Friday, April 30, 2010

Pharaohs CC in Corpus to Close

That's the news in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, which reports that the club will shut down by July.

Pharaohs Country Club will be the second Corpus Christi course to close within a year, following the 2009 closure of Kings Crossing Country Club. The newspaper article paints a bleak picture of golf in Corpus, reporting that rounds at the two municipal courses have fallen, and rounds at Padre Isles Country Club are down 35-percent over the past 10 years.

Pharaohs opened in 1964, designed by Ralph Plummer, and was a private club for most of its first 30 years. In its early years, it was considered a top-flight facility; many of the biggest local tournaments were played there. The LPGA Tour visited Pharaohs several times in the early 1970s, Kathy Whitworth winning one of those tournaments.

In the 1990s, Pharaohs switched to semi-private, still offering memberships but also allowing public play. Despite the oft-repeated claims of Corpus golfers (and I was one for the first 29 years of my life) that the city desperately needed a third public course, golfers never flocked to Pharaohs once it opened to the public. Forget flock, they didn't even trickle in.

I played Pharaohs often in the mid-90s, specifically because the course was usually deserted.

And the Caller-Times reports continuing declines at the other public courses in Corpus.

A couple years ago, the city of Corpus Christi paid the National Golf Foundation a lot of money to study the feasibility of adding a third municipal golf course (joining Oso Beach and Gabe Lozano Sr. golf courses). The NGF said no; focus instead on taking care of the two courses you already have.

Recently, a group of students at Texas A&M-CC studied the local golf scene, and concluded that the city should forget adding another muni and instead focus on taking care of the courses it already has.

Both studies also recommended changes to business plans to make the city's golf courses more self-sustaining, more customer-friendly, better conditioned. The NGF's recommendations were promptly ignored. So, too, will be the student group recommendations. That's just the way it works in Corpus. But if one thing should be clear after the decline in Corpus golf over the past 20 years, it's that another course is not needed.

Farewell, Pharaohs.

3 comments:

  1. I believe that the overall condition of the course is one of the big reasons it doesn't get played much. The last 5 times I played at Pharoahs, the course was in terrible shape. HUGE bare spots in the fairways, clover everywhere, greens that needed a lot of TLC. Had they been able to improve the course in these areas, I think it would have seen a lot more action.

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  2. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Mr. McCullough is correct in his assessment of our facility. The drought we endured last year (nine months of little to no rain) combined with our irrigation system (much of which dates the 1960s), combined with the high salt content of our soil, combined with the resession, combined with the low rates the city golf courses charge for play, combined with the fact that the city uses taxpayer money to fund improvements to city golf courses which compete diretly with privately owned businesses DID contribute to the poor conditioning of our facility. I think you get the picture.

    Love the blog.

    Bill Odom
    Owner
    Pharaohs Golf Club

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  3. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Sorry to hear that Pharaohs is closing. I remember when it was a true "Country Club" type course. I also remember when getting a tee-time in Corpus on the weekends was almost impossible if you didn't speed dial on Wed at 8:00 am. Pharaohs was always the option, but usually in a little better shape. I will miss it.

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