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  • Landa Park Golf Course rides sport’s newest wave of growth.

    This course was doing well before COVID-19, making the most of a primelocation in one of the state’s fastest grow-ing cities and leveraging a stem-to-stern $7 million renovation completed in 2013 by the noted Houston-based golf architecture firm of Finger, Dye, Spann that turned a tired and dated facility into a vibrant and pertinent course that’s an asset to the New Braunfels golf community and the city as a whole. Quint Alexander, the course’s PGA head professional, leads a teamat Landa Park GC that is both golf savvy and customer centric. It helps that the people that playthe course under standswhat they have and make visitors feel welcome.“The most important thing we canoffer our players is the sense that they are our focus from the time they arrive to thetime they leave,” Alexander said. “Part ofthat is having our golf course in the best shape we can – and our staff has done a consistent job of keeping the course in great condition despite challenges of the weather and the day-to-day wear and tear any course endures from the amount of play we have.“The other part is listening to them as to how we can make things better and then acting – as much as we can – on those requests. We take great pride in the amount of regular golfers and return play we receive at Landa Park Golf Course and we don’t take that for granted.” Landa Park Golf Course has a unique routing near the banks of the Comal River, playing at 6,205 yards from its back tees and to a par of 71. The course will not beat up golfers who are just learning the game but there’s more than enough length and challenge to keep even the best players’ attention After a pair of short par 4s to start the round, Landa Park GC’s routing turns back into the wind for the par 5, 529-yard third. That hole begins perhaps the most challenging stretch at the track – it’s followed by the 571-yard par 5 fourth (which is the longest hole on the course), the 403-yard par 4 fifth that plays into the breeze, the 349-yard par 4 sixth with a tough putting surface that moves from front to back, and (on the other side of the street) the 196-yard par 3 seventh, the toughest one shotter at Landa Park GC.The front nine, which plays to a par of 37, ends with a short par 4 and then (back on the other side if the street) the reachable par 4 ninth. The back nine (which plays to a par of 34) starts off with a deceivingly tough uphill 157-yard par 3 on which a small lake must be traversed; it’s the first of three par 3s on the back. Scoring op-portunities are available on the short par 13th, the 312-yard par 414th (which is a severe right to left and well protected in its green surrounds), and the 345-yard par 4 16th. The hardest hole on the course awaits at the long (434-yard) par 4 17th, which is straight away but protected by a huge tree on the left of the landing zone and a demanding putting surface. You cross the street for a final time to reach the closing hole – a drivable downhill 315-yard par 4 whose back-right pin placement on a ridge is one of the toughest to get to at Landa Park GC. The greens at Landa Park Golf Course are well-guarded, with slope, undulation, tiers, ridges, and/or swales on just about every putting surface The course is scenic with trees and native areas and ponds plus the clear water of the Comal River, which comes into play on some holes. There are spots here where golfers can watch tubers riding the rap-ids; on the back nine, you’ll hear a lot of whooping and hollering at Schlitterbahn. Part of the experience at Landa Park Golf Course is the fauna (ducks, egrets, and more) and all of the deer grazing in the rough and in the shade. All those aspects have helped produced a membership of about 250 play-ers and a handful of leagues and options to get out and enjoy the game. The staff at Landa Park GC continue to add aesthetic additions and tweaks to the facility. There have been about 80 trees planted in over the past two years to better help to define the course’s fairways, especially on holes 11, 13, 14 and 17 where the corridors run parallel to each other. Creating that definition is also the purpose of the dry creek bed between the eighth tee box and 13th fairway. Alexander said the newest addition to facility will be a deck on the backside of the course’s clubhouse that will allow for open air celebra-tions and hearty recaps of rounds. Expect the deck to be completed by the Banquet Facility spring of 2025.

  • Texas Golf Hall of Fame Announces 2024 Class of Inductees

    There is a reason the Texas Golf Hall Of Fame flag flies so high, twenty five of its members are in the World Golf Hall Of Fame, the most of any state. Their members have won 83 major championships. From Ralph Guldahl’s 1937 Masters win to Angela Stanford’s 2018 Evian Championship, Texans have been making their mark on the game’s most important Championships. And the numbers, plus members, continue to grow with the 2024 class of inductees. The honorees will be celebrated during the formal induction ceremony,which will take place at the prestigious Houston Country Club, Houston, TX onMonday, October 21, 2024. This year’s class represents a remarkable group ofindividuals who have made significant contributions to the game of golf inTexas. Each inductee will be commemorated with a granite marker on the Texas Golf Walk of Fame at the historic Bracken-ridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio,Texas and at our newest Anchor Site at NTPGA The Ronny Golf Park in Frisco,Texas.“We are thrilled to welcome the 2024 class of inductees into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame,” said Board Chairman Reid Meyers. “These individuals have not only excelled in their respective categories buthave also significantly contributed to the legacy and growth of golf in Texas. We look forward to honoring their achievementsand celebrating their impact on the sport.”Alli Jarrett, Executive Director ofthe Texas Golf Hall of Fame, added,“This year’s inductees embody the spirit and excellence of Texas golf. Their dedication, talent, and contri-butions have left an indelible markon the sport, and we are honored torecognize their accomplishments. We eagerly anticipate celebrating their remarkable careers at the induction ceremony. About the Inductees: AMATEUR PLAYER Randy Sonnier Randy Sonnier, a native of The Woodlands, Texas, is an accredited pilot and amateur golfer. Throughout his career, he is a two-time Texas State Amateur Champion (1986, 1991), the Texas State Mid-Amateur Champion (1985), played on the World Amateur team (1984) and the Walker Cup Team (1985). In addition to his state and international accomplishments, Sonnier made multiple appearances at the Masters and U.S. Open from 1987 through 1994. Sonnier’s letter of recommendation was written by 1979 inductee Jack Burke, Jr. PROFESSIONAL PLAYERD.A. Weibring D.A. Weibring, a na-tive of Quincy, Illinois, and a resident of Texas for over 45 years, has an impressive resume of professional accomplish-ments and accolades.The Illinois State University graduate and member of the ISU Golf Hall of Fame has 10 combined victories on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions from 1979 through 2008. Weibring also founded the Byron Nelson Classic Junior Class and has been involved with it for the last 23 years.As the Founder of Golf Resources (Weibring Wolford Design), D.A. has designed/renovated, managed, or pro-vided agronomic consultation to 100+ courses in 25 states and four countries. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENTC. Malcolm Holland IIIC. Malcolm Holland III, a native of Dallas, Texas, is known for impacting the game of golf through personal service. He dedicated his time to improving the game at the national, state, and local levels. Holland’s talent is exemplified by innovating the competitive landscape of Junior golf, with a major impact made in efforts such as the College Golf Fellowship and the Legends Junior Tour. He’s given meaningful assistance to organizations dedicated to professionals, amateurs, and those just starting their journey. Holland was also the President of the Texas Golf Association and served on the USGA Executive Committee. Holland now serves as the Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Veritex Holdings, Inc and Veritex Commu-nity Bank since the originations began in 2009 and 2010 respectively. PROFESSIONAL SERVICE Mike Ray, PGA Mike Ray, born in Borger, Texas, has made significant contributions to golf, particularly through his roles as Director of Member-Section Operations for the PGA of America and as Executive Director of the Southern Texas PGA.During his tenure, he grew the STPGA’s budget from $100,000 to over $4 million, established STPGA Scholarships awarding over $1 million, and built one of the most ro-bust junior programs in the country. One of Ray’s biggest accomplish-ments was his work around the Texas Junior Golf Alliance. Ray’s idea was to create one membership for juniors to play either STPGA or NT-PGA Junior Golf and receive a free membership to the Legends Junior Tour. This model continues to thrive today, with close to 100 2-Day Cham-pionships for the best junior golfers in Texas. Additionally, Ray was instrumental in reconstituting the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and a proponent of bringing the PGA of America Headquarters to Texas. Known as the “Head Pro of the STPGA,” he has mentored countless professionals and junior golfers. His legacy is marked by his dedication to growing the game and supporting the golf community. REGISTRY OF HISTORIC COURSES Royal Oaks Country Club (Dallas) Royal Oaks Country Club, established in 1967 and managed by Todd Harbour, has a storied history beginning at Glen Lakes Country Club.The club has remained true to the original layout and designs of Don January, Billy Martindale, and J. Press Maxwell, who hailed from a prestigious lineage of course architects. Royal Oaks boasts a pedigree that includes influ-ences from Southern Hills and Augusta National. Despite initial design challenges, the course opened in 1969 and has continually evolved, with notable redesigns by D.A. Weibring and Chet Williams.The club underwent a significant renovation in 2023, updating irrigation and replanting fairways, greens, and roughs. Renowned for nurturing talent, Royal Oaks is home to top golfers like Scottie Scheffler, Justin Leonard and Ryan Palmer and has been shaped by Pro Emeritus Randy Smith’s 46-year legacy. Smith’s dedication has fostered countless junior golfers who have achieved collegiate and professional suc-cess. With its rich history, commitment to junior golf, and welcoming environ-ment, Royal Oaks remains a vibrant and beloved community.The induction ceremony is open to the public, and tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit 2024 Gathering of Eagles Info, Tickets & Sponsorships.The Texas Golf Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to honoring individuals and courses that have significantly impacted the game of golf in Texas.

  • The Long Game

    JAY HERNANDEZ, DENNIS QUAID, AND CHEECH MARIN STAR IN THE UPLIFTING SPORTS FILM, BASED ON THE TRUE STORY THAT HAS AUDIENCES CHEERING OWN OR RENT IT TOMORROW APRIL 30, 2024 THE ONLY WAY TO WATCH AT HOME WHILE STILL IN THEATERS ALSO AVAILABLE TO OWN ON DVD JUNE 11, 2024 Universal City, California, April 29, 2024 – Dare to dream! Earning an incredible 97% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the inspirational true story by Mucho Mas Media, THE LONG GAME, will be available exclusively on digital platforms to own or rent tomorrow, April 30, 2024, and available to own on DVD June 11, 2024 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Described as “uplifting and thoroughly engaging” (Variety), THE LONG GAME boasts an incredible cast including: Emmy Award® nominee Dennis Quaid (The Hill, A Dog’s Purpose), Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad), Cheech Marin (Champions), Jaina Lee Ortiz (“Station 19”), Brett Cullen (Joker) and Emmy Award® nominee Oscar Nuñez (The Proposal). The Long Game is a heart-felt and uplifting true story about five young Mexican-American caddies in 1957 who, barred from playing on the courses where they caddied, decided to build their own golf course in the South Texas desert with the help of their superintendent-turned-coach. Driven by their dedication and love of the sport, they would go on to shock the golf community by becoming Texas state champions. For more information on THE LONG GAME please visit: Website: https://www.thelonggame.movie/ Trailer: https://uni.pictures/TheLongGame_PremiumTrailer Facebook: /TheLongGameMovie |/UniversalPicturesAllAccess X: @LongGameMovie | @UniAllAccess Instagram: @TheLongGameMovie | @UniAllAccess #TheLongGame FILMMAKERS: Cast: Jay Hernandez, Julian Works, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Brett Cullen, Oscar Nuñez, Paulina Chávez, Gregory Diaz IV, José Julián with Cheech Marin and Dennis Quaid Casting By: Alan Luna, Natalie Ballesteros, Beth Blanks Music By: Hanan Townshend Costume Designers: Daniela Rivano and Akayla Nandi Edited By: James K. Crouch Production Designers: Carlos Osorio and John Parker Director Of Photography: Alex Quintana Co-Produced By: Joel M. Gonzales Executive Producers: Canelo Álvarez, Sherrese Clarke Soares, Alexis Garcia, Humberto G. Garcia, Christian Sosa, Simon Wise, Colleen Barshop, Vincent Cordero, Brian Eddy, Jeff Grossberg, Jack Shemtov, Ricky Joshi, Jeff Moseley, Julio M. Quintana, Michael E. Hollingsworth, Matthew Dwyer, David E. Campbell, Tim Mahler, Carter Pope, Jesse Mandujano, Jay Hernandez, Phillip Braun, and Jason Michael Gerber Produced By: Ben Howard, Dennis Quaid, Laura Quaid, Marla Quintana, and Jaiver Chapa, p.g.a Based on the Novel “Mustang Miracle” By: Humberto G. Garcia Screenplay By: Paco Farias & Jennifer C. Stetson and Julio Quintana Directed By: Julio Quintana TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD: Street Date: June 11, 2024 Selection Number: 191329263549 Layers: DVD 9 Aspect Ratio: 16:9 2.00:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Rating: PG for language, racial slurs, thematic material, some violence and brief rude material. Subtitles: English SDH, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish Languages/Sound: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) Run Time: 01:52:43 ABOUT UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE – www.uphe.com) is a unit of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG). UFEG produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and other distribution platforms, as well as consumer products, interactive gaming and live entertainment. The global division includes Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Brand Development, Fandango, DreamWorks Animation Film and Television.  UFEG is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.  NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. ABOUT MUCHO MAS MEDIA: Mucho Mas Media is a multimedia company that empowers and supports inclusive stories, filmmakers, and talent. Much Mas finds its stories and audience in the vast and colorful Latine communities in the US and abroad, bringing together our diverse but shared cultures through amazing storytelling in film and TV." CONTACT: Jason Geffen Head of Publicity, MAP360 Collective JGeffen@map360co.com

  • The Big Easy Ranch

    Best New Course to Top 10 in Texas From Best New Course to Top 10 in Texas, The Covey at Big Easy Shines in Statewide Poll COLUMBUS, Texas – Big Easy Ranch, the Covey Course, a Chet Williams designed golfing masterpiece in Southeast Texas, was recently named the Big New Golf Course in Texas in the prestigious Dallas Morning News annual statewide survey. It was also named the 10th best course in the state, the first new course to debut in the top ten statewide in more than a decade. “We are very appreciative of The Dallas Morning News naming The Covey at Big Easy Ranch the best new course in Texas as well as the 10th overall in our first year in operation. We will continue to strive to be the best in Texas,” said course owner Billy Brown The par 72 course opened in spring 2023 and has quickly draw wide acclaim for its scenic Texas landscape, natural ponds, streams and native trees along with its challenging adjacent Par 3 short course, The Antler. “The golf course property at The Covey is blessed with as many interesting natural features of any property I have ever worked on, and we have incorporated them all into the design of the course, said architect Chet Williams, who designed three of the top 10 courses in the Dallas Morning News annual survey. A two-story halfway house, Eagles Nest, complete with 10,000 square foot putting green, is scheduled to open this year on the course. There is also an extensive golf practice area at Big Easy with large practice range, practice greens and bunkers, putting green and a golf academy, led by Director of Golf Casey Russell. “The ridges and valleys with 90 degrees of elevation change, creeks, ponds, and specimen trees all contribute to making it a very special place.” Williams added Adjacent to the award-winning golf at the 2,000 acre facility is a large hunting area, luxury overnight cabins, and dining in the large clubhouse, truly making it a sporting club like no other “We especially want to thank Chet Williams for his incredible vision and talent and congratulate him on having 3 golf courses in the top 10 in Texas,” added Brown. For more information on Big Easy Ranch, contact Nicole Scarbrough, nichole@bigeasyranch.com or 979-733-8685 or www.bigeasyranch.com

  • Texas Golf Hall of Fame

    Ratchman’s contributions to Lone Star State golf garners nomination to prestigious Texas Golf Hall of Fame Mike Ratchman, the owner and publisher of Texas Golf Insider magazine, has been a constant and consistent presence on the Lone State State’s golf scene over the past 26 years. That longevity and excellence in promoting the state’s courses, news, trends and personalities have garnered Ratchman a nomination into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024, an ultimate honor for an uber-positive man who’s built his career and his life on relationships and friendships, both in the game of golf and outside the tees, fairways and greens. The New Braunfels-based Ratchman has been a voting member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame for several years and considers that role “an honor in itself.” He’s over the moon about his nomination. “Just the thought of my picture hanging in the same building with greats like Byron Nelson, Lee Trevino, Ben Hogan, Justin Leonard and the list goes on ... it’s pretty humbling,” Ratchman said. “To be honest, I didn’t know anyone was paying attention.” Plenty has changed in golf since 1998 when Ratchman became the publisher of the magazine in that would eventually become Texas Golf Insider. He’s been able to handle the challenges and tests, surviving the tough times that has included hurricanes, droughts, recessions, pandemics – and now inflation. “I sure have seen a lot, and we are still here and still having fun doing it,” Ratchman said. “I keep things pretty simple. I do my job, and I do what I say I will do for our advertisers, our readers and our podcast viewers. And I hope everyone always enjoys the finished product.” Texas Golf Insider is the Lone Star State’s longest consistently produced publication and the only magazine available statewide, with actual printed copies found in golf shops and clubhouses from Amarillo to South Padre Island from Beaumont to El Paso, as well as out of state in golf travel destinations such as Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico and south of the border in Mexico. Ratchman is also the host (along with longtime partner and PGA professional Dave Roberts) of the highly popular “Golf After Hours” podcast, a rollicking weekly show on Facebook Live that highlights the best of Texas golf. Ratchman’s effusive personality and his enthusiasm for the game shines through in the format. Over the past 18 years, Ratchman and Roberts have interviewed some of the greats of all time such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Ratchman got his start in the “publishing business” when he worked in the banding department Oshkosh Daily Northwestern in his hometown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he lived until he was 19 years old. He’s been playing golf since he was 13; in those days Ratchman could still play his local Muni golf course barefooted. “Arnold Palmer was my hero at the time, and I watched him play every week,” Ratchman said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that one day I would get to interview him. What a gracious man he was to give me time to get to know him.” After a few years of travel across the U.S., Ratchman and his family landed in San Antonio in the 1980s, “We settled in, and I have been in Texas ever since,” Ratchman explained. “I have been an avid golfer now for over 60 years, having worked at driving ranges for many years as a part-timer to hone the game that I’m totally addicted to.” Ratchman won the Southern Texas section’s PGA Media/Public Relation Award in 2014 for significant contribution for promotion and public awareness that helped elevate the status of South Texas’ PGA professionals. Texas Golf Insider is a marketing partner and participant in the Rudy's I-35 Cup and through the years has helped raised over $520,000 to benefit the Austin and San Antonio First Tee programs and Africa New Life. “I’m proud to represent Texas golf whenever I go and I am passionate about promoting it as well as the many charities we have worked with,” Ratchman said. The future is bright as golf continues to grow in Texas and around the world. If there is a golf story to write or someone to interview about the game, Texas Golf Insider will be there. “It has been my pleasure over the past 26 years as a publisher to distribute more than 2.5 million magazines throughout Texas and across the nation and Canada,” Ratchman said. “In 18 years of broadcasting we’ve reached nearly 2 million viewers while promoting Texas as a premier golf destination.”

  • PGA Show

    Golf enthusiasts from all corners of the globe gathered at the expansive Orange County Convention Center in late January for the much-anticipated 2023 PGA Show. The event marked the traditional kick-start of the golf season for many, amidst a continued surge in interest post-COVID. Over 800 golf companies participated in this annual showcase, unveiling a plethora of innovative products set to hit shelves this spring. Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, commented on the vibrant atmosphere of the PGA Show: “The energy on the PGA Show floor was fantastic. I grew up on a trading floor [of the New York Stock Exchange] and this reminds me of the energy and enthusiasm of a busy trading day. It is reflective of the [golf] industry, basically booming. The industry played defense for a couple of years during the pandemic, but this week has underscored that golf is back and the PGA Show is back in a big way.” Technology was a standout trend at the 2023 PGA Show, as golf companies embraced everyday tech to elevate their offerings and attract new players to the sport. Toptracer Technology, a Texas-based company, showcased its cutting-edge technology at the event, allowing golfers to analyze their shots on an iPad-sized screen, providing instant feedback and the ability to share results with instructors. This innovative system is set to make its debut at the upcoming Omni PGA Frisco Resort in May, offering guests a unique way to improve their skills. Martin Wyeth, the mind behind PowerTee, also introduced his own advanced technology from the UK to the American market with a focus on enhancing the customer experience. The PowerTee platform, featuring an automatic tee-up system and shot display, aims to revolutionize the practice session by offering a seamless user experience. Additionally, EA Sports and the PGA Tour joined forces to unveil the Majors Collection, which includes an exact digital replica of Augusta National.  This innovative gaming experience, available for purchase online or in retail stores, features accurate renditions of all four major championship venues, the Ryder Cup, and 30 top global courses, promising colorful and detailed gameplay. In the realm of innovative golf gear, Mike Forsey, CEO and co-founder of Payntr Golf, introduced a revolutionary concept by incorporating technology into golf shoes. Featuring classic spiked and spikeless designs, these shoes boast a transparent propulsion plate for enhanced lift-off, luxurious full leather uppers and soles, and a groundbreaking blister-proof guarantee. With a remarkable 580% increase in sales year-over-year, Payntr Golf has successfully navigated the supply chain challenges, ensuring more golfers have access to their performance-driven footwear. Meanwhile, Kenneth Duncan, CEO of Renegade Golf based in Atlanta, made his inaugural appearance at the show, showcasing USGA-approved golf balls and custom golf bags. As a newcomer eager to learn from industry giants, Duncan aims to elevate his business and make golf more accessible, affordable, and appealing to a wider audience. His commitment to innovation and inclusivity reflects a desire to expand the reach of golf beyond traditional circles and introduce the sport to new enthusiasts. At the 2023 PGA Show, attendees indulged in a variety of golf-inspired food and beverages to enhance their on-course experience. From energizing chocolate bites to CBD gummies for added intensity, and Gin Fizz concoctions endorsed by golf legend Annika Sorenstam to shake off those undesirable shots. Austin's own Old Trapper jerky garnered attention for its role as a go-to snack for golf enthusiasts. As the second-largest jerky brand globally, Old Trapper's savory offerings were a hit amongst attendees looking for a flavorful and convenient snack option. Notably, the Oklahoma-based Folds of Honor organization made a significant impact at the event by showcasing their commitment to providing college scholarships to children of fallen military members, first responders, and other deserving individuals. Colonel Dan Rooney, the founder of Folds of Honor, expressed gratitude for the ongoing support, highlighting the organization's remarkable achievement of raising $55 million to aid those in need. Through initiatives like Patriot Golf Days held nationwide, partnerships with corporate sponsors, and the collaboration with Jack Nicklaus on the new American Dunes course in Michigan, Folds of Honor continues to make a positive difference in the lives of many. In addition to exciting food and philanthropic elements, the presence of various golf destinations and travel companies added to the show's allure. Boasting expansive booths, Ireland and Scotland captivated attendees with their picturesque courses and rich golfing heritage. The upcoming Ryder Cup location in Rome also garnered attention, along with exciting offerings from several Caribbean destinations, enticing golf enthusiasts to plan their next golf getaway with an array of options to consider. As Texas Golf Insider continues to cover the latest trends, developments, and stories in the golf industry, we are proud to bring you exclusive coverage and insights from events like the 2023 PGA Show. Stay connected with us for in-depth analysis, behind-the-scenes access, and engaging content that celebrates the rich tapestry of Texas golf and beyond. Check out our latest edition and be sure to contact us with any questions!

  • Remembering a Golf Dad

    No offense to any of the great golf teachers nationally and in Texas, many of whom I know personally and respect greatly, but the recent passing of my great golfing father at age 88 was not a huge loss to their profession or future business.I suspect my father was like millions of golfers’ nationwide. His golfing goal was all about being in the outdoors in scenic and historic locations with people he wanted to be with. No other reason but friendship, fellowship and fun. Scorecard optional, sometimes very optional.To the best of my knowledge, my dad only took two golf lessons in his lifetime and only played in one club tournament. He didn’t especially enjoy either, dad just wanted to play with family, thankfully me, and friends in fun surroundings.We played hundreds, if not thou-sands of rounds together all over the world. It was bonding not birdies and bogeys which kept us going. Family, not frustration, was part of every round.Hole in One? Ha! (although close one day at Royal Oaks CC in Dallas). Club championship. Never. True handi-cap, only when we went to Scotland. Double figure total score. Rarely. We stood in Amen Corner while watching the Masters tournament, on the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews Old Course, by the first tee in bright sun-shine at Pebble Beach, mist at Brandon Dunes, driving rain at Prestwick. What did we shoot in those rounds? I couldn’t even tell you. But the fact we did it together was just another chapter in the family golf scrapbook.Before his funeral in Dallas, a friend gave me a great line which summed up my dad’s golf career. “Playing golf with your dad was like playing golf with (motivational speaker) Zig Ziglar or Norman Vincent Peale.”“He was always asking about how you were doing, how your family was getting along, what you were going through in life. Rarely, if ever, was it about golf unless he was telling you about another family golf adventure or asking about yours.”It’s not like he didn’t want to get better at golf, I’m sure he was not op-posed to it, but not at the expense of why he got involved in the first place. Hitting balls, putting, chipping on the range for hours, rushing off to get in his regular foursome on Saturday AM, nothing wrong with that at all, Just not what he was into.The chance to spend uninterrupted time with people he wanted to be with and the chance to raise money for a favorite cause or to help someone facing problems, that was the reason he played.He taught me plenty, including no complaining when you had a bad shot, “nobody wants to hear that.”Also, no talking after somebody else hits a bad one, “you don’t have to say anything, they already know it was bad,” plus sometimes you just need another try. I’ve seen him tee up another mul-ligan, while the first one was still in the area or rolling on the ground.”Of course, there was one time when it all came together for him on the golf course. We were playing at the scenic Tom Fazio designed Buffalo Ridge layout at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson. For whatever reason, it was simply his day. The drives found the fairway, the approach shots hit the greens, the balls were rarely lost and putts went in the hole.Headed to the back nine it occurred to me this could be a record round of so many we played together. The longer the streak of good Senior Stricklin play went on the more nervous I got to see him achieve a rare on-course highlight. Finally, at the par 5 18th, I picked up my ball so eagerly to help him make his par putt on the closing hole.He stroked the putt solidly into the hole. A 90!! At age 80!!!Incredible for his age and ability.After hugging, we celebrated with my mom and others at Arnie’s Barn Restaurant at Big Cedar with our drinks of choice. Iced tea and Dr. Pepper. Just another chapter in the memory books.Ultimately, my dad lived up to the words of a long ago Jack Nicklaus TV interview.“The three most important things in golf,” the Golden Bear once said, “What did you shoot?Where did you play? Who did you play with? When you think about it, the first two don’t really matter at all.”So true. Thanks for all the rounds of golf and all the memories Dad. You always got one right, the other two don’t really matter at all.

  • Texas City's Bayou Golf Course

    The sense of community and fellowship one gets from playing golf is on ready display from the minute one lays his or her eyes on the Bayou Golf Course, the Texas Gulf Coast’s top value golf facility. Conditions here have never been better, and the course is a challenge throughout thanks to a well received renovation that brought out the best and discarded the rest. There’s nothing better than a great golf course that can be played at an affordable price and that’s what you get at Bayou Golf Course. The mix of holes at the hybrid links/parkland-style facility was raised up from about 200 acres of marshland along Moses Bayou as it flows toward Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, with water coming into play on 12 of the holes. “We’ve made this course a haven of sorts for golfers who want to have fun, be treated like family and enjoy a consistent level of great golf for under $40,” said Mike Skiba, Bayou Golf Course’s head professional and director of golf. “If you come play our course we think you will want to play it again and again. That’s the best complement a golfer can give a course.” Bayou Golf Course plays at 6,596 windswept yards from the back tees and to a par of 72. The routing was originally designed by legendary Texas golf architect Joe Finger in 1974 and Houstonian Mike Nuzzo put his stamp on the experience here when he restored and enhanced the course in 2014. Subsequent improvements and tweaks have been done as needed, with the latest a resurfacing of the course’s cart paths and a total bunker revitalization. Play has continued to increase at Bayou Golf Course since the pandemic, with more that 32,000 rounds played at the venerable facility that sits just 14 miles from the Galveston city limits and on the outskirts of Texas City in Galveston County. Skiba, who’s been at Bayou GC for seven years, said the rounds and revenue have grown about 20 percent year to year, another indication of the quality and longevity of the course and the way it is run. Bayou Golf Course checks a lot of boxes for most golfers with testing greens complexes and demanding putting surfaces that helps the experience rise above the norm. From the back tees, four of the par 4s are carded at over 400 yards and three of the par 5s play at more than 500 yards. Add in the wind, which is always blowing here, and those seven holes alone clearly indicate the need for prowess with the driver. There are also 18 sand bunkers strategically placed in throughout the routing to form a formidable combination with the course’s slightly elevated tees and greens. “Our putting surfaces are rolling as smoothly as I’ve ever seen them,” Skiba said. “As everyone who plays here regularly can tell you, we can put the pins in places where precise approach shots are the only way they be attackedand play close to par.” After two relatively easy holes to start the round, the 414-yard par 4 third ups the ante in spades, playing into the prevailing wind with water along the left on the approach and trees on the right near the preferred landing area. Water awaits a misjudged shot behind the smallish and undulating putting surface at the back-left. It’s one of the toughest pars on the Gulf Coast. The 414-yard par 4 sixth demands thought and course management. The tee shot must be short of the bayou that begins 225 yards after which the golfer must produce an approach to another wind-affected, tiny green. The 481-yard par-5 10th offers the golfer a risk/reward option. There is a lake in play off the tee and on the approach, as well as out of bounds on the left, but birdie or better is within reach with two, or three, well executed shots. Bayou Golf Club is renowned for its four hole closing stretch. The 573-yard par 5 15th is the longest hole here and has a double dogleg. Next up is the deadly and long 191- yard par 3 16th, which always seems to need one more club than you think to reach the putting surface. The 17th, at 457 yards, is the longest par 4 on the course. It’s a dogleg-left with a stout carry across the turn to the fairway with trees guarding the left side as well. Most of the Bayou Golf Course’s regular players consider a par here to be like a birdie, especially on those days when the wind comes in from the north. The round wraps up with a 393-yard par-4 that’s considered one of the best finishing holes in the Bay Area. There’s water along the left side and a deep bunker that guards the tournament hole placement at the back left. Time does not stand still and neither do the demands placed on the management of a golf course. There are plans in the future to redo the front nine’s cart paths, to improve drainage throughout (especially on the front nine, which is the most affected by the bay’s tidal pools) and re-grass some areas on the edges of the course that have been damaged by the brackish water. The facility also offers the community a five-and-a-half acre walking family pitch-and-putt course with holes that play from 60 to 90 yards. It’s a place where you can find both the skilled golfer looking to hone his or her skills around the greens (and who isn’t) as well as beginners just learning about how great golf can be. It’s the home to the area’s First Tee program. Bayou Golf Course is famously known as the place where Butch Harmon, one of the game’s most noted and famed instructors, got his first job in the golf business. “There are people who want to play this course just because Butch used to teach here,” Skiba said with a laugh. “I’m no Butch Harmon, but if you want to improve your golf game, I can get you on the right track.” Seems like a place to enjoy as often as your schedule allows. If you haven’t played Bayou Golf Course, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

  • Golf Communities in Texas: A Look at the Best Communities for Golfers in Texas

    With its diverse landscapes and an abundance of golfing opportunities, Texas has become a haven for golf enthusiasts. In today’s article, the team at Texas Golf Insider is taking a closer look at the top golf communities in the state, all of which offer exceptional courses, breathtaking views, and world-class amenities. Read on to learn more and discover your hole-in-one destination! The Woodlands – Where Golf Meets Luxury Nestled in a picturesque setting, The Woodlands stands out as a golfer's paradise. With courses designed by renowned architects, it offers an enjoyable yet challenging experience for players of all levels. The community sets itself apart with its luxurious amenities, including clubhouses, fitness centers, and spa facilities. Living in The Woodlands means not only having access to world-class golfing, but also a vibrant lifestyle with shopping centers, dining options, and cultural attractions just a stone's throw away. Barton Creek – A True Golfing Delight Barton Creek, home to four championship courses, provides golfers with an unmatched experience. Each course is crafted to showcase the natural beauty of Texas Hill Country while offering fairways that challenge even the most seasoned players. Beyond golf, Barton Creek envelops its residents in a resort-style living with award-winning dining options and a luxurious spa. The community serves as a tranquil retreat, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in a serene golfing environment away from the city's hustle and bustle. Comanche Trace – Hill Country's Hidden Gem Tucked away in the Hill Country, Comanche Trace offers a hidden gem for golf enthusiasts. Its 18-hole championship course is surrounded by rolling hills and picturesque landscapes, providing golfers with a serene yet challenging experience. The community also boasts a private clubhouse, tennis courts, and miles of walking trails, catering to an active and vibrant lifestyle. As such, Comanche Trace fosters a close-knit community where neighbors become lifelong friends, making it an ideal choice for retirees and families alike. Vintage Oaks – The Perfect Blend of Golf and Community At Vintage Oaks, golfers are treated to a state-of-the-art golf facility designed to cater to players of all skill levels. The community goes beyond golfing, offering residents access to luxurious pools, fitness centers, and countless hiking and biking trails. This means that Vintage Oaks strikes the perfect balance between golfing opportunities and community living, with regular social events and activities for residents to connect and unwind. Explore Today! Whether you desire PGA-level fairways, vacation-worthy amenities, or a relaxing and idyllic lifestyle, the communities mentioned above promise an unforgettable experience. So why wait? Pack your bags, grab your clubs, and start exploring the best golfing communities in Texas! P.S. Don’t forget to follow Texas Golf Insider, where you can find all the latest coverage on the golf industry in Texas. From golf news to course reviews, travel recommendations, and more, we’re your go-to source for everything involving your favorite game.

  • PGA Professional Championship

    Steve Jurgensen Takes Home the Trophy at the PGA Professional Championship Jurgensen, First Time Contestant, Claims 2022 Southern Texas PGA Professional Championship Texas Golf Insider, the leading online golf magazine covering the golf industry in Texas, is thrilled to bring you the exhilarating story of Steve Jurgensen's remarkable victory at the 54th Southern Texas PGA Professional Championship. As your go-to source for news, reviews, tips, interviews, and more, Texas Golf Insider takes pride in delivering the latest updates and captivating stories from the world of golf in Texas. Join us as we dive into the gripping account of Steve's first-time participation in the Championship and his awe-inspiring triumph. Steve Jurgensen, PGA Teaching Professional at Wildcat Golf Club, claimed the title at the 54th Southern Texas PGA Professional Championship. Not only was this his first time winning the event, but also his first time participating in the Championship. With his victory, Steve will take home a check of $11,000. “I’m blessed to be able to play golf. I’m 60 years old and still enjoy playing,” said Steve. “I never looked at the leaderboard all day. I thought there would be someone past where I was. I was just trying to make birdies as often as I could in that final round.” Heading into his final round, Steve sat tied for 8th at even-par 72. The 60-year-old shot up the leaderboard with 5 birdies, tying leader Ben Kern on the back nine. With a birdie on number 17, Steve took the lead at a tournament total of (-3) 141 to win the Championship. Along with Steve, six other PGA Professionals earned exemptions into the 2023 PGA Professional Championship at today’s tournament. Ben Kern, PGA Director of Golf at Georgetown Country Club; JJ Wood, PGA Director of Instruction at Golf Performance Group; Ben Willman, PGA Teaching Professional at Axis Golf Academy; Jesse Droemer, PGA Assistant Professional at Lakeside Country Club; Ryan Hodge, PGA Director of Golf at Twin Creeks Country Club; and David von Hoffmann, PGA Director of Golf at Spanish Oaks Golf Club, will head to the PGA Professional Championship presented by Cadillac, Club Car, and Rolex at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Pueblo Golf Clubs in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico on April 30 - May 4, 2023. Also joining these Professionals will be Jared Jones, PGA Director of Instruction at River Oaks Country Club, who is already exempt into the event by finishing in the top-20 of the 2022 playing of the PGA Professional Championship. The Southern Texas PGA Professional Championship is a special victory for our players each year, honoring the memory of 6-time champion Tommy Aycock, who won the Section Championship title in four different decades. Presented by Cadillac, Club Car, and Rolex; supported by Titleist, FootJoy, Callaway, TaylorMade, Nike, Golf Channel, and the PGA TOUR; and supported locally by Limerick Lane Cellars, the 54th STPGA Professional Championship was contested over 36-holes at TPC San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas. This event is the final tournament of the year where players earn points toward the Rolex Player of the Year list, as well as the 2022 Texas Joe Black Cup Matches and Levy Cup Matches teams. Players for both teams will be announced next week by the STPGA as the STPGA looks to win both Cup Matches later this fall against the Northern Texas PGA. Enjoyed this story? Eager to hear more? Stay connected with Texas Golf Insider as we continue to provide you with exclusive coverage and insights into the game’s biggest upcoming events. Don't miss out on the excitement as we continue to celebrate the passion, skill, and success of golf in the Lone Star State!

  • Rockin J Ranch, Blanco TX

    Take a tour at Rockin J Ranch, one of the Texas Hill Country premier golf communities. Receive 2 FREE rounds of golf at Vaaler Creek Golf Club with a tour. Click on the coupon and enter code: TGI Nestled within the breathtaking Texas Hill Country, the sprawling Rockin' J Ranch spans over 1000 acres of rolling landscapes, proudly hosting the renowned Vaaler Creek Golf Club Championship Course. This haven seamlessly integrates the historical essence of the original ranch, preserving 150-year-old homes and landmarks that now grace the clubhouse and golf course design. To honor the heritage, all street names pay homage to the legendary Texas Rangers. Strategically positioned just a stone's throw away from the historic town of Blanco, Rockin' J Ranch enjoys a prime location within a 40-mile radius of Austin, San Antonio, Marble Falls, Boerne, Fredricksburg, San Marcos, New Braunfels, and Horseshoe Bay. The region, part of Blanco County adjacent to the rapidly growing Comal County, offers a unique blend of history and growth. At the heart of Rockin' J Ranch lies the jewel in its crown, the Vaaler Creek Golf Course, an 18-hole masterpiece acclaimed as one of the finest in Texas. Each real estate sale includes a basic membership, inviting residents to indulge in the rustic charm of the community pool, poolhouse, and clubhouse. The meticulously designed hiking trails and abundance of outdoor activities create a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike. With homesites disappearing quickly, Rockin' J Ranch offers a choice of hilltop, golf course, or creekside living. Only three miles south of the picturesque Blanco on Hwy 281, this golf course community boasts central water and sewer, impeccable restrictions, paved roads, and a limited access gate, ensuring a secure and welcoming environment. Prospective homeowners are invited to visit the sales office seven days a week, from 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays. Located at 288 John Price Blvd, Blanco, TX 78606, the office stands as the first home on the right just beyond the main gated entry. Stop by any day for a comprehensive tour of the Ranch and its amenities or contact the office at (830) 833-2266 to embark on your journey to Rockin' J Ranch living.

  • Overcoming Common Golfing Challenges: A Beginner's Guide

    Whether you're a golf newbie or perhaps someone who's been playing for a while but still struggling to improve, Texas Golf Insider is here to help! Golf is a game that requires precision, technique, and a whole lot of practice, but with the right tips and tricks, you can start seeing progress on the course in no time. Follow the advice in this article, and before you know it, you’ll be setting records at Texas’s best golf courses! It’s All in the Hips One of the most common issues beginners face is not utilizing their hips effectively in their swing. While it may be tempting to let your arms take control, your hips actually play the most important role in generating power and maintaining balance. To improve your swing, focus on rotating your hips smoothly and engaging the larger muscles in your torso and lower body. This will help you generate more clubhead speed, resulting in longer and more accurate shots. Squaring Up the Clubface Another challenge beginners often struggle with is not squaring up the clubface at impact. This can cause slices or hooks, which can lead to those dreaded snowmen on your scorecard. To overcome this, practice aligning the clubface squarely with the target at address, and slowly take longer and fuller swings while maintaining the alignment. Additionally, focus on your grip, ensuring it is neither too strong nor too weak. The correct grip will help you maintain control and accuracy throughout your swing, allowing you to place your shot exactly where you want it. Finding Your Swing Path Consistency is key in golf, especially when it comes to your swing path. Many beginners struggle with having an inconsistent swing path, which can lead to an equally inconsistent ball flight. To improve this, practice swinging in front of a mirror and try to repeat the same path for every shot. It’s okay if your swing doesn’t perfectly match those of the pros, but finding a groove that works for you and sticking with it should improve your overall performance on the course. Don’t Neglect the Short Game While hitting a bomb off the tee box is exciting, don't neglect the importance of the short game. A weak short game can ruin your overall score, even if you played the first half of each hole pretty well. That’s why we recommend practicing chipping, pitching, and putting to develop a feel for distance control and precision. Utilize different wedges for various shot distances and work on your putting technique to improve your score around the green. Start Golfing Like a Pro! By focusing on these common golfing challenges and implementing the tips provided, you'll be well on your way to overcoming them and improving your game. Remember, it takes practice and patience to become a proficient golfer, but with determination and the right guidance, you'll start seeing progress. So, grab your clubs, hit the driving range, and begin your journey toward becoming a better golfer today! If you want more expert advice and insights to enhance your golfing experience, don't forget to follow Texas Golf Insider. Stay updated with the latest trends in the golf industry, plan your perfect golf getaway, and take your game to the next level. See you on the course!

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