Tee time set
Renovated golf course grand opening Oct. 25
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 00:10
After nearly a year’s wait, the renovated Texas A&M golf course is nearing the final stages of completion.
Dennis Corrington, executive director of Texas A&M’s Department of Recreational Sports, said there will be an invite-only grand opening event on Oct. 25. The event will consist of a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. with Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp and University President R. Bowen Loftin followed by a 12:30 p.m. start for all invitees. The course will open to the public on Oct. 26.
Jeff Blume, Class of 1989 and course architect, said he is very proud of the outcome of the project. He said, in terms of value it will be the top course in Bryan-College Station.
“The golf course is of a quality that if it were sitting in Houston or Dallas it would be a $100 green fee,” Blume said. “But faculty and students will be able to play it at about a quarter of that price.”
Opening day cost for students and faculty are expected to be $25 plus the cart fee.
Rene Rangel, the CEO of Ster-
ling Golf Management, the company managing the course, said the course has very few similarities to the original.
“This is classified as a remodel — however, it’s a brand new golf course,” Rangel said. “There’s a bigger driving range which is angled differently from the original and 18 new holes. We dug new lakes, added new water features and 158 bunkers as opposed to 30 or 40 on the original course. We also remodeled the pro shop with new furniture and fixtures.”
Rangel said the original plan for a three-hole practice course is delayed due to a lack of funds. The practice course was designed for use by golf kinesiology classes and researchers. To remedy this, the department of health and kinesiology donated funds to add a short-game practice facility next to the proshop.
Sterling Golf is hoping to raise more funds for the course by selling naming rights for each hole with prices ranging from $100,000 to $3 million.
Blume said the course design and layout is similar to that of the prestigious National Golf Links course in Southampton, N.Y.
“The course has an early American style featuring a lot of bunkers, elevated greens and bunkers cut in around greens,” Blume said. “The greens are adequately sized at an average of 6,000 square feet and not too difficult. They’re not flat but not overly contoured. There’s a lot of room to hit ball off the tee, but the approach shots require more accuracy. If you miss the greens there is a myriad of different chip shots and recovery shots.”
The design is a slight deviation from Blume’s previous projects, and he said he sees it as a very fun course to play.
“Most golf courses in Texas were not built with the very old-style feel, so it will be a little bit of a departure from what most Texans are used to,” Blume said.
At just over 7,000 yards, the course is not long. It has wide, forgiving fairways but both Rangel and Blume said the four par-3 holes would be the most challenging characteristic of the course.
“We have five sets of tee boxes,” Rangel said. “If you play correct tee box it will be fun, but if you play the wrong one it will be challenging.”
Rangel said the original budget for the course renovations $4.2 million, but with the addition of sod and sand the final price totaled between $4.5 and $5 million. With the quality of all the renovations, he said it looked as if three times the money was spent on the project.
Rangel said without private business partnerships with companies who provided critical concessions, the total price of renovations would probably be somewhere around $7 million.
Junior political science major and avid golfer, Wyat Jamieson, said he is eager to step onto the newly renovated course.
“I was disappointed that A&M announced the course renovations when I arrived to the school, Jamieson said. “I’ve been playing the Bryan course while waiting for it to open. It’s way more convenient to be able to play on campus though. Now I can head straight from class to hit a bucket on the range before I head home.”
Blume said those wishing to play must call in tee times for the opening weekend because it is expected to be extremely busy, but the crowds should lessen as the week continues.