(Photo of new two-tier driving range by Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle)
The enthusiastic response to play Houston’s historic 83-year-old municipal course was generated by a $15 million, 10-month renovation led by Tom Doak, and by the fact that greens fees are remaining the same, thanks to funding of the entire project by the Houston Astros Golf Foundation. The renovation also keeps Memorial Park in play as a PGA Tour venue for the 2020 Houston Open.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on November 4th for the reopening of Houston’s Memorial Park Golf Course, the Houston Chronicle reported, following a $15 million, 10-month renovation of the 83-year-old municipal course that was led by architect Tom Doak.
At the original opening of the Memorial Park course in 1936, the Chronicle reported, Jack Burke Sr. was credited with hitting the first golf shot. And at the November 4th reopening, his son, two-time major winner Jack Burke Jr., 96, was in attendance as one of several dignitaries on hand for the much-anticipated ceremony.
This time, the Chronicle reported, the honors of striking the first show went to Jim Crane, owner of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, in recognition of how the Astros Golf Foundation funded the entire renovation of Memorial Park, considered the crown jewel of Houston’s municipal courses.
In addition to the course improvements, the Foundation kept the Houston Open alive on the PGA Tour, with the 2020 event to be played at Memorial Park, the Chronicle reported.
Memorial Park will be open again for public play starting on November 6th, the Chronicle reported, and all tee times for that day were filled online within two minutes of being available. In addition to the excitement generated by the renovation, the strong response was also fueled by the fact that greens fees will remain the same as they were when the course was shut down in January for the renovation (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/city-council-approves-13-5m-renovation-of-memorial-park-gc/).
“It’s going to be a great asset for the city; it’s a first-rate golf course,” Crane said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The facilities are all going to be improved. It’s a beautiful park, and everyone’s going to enjoy it more.
“[It’s a] great tribute to the city and the strength of the city and the support of the city,” Crane added. “It’s fun to see it get done and see the improvements that have been made.”
In addition to the renovated course, a new two-tier driving range, with 42 bays on each level (see photo), will also open at 6:30 a.m. on November 6th, the Chronicle reported.
“Jim [Crane] and [his wife] Whitney have stepped up in a major way,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at the ceremony. “When the city was looking to make sure we did not lose the PGA, and there was a lot of talk, he stepped in and wanted to make it happen and did it.
“This latest gift makes Houston able to reclaim a place in national golf glory,” Turner added.
Tee times will now be booked every 10 minutes at Memorial Park, the Chronicle reported, and walk-up play only will be allowed if a tee time is not booked or if scheduled players are a no-show. There will no longer be early morning walk-up play, but tee times can be booked the same day of play outside of two hours, if space is available.