At the beginning of this trip, one of the states that I was looking forward to the most was Texas. Texas is big and I was ready for it. First up on the agenda was the site of the PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open, TPC San Antonio. They have two courses at TPC San Antonio and I golfed em both hard.
The JW Marriott has a pretty awesome family resort on the property. In one of my few regrets on this trip, I managed to NOT go down the waterslide. RGV Tour life lesson: If you see a waterslide, always go down the waterslide. Think about it, have you ever not had fun on a waterslide?
I decided to golf my regrets away at nearby Cordillera Ranch. Cordillera is a Nicklaus design and a mighty fine one. It boasts the "Most beautiful par 3 in Texas." It is pretty damn good and I didn't run into anybody disputing this claim. Although, the 15th hole at Whispering Pines is quietly keeping it's mouth shut.
Next up the Tour headed out of San Antonio and into the Golf Club of Houston. While the PGA Tour was getting ready for the Shell Houston Open we took advantage of the excellent conditions. On this RGV Tour stop, we played for $50 birdies, $25 going to the First Tee of Houston and $25 to the First Tee of Greater Seattle. After vowing that I was going to make 18 birdies and set the course record. I made exactly 0 birdies on the day. However, our group made 5 birdies in total and a hefty donation was made to the First Tee.
This was also my first experience with the concept of Hammer. It is basically your normal betting game but any time you say the word "Hammer" it doubles the bet. So say you shank one into the woods and your competitor asks you "Who was that rapper in the '90's with those baggy pants?" As soon as you say MC Hammer, BAM! You just doubled the bet on your shank into the woods. Fun, right? A big thanks to Corey, Matt, and Steve for their generosity and putting on a top notch RGV Tour stop. This is also an excellent place to plug my favorite Driver, The Hammer X Driver.
The original on the left, the remake on the right.
Next up was Whispering Pines and boy is it ever worth the drive out to Trinity, Texas. The course starts out great and moves along very nicely until about he 12th hole. When it makes that turn at 12, Whispering Pines hits the golf gas hard. Here are a couple of shots from that ride home. Wooowee. Whispering Pines also features a magnificent short par 3 course called The Needler. It is not to be missed.
On my visit to the Houston area, I got a chance to visit Tiger Woods' first US design at Bluejack National. Because what's a golf blog post without some Tiger Woods in it? The atmosphere is very fun and family oriented. They have this thing called the Fort. The Fort is what I would describe as kid heaven. Here is the short list of the things on the property that would make any kid squeal with joy.
- Waterslides (coming soon)
- Miniature replica of Fenway Park
- Free pin ball machines
- Zip Lines (also coming soon)
- Playstations with giant big screens
- Miniature football field
- Ping pong
- Air hockey
Bluejack also does an excellent job of taking advantage of it's "Tigerness." They have the "Frank" tees for the kiddos, Frank is what Tiger calls his driver cover. There is even a "Tiger Stinger" bullseye on the range. I fired 2 irons at it for about 15 minutes and only managed to hit the pole once. Throughout your visit, you are consistently reminded of Mr Woods and it is a pleasure. It must be noted that Tiger did have some assistance from Beau Welling on the design of Bluejack National.
So it is certainly not all about the golf course at Blue Jack National. But it could be as Tiger and Beau have designed an excellent place to play. The course provides the player with a lot of wide open spaces to play to and even poor shots are given chances to recover. Importance is placed on angles and the slopes around the green. On his first attempt at golf course design, Bluejack is a wildly successful effort from Tiger Woods. The course has drawn comparison's to Augusta National and the pictures below should show you why.
Next up on the Texas agenda was Colonial Country Club, one of the longest running PGA Tour stops. For 72 years, the pros have been taking on Colonial and the course is filled with history. Most notably, Ben Hogan won the tournament a record 5 times. In 2003, Anika Sorenstam became the first woman to compete on the PGA Tour by teeing it up at Colonial.
On March of 2018, The RGV Tour would look to make some history of it's own. After talking about aces on the tee box, Matt Burke would take dead aim at the par 3 8th. For a second, time would stand still as the golf ball took a dead eye tractor beam towards the bottom of the cup. Unfortunately, the ace was not to be as the group in front of us would report that Matt's golf ball would lip out. The hole in one hunt marches on.
After the near miss at Colonial, it was time to get our NFL on at the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, TX. Joining the Tour was Dallas Cowboy Wide Receiver, Brice Butler. Although, it's obviously not his sport of choice, Brice has a passion for the game and makes a pretty good move at the golf ball. He has only been playing for several years and is already looking to break 80. Local golfing stud, Jeff Brand and I matched Brice's enthusiasm and we would have one hell of a good time.
RGV Tour highlights: Jeff and I would push 2 holes in a row each making back to back birdies.
Shameless plug: I would eagle the 1st hole using my Callaway Rogue Driver for the first time.
With only one round of golf remaining in Texas, I decided that Dallas National would make a pretty good swan song. I was right. Home to Jordan Spieth, Dallas National is one of the state's finest. The course is unusually hilly for the Dallas area and Tom Fazio took full advantage of the terrain by building an excellent place to play.
It turns out that we would miss Jordan by just one day. He reportedly had a pretty smooth 66 out there. Neither member of our twosome would sniff 66, but we did thoroughly enjoy one of the best walks in Texas.