Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Reviewing The Club at Carlton Woods' Fazio Course

During the latter part of 2005, Carlton Woods opened a second course at its club in The Woodlands. The Fazio Course joined the Nicklaus Course at Carlton Woods. Tom Kirkendall, proprietor of the Houston's Clear Thinkers blog, has an great review of the Fazio Course - complete with photos - on his site. Check it out here.

Here's a brief excerpt:

Constructed amid beautiful hardwoods on the bluffs of Spring Creek on the far southwest side of The Woodlands, the Fazio Course has something going for it that most Houston-area golf courses do not - significant elevation changes. ... the Fazio Course takes advantage of a wonderfully rolling piece of land on the bluffs of Spring Creek to provide golfers with up and down shot values that are rarely seen on Houston-area golf courses.

...


As with most new courses these days, the Fazio Course is long - almost 7360 yards from the championship tees and includes a 506 yard par 4 (no. 15) and a 623 yard par 5 (no. 4). However, this is not just a flogger's course -- three of the course's 10 par 4s are well under 400 yards, including the creative 307 yard par 4 seventh hole.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bud Zenswing and the Monkey Man 1000

Our friend David Fineg, owner of Ten Cups Golf Center in San Antonio, is no longer satisfied with writing pithy articles or being the only driving range operator in America who quotes Lao-Tzu. Now he's shooting video clips.

My favorite so far is David, a k a Bud Zenswing, in an infomercial spoof for the greatest driver known to man, the Monkey Man 1000, built from the amazing metal "gonadium." David, er, I mean Bud, even demonstrates a pre-swing stretching ritual required before you tackle the Monkmonater 1K - it's pretty darn funny, and my wife, Birdie McDuff, is already tired of watching me re-enact that warmup stretch.

So check out the video (warning: it's an 11MB file, so be patient while it loads):

Monkey Man 1000

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Problems on Pleasure Island

Sounds like the Palms golf course on Port Arthur's Pleasure Island is having hard times: low attendance, storm damage. And from the sound of this Beaumont Enterprise article, the Palms might be in danger of a long deterioration:

PORT ARTHUR - Issues with an aging marina, an underused music park and golf course, hurricane damage and dwindling cash reserves came to a head Tuesday when Pleasure Island commissioners met with City Council members.

The larger issue is that the commission's cash reserve slowly is being eaten away by losses at the Palms golf course and other issues, like unexpected cost of vandalism at the public parks, on the 21-mile manmade island, said John Chirafis Jr., commission chairman.

...

Wind and rain wrought most of the damage to the golf course, Mariner's Cove subdivision, marina and other buildings on the northern half of the island.

... Downed trees and demolished buildings plagued the Palms on Pleasure Island golf course.

Even before Rita slammed the coastal areas Sept. 24, the commission was having problems.So far, the golf course has absorbed about $300,000 of the commission's $500,000 reserve since it opened about three years ago, Dike said.

Last year, the golf course had about 20,000 rounds of play and they are hoping for at least that much during the upcoming year, Dike said.

The staff has been cut in half and other cost-cutting measures have been implemented. Dike is in negotiations with two firms to possibly manage the course.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Book Reviews

Not by me, of course. The only reading I do is of the sports pages hanging above the urinal. (I exaggerate. I sometimes read the rule book.)

A couple Texas golf books get reviewed by Glen Dromgoole (and don't you just know that the other kids called him "Grom-drool" ... hey, when you've got a name like "Bogey McDuff," it's OK to point out other funny names) in this article in the Bryan-College Station Eagle.

Glen reviews Art Stricklin's "Links, Lore, & Legends: The Story of Texas Golf," plus one I hadn't heard of previously: "Fair Ways: How Six Black Golfers Won Civil Rights in Beaumont, Texas." I'm a bit of a Civil Rights buff (I just play an idiot on the Internet), so this one sounds interesting. It's the one pictured at right.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New Blog to Check Out

I just discovered the New 2 Golf blog, written by Greg from Houston. It's good stuff, and I've added it to my blogroll (even though he doesn't like my new look - my first comment on the new look, and it's negative, darn it). Greg writes some very interesting posts about his life as a new golfer, and there's good info (and even some photos) about Houston-area courses, too.

Mr. Fineg's Blind Insights

Check out our friend David Fineg, having his latest column featured on the All Info About Golf website. David is the owner of Ten Cups driving range in San Antonio, and he has a different approach to the game ... and to life. One that appears to bring him much joy (or maybe that's the Prozac?).

His column is titled "More Blind Insight on Golf ." I suppose this is a case where the blind leading the blind would be a good thing. David makes seven points in his article, and here they are:

1. The fastest (and surest) way to lower your score from the onset of your golfing career, is to play from a tee box closer to the green.

2. When you start playing golf, you should play the golf course looking to shoot double bogey golf, thrilling to the bogeys.

3. Size does matter! But (in golf) smaller is better.

4. The difference between your 3-wood and your driver could be as much as 20 to 30 yards. But it is not the 20 to 30 yards that you think it is.

5. Every time you hit a wedge, you must commit to the shot, then watch your tool do the work you intend it to do.

6. Greens in regulation is a concept best left to the better players.

7. A 640 yard par five is a hole you must be within putting distance in ....... wait for it ......... 4 shots!
Check out the full column.

Monday, January 23, 2006

New Look

What do you think? I think this new template is much easier to read - much easier on the eyes generally - than our old one. Plus, the style for the quoted excerpts is loverly. And yes, for anyone who noticed, I ripped this off whole-hog from Mulligan Stew.

Damn You, Global Warming!

I posted a couple days ago about the positive effects on the golf industry of the mild winter we've had so far in Texas. Mild winters equals more people playing golf, for more of the winter.

Just the opposite for me. The milder the winter, the less golf I play. And this winter stinks! A cold, drizzly day is one of my favorite days for golf. Because it means that the courses will be mostly deserted, and I can show up alone, play by myself, and finish quickly.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not antisocial. I'd prefer to be playing with my buddies. But because I work an odd schedule, my buddies and I often have a hard time hooking up for golf. Weekends? Slow, crowded golf courses are one of my biggest bugaboos.

But on weekdays, I can almost always sneak in a round, if the weather is right. And by right, I mean: cold and, preferably, drizzly. Speed is my need. On such a winter day, I can pull out of my garage, drive to the course, play 18 holes, drive back home, and pull back into the garage in just two hours - 2 and half hours, tops.

But on mild winter days, there are still enough people on the course that such an outing would take more like the normal four hours, or more. Four hours is time I can't usually get away with sacrificing to golf; 2 to 2.5 hours, well, I can sneak that in without anyone being the wiser.

It's Jan. 23. I just hope, for the sake of my golf game, that we still get some bad weather before spring arrives.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Aransas Pass to Get Its First Golf Course

Golf is coming to Aransas Pass. The small Coastal Bend community, built around fishing, the annual Shrimporee, and Winter Texans, will soon be able to offer visitors and residents the use of a 9-hole golf course.

The planned Iron Gator golf course will have its groundbreaking this week. From the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (if the link doesn't work, go to bugmenot.com to find a login):

Iron Gator sits on 280 acres off State Highway 35 on the northwest side of town. Now it's just a sales trailer, but in two years, plans call for a nine-hole golf course, competition putting green, driving range, and spaces for 1,000 RVs, some in private, gated, customized lots.

Brock Vardsveen, a co-owner in the project, said he and his partner searched across America before pulling their RV plan into Aransas Pass.

RV park/golf course combos are quite popular in Arizona, Nevada and Florida. Vardsveen said they wanted to spread that concept, but land prices were
too high in Florida. They then focused on Texas, beginning in Brownsville, but
were deterred by an increase in crime. High land costs also steered them away
from Padre Island. Aransas Pass is already on a main RV arterial and is near day-trip destinations in Rockport and Corpus Christi. Vardsveen said Aransas Pass seemed the place to build.

The partners hope to entice winter Texans who pull up and stay for three months, and year-round Texans looking for a classy weekend spot for their RV or boat.

The question with projects like this one revolve around just how good - and how expensive - the 9-hole course will be. A 9-hole course in Port Aransas had to close up shop a year or so ago when it was discovered people didn't want to pay $25 or $30 to play an executive course.

If the Aransas Pass course is reasonably priced and has good upkeep, it should thrive. Coastal Bend residents in the area now have to travel to Corpus Christi, Sinton, Rockport or even Goliad or Victoria for a round.

One good sign is that the course will be designed by Arlington's Colligan Golf Design, which builds solid courses on a budget.

Pam Benson, a member on the Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce and a former RV park owner, said Iron Gator is a fabulous idea, bringing in golfers to the RV park and RVers into golfing.

"When you talk about retired people who are taking their RVs out, they definitely fall in that category of people who love to golf," she said.

RV vacationing and golfing can be expensive, and any sort of combination may bring down the cost of both, she said.

Richard Kolb, who owns the pro shop at the Sinton city course, said the concept of pairing an RV park with a golf course would cater to the Winter Texans he sees golfing around the area.

"Play in golf has dropped some, but winter Texans are looking for something to do," he said.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Warm Weather = More Golf

The dry, mild winter has been a boon to golf courses around Texas. Here's an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about it:

The number of rounds played has increased as much as 25 percent at some courses compared with this time last year.

“Golf is driven so much by weather, particularly this time of year,” said Nancy Bunton, Fort Worth Parks and Community Services assistant director. She oversees the city’s five golf courses.

From Jan. 1, 2004, through Jan. 12, 2005, the Texas Star Golf Course in Euless saw almost 36,000 rounds of golf. During the same number of days ending Jan. 12, that number increased to almost 40,000.

“We have had hardly any days when we were closed,” said Adena Wallace, the course’s head Professional Golfers’ Association of America professional. “The golfers sure are enjoying it.”

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Golf Company Moving to Texas

Just a short while after I posted my list of Texas-based golf equipment companies, now a new company is coming into the picture.

An outfit called Norwood Promotional Products makes, among other things, golf bags - including one called the "Air-Tex." The company is currently based in Iowa, but is closing its Iowa plant in April and relocating to San Antonio.

It's only appropriate that the "Air-Tex" be made in Texas.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Gig 'Em

The college golf column in Golfweek is about Texas A&M coach J.T. Higgins:

When J.T. Higgins took over the Texas A&M men's golf program in the fall of 2001, he knew it would be a challenge.

After all, he was replacing coaching legend Bob Ellis, a Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Famer who had guided the golf program for more than 20 years. He also was taking on a program that had not advanced to the NCAA Championship since 1997 and had only qualified for the finals three times since the inception of regional championships in 1989.

"Actually, I thought it would be easy," Higgins said. "I guess that's because it seemed easy after being an assistant coach at UNLV (1991-97) and working under Dwaine Knight and taking over the program at New Mexico (1997-2001) which John Fields had established."

Higgins soon found out there was a lot more to it. And, he found out quickly.

"My first year we started out with 13 players on the roster and we finished the
season with six players after some quit and some I let go," said Higgins, who was the 2001 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year while at New Mexico. "By the end of that first year I was just happy to field a team."

He hit the recruiting trail hard and started bringing some very talented players into the fold. It's been paying off ever since.

Full story

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Texas Open, PGA Tour Schedule Update

An article in the San Antonio Express-News today clears up any confusion about the status of the Texas Open, which was not included in the FedEx Cup schedule the PGA Tour released for 2007. As we pointed out, that only means that the Texas Open - for now - will remain part of the fall schedule, with a possible date change in the offing when San Antonio's TPC course opens in a couple years.

The Express-News article nails everything down: The Texas Open will remain in its fall position in 2007 and 2008; in 2009, when the TPC course is ready for play, the tournament has been "guaranteed" it will move to a better date in the spring. Meantime, for the next two years, the tournament is leaving the heat of September for the cooler temperatures of October or November, although that exact date isn't yet nailed down.

You can read the Express-News article here - lots of good info in it.

Here are reports from the state's newspapers on our other PGA Tour tournaments:

'07 Nelson gets earlier date (Dallas Morning News)
Local PGA events will be split by a month (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
SHO takes 2007 date as a positive (Houston Chronicle)

If you have trouble accessing any of these articles, check bugmenot.com to find login info.

Contraband Report

A week or so ago I asked for input on the Tom Fazio-designed Contraband Bayou course that is part of the L'Auberge du Lac resort in Lake Charles. Mark Button, editor of the Houston edition of AvidGolfer magazine, recently spent a couple days in Lake Charles playing Contraband and other courses. His full report will appear in the Jan.-Feb. issue of the magazine.

Here's the short version: Mark says of the three courses he played - Contraband, Koasati Pines and Tamahka Trails - he liked Tamahka the most and Contraband the least. But, he points out, Contraband suffered significant damage from Hurricane Rita.

"It lost 1,200 trees (40 percent of what they had). So that was unfortunate. It's a fun course and it's worth playing, but I expected a little more from Fazio. I think if I had played it before the storm, I'd have a different opinion, though. It's so new ... I think in a few years it will be a must-play."

Pick up the Jan.-Feb. Houston edition of AvidGolfer for Mark's in-depth reviews of the three courses and the casino/resort options in Lake Charles.

Friday, January 13, 2006

PGA Tour Announces Rejiggerd 2007 Schedule

The much ballyhooed new schedule from the PGA Tour for 2007 - the one many thought would result in a reduction in number of events and possibly the moving of established tournaments around the calendar - is finally out. Well, part of it is out.

The PGA Tour announced on Friday its 2007 FedEx Cup schedule. The FedEx Cup is what the tour is calling its new NASCAR-like points choice. There are 37 tournaments in the FedEx Cup chase, starting with the Mercedes Championships in January and ending with the Tour Championship in mid-September.

The only big change for Texas tournaments is that the Shell Houston Open moves up earlier in the schedule, from late April to the last week in March, culminating on April 1. The Houston Open occupies the spot in the schedule one week prior to The Masters.

There has been speculation that the Tour might move all the Texas tournaments into the same time frame, including the Texas Open. Surprisingly, the Houston Open, Byron Nelson and Colonial are now farther apart, not closer together: The Houston Open in March, the Nelson in April and the Colonial in May.

And the Texas Open? It's not on the FedEx Cup schedule. But fear not. The tournament will be part of the Fall Series, the events that follow the Tour Championship. These tournaments will be rebranded as "chase for the card" events, where young players and veterans who are in danger of losing their cards will be scrambling like mad to try to earn those last few dollars they need.

In other words, these Falls Series events will essentially be what they are now - weak fields of players fighting for position on the money list. So really, no change.

The actual schedule for the Fall Series - the exact events and dates - will be released later.

As for the Texas Open possibly moving up to a prime date in the spring or early summer, that obviously didn't happen on the 2007 schedule. But don't be surprised if it happens in 2008, or 2009 at the latest, when San Antonio's TPC golf course will be ready for play.

Walker Struggles in Return to Tour

"Struggles" might be too tame a word. San Antonio's Jimmy Walker, the 2004 Nationwide Tour money leader whose rookie season on the PGA Tour was wracked by injury, returned to the PGA Thursday at the Sony Open. This is the same tournament where in 2005 Walker's neck injury first surfaced.

At least this year he didn't hurt himself. But he did shoot 80, worse than everyone else in the field - even Michelle Wie (79).

Walker is a great talent with tremendous potential, as long as he can stay healthy. As for this week, well, enjoy Hawaii, Jimmy.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Austin Upgrading Clay/Kizer Complex

The Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer complex in Austin is already one of the best municipal golf facilities in Texas. The courses themselves are outstanding. And by muny standards, its practice area is pretty darn good: a very large driving range that can handle many more golfers than most, plus a couple practice putting greens.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the city is now upgrading the practice facilities, and it sounds like the results will be something you'd much more expect to see at a wealthy private club:

Work is scheduled to begin Jan. 27 on an 11-acre practice facility south of the Clay/Kizer driving range and east of the first hole at Kizer. It will consist of four holes of 150 to 200 yards, a practice range, a sand trap and a putting/chipping green.

The facility, which should be completed in the fall, will be open to the public, but it is especially earmarked for youngsters who are just learning the game.

"The idea for this originated with Joe Balander," said Kevin Gomillion, director of golf and tennis for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. "Joe envisioned a junior learning center. He wanted a short course and practice area where kids could learn how to play without any pressure."

...


Austin school district students who are working with their coach or teacher will have free use of the facility. Projected fees for the public are $5 for adults and $2 for children.

The local golf course architecture team of Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell designed the facility, and that's a good omen. Bechtol and Russell have earned rave reviews for dozens of their courses in Texas, including the University of Texas Golf Club and ShadowGlen. In addition, Russell was solo designer of Roy Kizer.

The folks in Austin's Parks & Rec department who focus on golf should run seminars for other cities on taking care of your golfers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Texas-Based Golf Companies

Who are the golf club manufacturers and other major golf equipment and retailing companies that are based in Texas? Glad you asked. We offer the following list (and if you know of a Texas-based company we're not listing, please drop us a line at bogeymcduff - at - yahoo.com):

Adams Golf
Plano
http://www.adamsgolf.com/
Adams, of course, is one of the top manufacturers in the market today, with a full lineup of clubs, minus putters. The company first gained fame with its Tight Lies brand.

Ray Cook Golf
Dripping Springs
http://www.raycookgolf.com/
Ray Cook Golf has been around since 1963, when it began with a forged aluminum mallet built in Mr. Cook's San Antonio shop . And at various times in the company's history - particularly in the 1970s and 1980s - its putters have been very trendy with touring pros, and highly successful for them. The Blue Goose and Billy Baroo are perhaps its best-known models. While the company isn't as prominent on tour these days, equipment aficionados still love their Ray Cook putters. The company also makes wedges.

Eidolon Golf Equipment
Port Arthur
http://www.eidolongolf.com/
When Eidolon wedges first appeared on the scene, shortly after the turn of the millenium, some people remarked that they reminded them of some Ray Cook wedges. That's probably because the founder of Eidolon started the company after leaving Ray Cook. Eidolon is just a couple years old, but its V-Sole Wedges have garnered critical praise.

Dogleg Right
Dallas
http://www.doglegright.com/
The name Dogleg Right might not be that familiar, but the name of its best-known products are: Hog. This company makes Hog putters, Hog drivers and Hog wedges, along with some other miscellaneous training aids and merchandise. The Hog brand included some of the earliest jumbo mallets and jumbo drivers to be seen.

Golfsmith
Austin
http://www.golfsmith.com/
Golfsmith started as a retail shop in Austin, and is now one of the top golf and tennis retailers in the U.S. But Golfsmith also produces its own equipment, some of it components under the Golfsmith brand, and other products under the brand names of formerly independent manufacturers purchased by Golfsmith. Recognizable, and in some cases formerly prominent, brands such as Snake Eyes, Zevo and Lynx are now owned by Golfsmith.

SmartSwing Intelligent Clubs
Austin
http://www.smartswinggolf.com/site/index.html
This company makes training clubs that talk back to the golfer. Special software is embedded in the grip end of the clubs and records and analyzes every swing. The info can be downloaded into a personal computer for analysis and tracking. The clubs can also be set to provide real-time audio feedback.

Traxx Golf
Dallas
http://www.traxxgolf.com/
Traxx putters are built around what the company calls the "VertiScope Alignment System," and its putters have been used on tour by professionals. This company used to be based in Corpus Christi, but was purchased in 2003 by a new company formed by the person behind Whippy Tempomaster. Which brings us to ...

Whippy TempoMaster
Dallas
http://www.tempomaster.com/
This well-known training aid is a driver on a very flexible shaft. The whippy shaft action forces the golfer to build a better tempo. Whippy tempo clubs are available from the driver down to the Whippy Putter.

Callaway Golf Pre-Owned
Austin
http://www.callawaypreowned.com/
This retailer of used and refurbished Callaway clubs started independently of Callaway, but now has a working relationship with the manufacturing giant. Callaway Pre-Owned has grown into one of the most recognizable names in online golf retailing.

Solo Golf
Irving
http://www.sologolf.com/
Solo Golf manufactures a full line of clubs, from drivers and fairway woods, to irons and wedges, to putters. Solo is a division of an aerospace industry company that formerly built components for the likes of Cobra, Titleist and Callaway.

Spin Doctor Golf
Humble
http://www.spindoctorgolf.com/
If you've ever spent much time watching The Golf Channel, you've probably seen the infomercial for Spin Doctor wedges. This is the company that makes them.

Tacki-Mac Grips
Kingwood
http://www.tackimac.com/
Tacki-Mac Grips are designed to never lose their tacky feel. In addition to golf grips, Tacki-Mac also makes products for hockey, baseball, racquetball, bicycling and motorsports.

United Sports Technologies (UST)
Fort Worth
http://www.ustgolfshaft.com/
UST is one of the top shaft makers in golf, with such well-known brands as Proforce V2, iROD and Frequency Filtered.

Honorable Mention

Nike Golf
http://www.nikegolf.com/
Nike Golf is, of course, based in Oregon. But almost all the company's golf products are manufactured at its plant in Fort Worth.

Diamond Touch Golf
http://www.diamondtouchgolf.com/
Diamond Touch Golf's world headquarters are in Gibralter. But the company was founded by a Houston resident, and its U.S. base is still in Houston. Diamond Touch clubs feature a diamond insert in the face - actual crushed diamonds are used to create an ultra-hard surface. And a very big sticker price.

NOTE: Sadly, Ben Hogan Golf no longer has a presence in Texas. Now located in California, Hogan Golf is a division of Top-Flite, which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of Callaway.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Contraband

Anyone been to L'Auberge du Lac hotel and casino and Lake Charles, La.? They've got a Tom Fazio golf course called Contraband that recently opened for play. I've played Gray Plantation (B-plus) and Koasati Pines (A) in the Lake Charles area, but not yet Contraband. But with plenty of good golf (and good casinos and good fishing) already in the area, Lake Charles is really becoming a great weekend getaway spot for Texans.

Anyway, here's a review of Contraband from the Lafayette, La., newspaper. And here are a few more reviews of L'Auberge du Lac, including some comments on Contraband.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Development Starts on Mustang Island Resort

Some months back I posted about a major golf resort on Mustang Island near Port Aransas, and its sketchy history. Was it going to get built or not? At the time, answers were hard to find.

But now it looks like the answer is "yes," it is going to get built. The Newport Golf Club will be part of an 1,800-acre resort development on Mustang Island, and work is under way, according to this article on Cybergolf.


The project’s backers recently hired KemperSports to oversee development and operations of the new Newport Golf Club. The resort’s first 18-hole layout, an Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, is part of the first phase of construction within the budding coastal community called Newport Beach and Golf.

Upon completion, the resort community, the brainchild of partners Craig Millard and Charles Castor of Texas Gulf & Harbor Ltd., will bring residential villages, multiple hotels, a marina, tennis and beach clubs, two golf courses and additional amenities to Mustang Island, located on the south end of Port Aransas.

As we reported several months ago, the Palmer course is expected to sit entirely on the beach side of Highway 361, routed amidst the dunes. The second course, rumored to be designed by Jack Nicklaus, would sit on the other side of the highway.

All I've got to say is they better make these courses easy, because the wind is going to play havoc with golfers. I recall playing in many 3- and even 4-club winds growing up in Corpus Christi - I once hit driver on a par-3, and I hit driver a long way back then - and any golf courses on Mustang Island are going to be killers based on wind alone.

We're No. 1

Well, the University of Texas football team is, anyway. This should make getting into UT related golf tournaments a bit more difficult in the coming year. If Mack Brown is coming to your town for a Quarterback Club meeting and tournament, sign up early.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Golf Blog: Mulligan Stew

A new golf blog named Mulligan Stew (I like it) launched just a few days ago. This is from the guy behind the All Info About Golf website, which is kind enough to list Texas Golf as a "partner site."

Yours truly, Bogey McDuff, might occasionally pop in over at Mulligan Stew if the urge hits me to write about golf that has absolutely nothing to do with Texas.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Austin Muni Closes

Bergstrom Golf Course, originally built in 1954 on the grounds of Bergstrom Air Force Base and since 2000 a City of Austin municipal golf course, shut down for good last week.

As reported by the Austin American-Statesman, the land will be used for improvements and expansions at Austin Bergstrom International Airport, which is what now occupies the land where the air force base once sat.

From the Statesman:

Bergstrom never made the list of the best courses in town. However, it was always popular with seniors, youngsters and those who preferred to walk and appreciated its level terrain. It was a wonderful layout for beginners, and it remained home to many retired Air Force veterans.

Many considered it a consistently playable and enjoyable 18 holes, and, when conditions were right, Bergstrom's greens were regarded among the best in the area. It also was a bargain with green fees of $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends.

Even so, play fell off at Bergstrom in recent months as word of its approaching demise spread. On one pleasant Saturday this fall, only six foursomes teed it up.

Business picked up considerably in December as golfers went out for a last tour of the course. Saturday, the final day of play, was no exception. With clear skies and a temperature in the 70s, there was a steady stream of golfers from early morning through late afternoon. Carts were not rented after 11 a.m., but play was free to everybody who teed it up after noon.

Like most days at any course, there were a lot of stories to tell. There was a disputed round of 4-under-par 68 early in the day, likely the low round of the final day. Then there was the wayward tee shot on the par-4 fifth that struck an eastbound car on Texas 71. The only damage done was to the psyche of the guy who hit the drive.

"That happens about once a year out here" said assistant pro Jack Marr. "Wouldn't you know one would be today of all days."

Austin is now down to five municipal courses.