Monday, August 15, 2005

Richmond's Old Orchard Closing

Old Orchard Golf Club in Richmond, one of the more respected daily fee courses in the Houston area, will be closing later this year - for good. The 22-person ownership group received "the proverbial offer they couldn't refuse" to sell the land on which the club sits to developers ... and so they didn't refuse.

Mike Bailey, writing for golftexas.com, has the story:

... Come late fall, southwest Houston will lose one of the best daily fee golf courses in the state. Old Orchard Golf Club, a 27-hole facility that has hosted numerous special events, championships and qualifiers, will close Nov. 11 if all goes as planned.

The course has 22 owners, which include Montgomery and Champions Tour player Keith Fergus, and is being sold to real estate developers for an undisclosed amount. Though Montgomery wouldn't reveal details, the profit on the land will far exceed revenues and the cost of the course, which opened in 1990.

The closure will leave the Richmond area, which is located about 30 miles southwest of downtown Houston, with a significant void in the daily-fee market. The Houstonian Golf Club, an excellent Rees Jones-design next door to Old Orchard, recently became private and The Houstonian's sister club, Shadow Hawk Golf Club, which is located on the same property, has always been private. That leaves only Greatwood Golf Club as the only viable quality daily fee facility in the immediate area.

It's a pity, especially given that Old Orchard is a successful, respected golf course. It's not one that was on the verge of going out of business, or that has allowed its conditions and reputation to deteriorate over the years. But great land around Houston becomes more scarce, and therefore more expensive, all the time I suppose.

If you've ever played any combination of Old Orchard's three nines, you probably went away saying that you'd like to come back some day. If so, better hurry.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, money and developers win big in Houston. We probably have the fewest City courses of any city in the US over 100,000 population. Almost all of the courses are just mediocre real estate ploys with the developer dictating the routing to sell lots. Just play Greatwood or Sienna Plantation. And they always insist on double-loading the streets so we are forced to look at tacky pools with piles of rocks and plastic swingsets. What's almost funny is that the course operators are complaining a lot lately about the drop in play. Well, get the developers out of the course design business first. Then quit this obsession with building a "championship" course. Wake up, guys. Fewer than 1% are championship players who can afford the fees necessary to recoup your investment.

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