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.

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