Want to play a new golf course? Look for an old one
What’s new, it’s turning out, often used to be old. That’s the case with so many golf courses, like the one I played today – La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa, just north of Houston.
The course and resort, which sits on Lake Conroe, has gone through quite a metamorphosis over the past five years or so. The old Del Lago course, to be frank, just wasn’t worth playing. But it got an extreme makeover in 2007 by local architect Jeffrey D. Blume, who has been doing quite a bit of this kind of work in Texas in recent years. (The resort has undergone major changes, too.) And most recently, it received another boost with a new owner and some significant hires from The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course just south of here.
I won’t go far to say it’s the best public course in the Houston area, but it’s night and day from what it used to be.
Now, the course has terrific greens complexes, bunkering, visuals and is certainly challenging, especially if you decide to play it at 7,000 yards (It’s a par 71, so I advise against it). And they’re running a pretty good summer special right now – $49, including a cart.
Blume has some other projects in the works right now that seem pretty interesting. His company redid Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club near Dallas, and it will reopen soon. And they’ve done muni Lady Bird Johnson Course in historic Fredericksburg, Texas. Blume, when he used to work for Jeffrey Brauer in the late 80s, actually worked on the additional nine holes at Lady Bird in the late 80s.
“What you’re finding is that there’s no new course development going on, so all of these older facilities that have fallen on hard times are being bought for 20 cents on the dollar,” Blue said. “And then they’re spending money to redo them.”
The bottom line is that this is where golf course architecture work is today, so don’t be surprised to see a course you used to play get new life.
“There may be places you played 10 years ago that you thought you might never go back to,” Blume said. “But you might want to give them a shout now and see what they look like. You might be surprised.”
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