Residents Around Twin Rivers GC Hope to Attract New Owners for the Golf Course

Residents who live around the Waco, Texas golf course hope that by attracting a new owner they can enhance the current condition of the debilitated golf course. The current owner is reported to be willing to sell and is seeking $3 million for the property.

Twin Rivers Golf Course was the center of a September 10th meeting of Twin Rivers homeowners in an effort to hatch out a tentative plan they hope will attract a new owner and greatly enhance the condition of their golf course, reported the Waco Tribune-Herald.

“We don’t expect Augusta National (site of the Masters Golf Tournament), but we do expect a course that is playable and respectable,” said Baylor University Vice Provost Wes Null, who is spearheading a new committee to bring the condition of one of Waco’s few semi-public golf courses up to a level which would attract members or outside play, reported the Tribune-Herald. Homeowners association officials said the committee is not formally connected to the association, though the committee members belong to the association.

“We all know what situation we are in now with this course,” said Waco banker Sam Brown, who is the president of the Twin Rivers HOA.

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Both Twin Rivers and the nearby Lake Waco Golf Course are owned by former Olympic pole vaulter Bob Richards, who lives in Waco as does his son, Tom, who helps run the courses, reported the Tribune-Herald.

Both Bob and Tom Richards did not return messages seeking comment on the meeting, which attracted more than 75 Twin Rivers homeowners, the Tribune-Herald reported. The group overflowed the club conference room, prompting some to stand out in the soggy Waco night.

Bob Richards told the Tribune-Herald in August he was willing to sell the courses to help pay for the money he has lost since buying them several years ago.

He did not mention a price. But Monday night Brown told the HOA members that Richards wanted $3 million for the Twin Rivers course.

“Of course, the price is always what somebody is willing to pay for it, but I do not see in this business climate that he could get $3 million dollars for that course,” said retired Waco businessman Tommy Tompkins. “I know Bob Richards really well and he has told me more than once if not 20 times, he wants to make this a PGA Tour-quality course. If he truly wants to do that, than he needs to step up and do the things necessary to make that happen or we need somebody who will.

“When Bob Richards became one of the greatest pole vaulters of all time, he didn’t train at a worn-down, falling-apart facility. He trained at one of the best. That’s all we are asking for here, so members and guests can train to their highest level whatever that may be. We want a course in decent condition.”

The main thrust of the new committee, which will report to the Twin River HOA Board of Directors, will be to solicit any possible new owners with definite commitments of support and finances from the HOA, reported the Tribune-Herald.

“Our Task Force will be working on a document — we’ll call it a pledge — which Twin Rivers members can sign onto as part of an agreement with a new owner,” Null said. “I’m not sure of the specific numbers, but let’s say every member pledged $250 a month for the golf course in exchange for favorite rates or tee times.

“We are saying, this is what we could do for the new owners. If we had 75 or so pledgers, that would be attractive to potential buyers, whether that’s a private buyer or the City of Waco or someone else. Even if they are a non-golfer, they would be willing to come to a nice restaurant at the clubhouse if we had one of those things now.”

The Twin Rivers community has seen a home-building surge over the last several years, and the back nine holes of the Peter Jacobsen-designed course, which officially opened in October 2001, are currently lined with large six-figure houses in various stages of construction, the Tribune-Herald reported.

“There is widespread concern about the condition of the golf course. The concern is coming not just from golfers, but also from those who have concerns about property values,” Null said.

The Twin Rivers HOA also discovered that under the city’s Planned Unit Development document, which was signed and delivered in 2000, the course where the Twin Rivers layout currently sit prohibits Richards or any owner for turning any aspects of the golf course into home sites, reported the Tribune-Herald.

Despite the problems facing the Twin Rivers course, some residents are optimistic. Tompkins, who bought the second lot ever at Twin Rivers in early 2001 and is now in his third home there, said he still believes in the potential of the golf course, the Tribune-Herald reported.

“I believe something good will happen,” Tompkins said. “I believe a year from now we will be playing on a greatly improved golf course. I have been fortunate to play on a lot of nice courses and I think Twin Rivers has the potential to be one of the nicest in Texas.”