tells us the magazine continues to give golf in Texas no respect. The only courses listed are Barton Creek Fazio Canyons at No. 58 and Barton Creek Fazio Foothills at No. 62. And on its "Thrifty 50" list only Texarkana Golf Ranch at No. 14 and Texas Tech's new gem, The Rawls Course, at No. 23, are honored.

At the same time two of Texas' neighbors are gaining. New Mexico, headed by Paa-Ko Ridge at No. 43, held its position and Black Mesa Golf Club is a newcomer at No. 47. Long-time favorite PiƱon Hills makes the list at No. 57. Not one course ahead of Paa-Ko Ridge on the list has more affordable green fees.

Also, neighbors of New Mexico -- Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas -- have only four courses that are ranked higher than the New Mexico courses. Green fees at those courses range from $180-275 compared to New Mexico's range of $48-79 for prime time fees with cart.

Hum, even Colorado, pretty much ignored in the 2002 list, climbed back to respectability with the addition of Red Sky Golf Club's Norman (No. 25) and Fazio (No. 90) layouts to the list. Colorado also has The Ridge at Castle Pines North in Castle Rock at No. 74 (down from No. 49), the new Iron Bridge Golf Club in Glenwood Springs at No. 63, and The Broadmoor East at No. 94.

And speaking of Paa-Ko Ridge, its third nine, just west of the driving range, is scheduled to open next spring with three par 3's, three par 4's, and three par 5's.

The Valero Texas Open

The Valero Texas Open is Sept. 13-19 at the Resort Course at La Cantera with Tommy Armour III returning as defending champ. Since the event is staged the same weekend as the Ryder Cup, some top players who didn't make the cut, will be in San Antonio including Tom Lehman, Jerry Kelly and Steve Flesch.

The tournament already had commitments from Ryder Cup veterans Justin Leonard, a two-time Texas Open champ, and Jose Maria Olazabal. There is no admission fee for those under 17 and general admission is $17 for adults. Tickets are available for $10 through the Save Our Schools program, which was initiated by Golf San Antonio. All the proceeds remain with the participating schools and programs. A list of the participating organizations is available at

Demaret profiled in new book

Few youngsters know that the first golfer to win three Masters titles was a Texan. No, not Byron Nelson, it was Houston's Jimmy Demaret. In John Companiotte "The Swing's the Thing", you will learn much more about this highly respected tour pro, who also won 31 PGA Tour events and had the admiration of all who met him.

Not only was Demaret widely loved and a great story teller, he also teamed with life-long buddy Jack Burke Jr., to open Champions Golf Club in Houston.

Demaret also served as a host and played in Shell's Wonderful World of Golf and the older All-Star Golf. An energetic character, Demaret was known for his flashy dress and celebrity friends. This book includes photos of Demaret and his buddies Ben Hogan, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope, as well as candid photos from throughout his career.

Did you know?

Todd Hamilton isn't a native Texan, but he plays out of Vaquero in Westlake, north of Dallas. Bet the Claret Jug has been seen here, where Justin Leonard and Harrison Frazar also are members.

Shawn Humphries, formerly with The Four Seasons Resort and Club's Byron Nelson Golf School, is now the director of instruction at Grapevine's Cowboys Golf Club. And one of his high-profile students is former Cowboys' quarterback Troy Aikman, who has reduced his handicap to a single digit.

The Tournament Players Club at Craig Ranch in McKinney has opened its $30 million private golf facility designed by Tom Weiskopf. It covers 233 acres and is the first and only PGA Tour-owned and operated TPC in the state. The par-72 layout stretches out to 7,450 yards and is the centerpiece of a 1,850-acre development that includes a self-sustaining community.

Corpus Christi golf plans

A Corpus Christi non-profit corporation wants to buy approximately 1,600 acres along Oso Creek, just outside the city limits, to build a regional park that could open in about five years and would include an 18-hole golf course.

The Coastal Bend Regional Park Foundation, founded in 1994, has dreams of an expansive park that would including a zoological area and an equestrian center.

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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