Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Join the TGA Foundation for the 100-Hole Hike

The much-anticipated 100-Hole Hike fundraising event is back for 2023, and the TGA will be taking part again this year to raise money and awareness for Youth on Course Texas, a program that helps ensure young people in the state have affordable access to golf and the life-changing opportunities that come with playing the sport.

Youth on Course Texas is a partnership between the TGA Foundation (TGAF) and Youth on Course (YOC), a national non-profit, grow-the-game initiative that allows members ages 6-18 to play golf for $5 or less, and provides opportunities for paid internships, caddie programs, and college scholarships. The TGAF and YOC first teamed up in January 2020 to launch a pilot project in the San Antonio area with 11 courses and 450 initial members. Over the past three and a half years, the two organizations have worked together to expand the reach of Youth on Course Texas to now include more than 60 courses statewide with nearly 3,500 members. To date, the TGAF and YOC have contributed approximately $125,000 to courses to subsidize more than 25,000 rounds of golf.

The 100-Hole Hike is often referred to as golf’s ultimate charitable challenge, and for good reason. YOC supporters become “Hikers” to take on the challenge of playing and walking 100 holes of golf in one day at one of the 100-Hole Hike host sites across the country, all while raising millions of charitable dollars for youth access to golf.

Two intrepid TGA Foundation/Outreach Managers, Brian Fry and Destany Hall, will be participating in the 100-Hole Hike this year at one of the two host sites in Texas. Fry and Hall, along with other hearty Texas Hikers, will be taking on the challenge at F.M. Law Park Golf Course in Houston on Oct. 20. The other host site is the Horse Course at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas on Oct. 30.

“I am really looking forward to my 100-Hole Hike and representing the Texas Golf Association at F. M. Law,” Fry said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the game of golf by raising money for Youth on Course.”

Hall is also ready for the sunup to sundown fundraising golfing expedition in Houston.

“My 100-Hole Hike will be challenging but fueled by the joy of knowing the effort is helping to make sure more young people have affordable access to play golf and to learn and grow,” she said. “With each step, swing, and dollar raised, we forge a stronger community, dedicated to equipping youth with the essential resources for success in both the game of golf and the journey of life.”

Fry and Hall will be rallying support from friends, family, and colleagues, to raise money either through pledges for the number of holes they play or through one-time donations. A $100 donation will help subsidize roughly 20 rounds of golf for Youth on Course Texas members and so much more. If you would like to donate now and help support Fry and Hall in their 100-Hole Hike, click here.

To learn more about Youth on Course Texas, click here. To take on golf’s ultimate charitable challenge as a Hiker, click here.

Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

2nd Texas Adaptive Championship Set for Oct. 9-11

The Texas Adaptive Golf Association (TAGA) is hosting the 2nd Texas Adaptive Championship presented by Surf & Turf Golf Oct. 9-11 at Moody Gardens Golf Course in Galveston. The Texas Golf Association is proud to support the TAGA again this year, and will have staff members, rules officials, and volunteers onsite to assist with championship administration.

“We are excited to be working alongside the Texas Adaptive Golf Association and to help stage this year’s Texas Adaptative Championship,” said Kelly Kilgo, Managing Director of TGA Foundation/Outreach. “We look forward to welcoming adaptive golfers from all over the U.S. to the great state of Texas and we know they will enjoy the competition at Moody Gardens Golf Course.”

Based in Fort Worth, TAGA was founded by Bobby Bell, Randy Shack, and Josh Tankersley in order to bring the game of adaptive golf to Texas. It is a member of the U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA), a national coalition of leading adaptive golf organizations working together to grow the game of golf for the special needs community through access, instruction, and competition. The USAGA works with its member organizations to conduct adaptive golf tournaments throughout the U.S. using the USAGA Ranking and Competition Standards to promote fair and equitable play.

As one of the newer USAGA-sanctioned events on the national schedule, some of the best golfers with disabilities from around the country will be competing in the 2nd edition of the Texas Adaptive Championship, and Moody Gardens Golf Course is sure to be an ideal host venue.

Designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy, Moody Gardens Golf Course opened in 2008. The par-72 layout, situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Sydnor Bayou, is routed through a natural landscape of marshes and inlets, native grassy areas, and wind-swept dunes. With pristine course conditions, panoramic views, and hundreds of swaying palm trees, Moody Gardens will provide a memorable experience for the players.

Entry into the 2nd Texas Adaptive Championship is open to all male and female golfers, both amateur and professional, who meet the player eligibility and player classification standards established by the USAGA. The championship will feature multiple divisions and will be contested over 36 holes of stroke play under the 2023 Rules of Golf that now provides Modifications for Players with Disabilities (Rule 25) to allow players with specific disabilities to play fairly with players who have no disabilities, the same disability or a different type of disability.

To learn more about TAGA, click here. If you are interested in volunteering at the 2nd Texas Adaptive Championship at Moody Gardens, email Kelly Kilgo at TGA Foundation/Outreach.

Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Women’s Senior Stroke Play Heads West

The Women’s Senior Stroke Play makes its first journey ever to the Concho Valley region when Bentwood Country Club in San Angelo hosts the 34th edition of the championship from Sept. 18-20.

This will be the second TGA championship conducted at Bentwood Country Club. In 2020, the club hosted the West Texas Amateur, won by J.T. Pittman.

“We are so pleased to be back at Bentwood Country Club for the Women’s Senior Stroke Play,” said Katie O’Connell, TGA Tournament Coordinator. “We know the club will be a great host for the championship and that the players are looking forward to competing on this terrific course for the first time.”

Founded in 1978, Bentwood Country Club is the centerpiece of a master-planned community located near the shores of Lake Nasworthy. Designed by Billy Martindale and Jeffery Blume, the golf course has all the elements of a classic parkland layout, including narrow fairways, numerous water hazards, prominent bunkering, and large, undulating green complexes.

“You have to do all the right things at Bentwood because there is little margin for error,” O’Connell said. “It requires precise shot-making and sound course strategy from tee to green and will pose a challenging but fair test for every player in the field.”

The 34th Women’s Senior Stroke Play will be contested over 54 holes of individual stroke play with no cut.

The 96-player starting field, comprised of female amateur golfers 50 years of age or older, is separated into divisions based on a player’s WHS Handicap Index® and will compete from different tees and yardages, with individual champions recognized in each division. The 16 players with the lowest handicap indexes will be required to play in the Championship Division, plus those players who opted into the Championship Division at the time entries were submitted. The remaining players will compete in Flight Divisions. There are also age group divisions for Super Seniors (65-69 years of age) and Legends (70+ years of age).

Marilyn Hardy of Magnolia returns to defend her title after an exciting victory in last year’s championship at Shady Valley Country Club in Arlington. Hardy eagled the par-5 18th hole to post a final round 2-over-par 74 and 9-over 225 total to finish two shots clear of runner-up Kelley Nittoli of San Antonio. It was the second Women’s Senior Stroke Play title for Hardy, who won the 22nd championship in 2011 at Sweetwater Country Club.

Three other former champions will be joining Hardy in San Angelo. They are Mina Hardin of Fort Worth, Marian Barker of Lubbock, and Anna Schultz of Rockwall. Since 2008, these four players have combined to win 11 of the 15 Women’s Senior Stroke Play Championships conducted during that stretch.

Several top finishers from the 2022 championship are also in this year’s starting field and include Nittoli, Claudia Ramirez of San Antonio (T4), D’Lynn McCoppin of Corinth (T6), and Kathy Crumley, also of San Antonio (9th).

For more on the 34th Women’s Senior Stroke Play Championship, click here.

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Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

86th Texas Senior Amateur Travels to Amarillo Country Club

From the U.S. Route 66/Sixth Street District and the Panhandle-Plains Museum to the Big Texan Steakhouse and the Cadillac Ranch, all around town there are signs pointing to Amarillo’s colorful past and present.

In a quiet corner on the western edge of downtown is another beloved local landmark, Amarillo Country Club, that has been an important part of the city’s fabric for over a century. And soon the venerable club will be writing another chapter in its own illustrious history when it welcomes the 86th Texas Senior Amateur from Sept. 8-10.

This will be the first TGA major and third overall championship to be held at Amarillo Country Club, which previously hosted the 2016 Women’s Senior Stroke Play, won by Texas Golf Hall of Famer Carolyn Creekmore, and the 2018 West Texas Amateur, won by David Bolen.

“We are honored to be back at Amarillo Country Club and to have the opportunity to conduct one of our most important championships at such a remarkable venue,” said Chris Untiedt, TGA Senior Tournament Director. “The club has been a tremendous supporter of amateur golf and it is a privilege to be working with the members and staff in providing a truly memorable experience for the players.”

Established in 1919 by banker and oilman Charles A. Fisk, Amarillo Country Club was the first of its kind in the Texas Panhandle. The course was designed by William McConnell, who took advantage of the natural terrain of what was once rolling farmland to create one of the best layouts in West Texas. Warren Cantrell revised the course in 1960, with additional revisions from Jay Morrish in 1983.

After nearly 30 years without any significant upgrades, in 2011 the membership approved an extensive modernization plan overseen by Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design. The multimillion-dollar project touched on every aspect of the course including the rerouting of several holes, regrading landing zones and approaches, repositioning tees and bunkers, and rebuilding and reshaping green complexes. To improve playing conditions, more than 350 trees were removed, a new irrigation and drainage system was installed, and the course was reseeded with cool-season grasses.

The impressive renovation produced a challenging par-71 layout, which can now stretch to nearly 7,000 yards, highlighted by twisting doglegs in both directions, deep bunkers, canted greens, and thick fescue rough around the playing perimeters.

“Amarillo has a remarkable variety of holes and is a great test of strategy and execution,” Untiedt said. “The course is going to be in fantastic condition for the championship and we are confident it will provide a tremendous arena for the talented senior amateurs to showcase their skills.”

To continue to ensure the strongest fields possible for the state’s premier amateur championship for players 55 years of age and older, an 18-hole qualifying stage has been established for all except exempt players, beginning in 2023. In addition, there are also expanded pathways into the championship through increased exemption categories, including the top players ranked in the World Amateur Golf Rankings®.

Sandy Pierce of Houston won last year’s Texas Senior Amateur in a playoff at Champions Golf Club’s Jackrabbit Course and is one of seven past champions among the 70 players who were fully exempt from having to qualify. Joining Pierce are Gary Durbin of Houston (who won in 2019 and 2021), John Derrick of Waco (2020), Lewis Stephenson of Burleson (2016, ’18), Mike Booker of Houston (2015), Mike Peck of Irving (2013), and Chuck Palmer of Dallas (2012).

Among the other exempt players are current North Senior Amateur champion John Schaefer of Plano and Texas Super Senior champion Chuck Gardner of Texarkana, as well as top finishers from the 2022 championship including Andrew Hydorn of Houston (Runner-Up), Terrence Miskell of New Braunfels (T3), Kyle Kelting of Amarillo (T3), David Ortego of Spring (T6), Lee Sandlin of Dallas (T9), and Tray Tyner of Kerrville (T9).

The remaining 74 spots in the 144-player starting field will be filled with the players who successfully advanced out of the 18-hole qualifiers held Aug. 1-22 at five sites statewide.

The format for the championship is 54 holes of individual stroke play. All contestants play 18 holes on both Sept. 8-9. After 36 holes the field will be cut to the low 54 scorers and ties heading into the final round.

With so many accomplished players vying for the state’s most coveted senior title at Amarillo Country Club, there should be plenty of high drama on the High Plains in early September.

For more on the 86th Texas Senior Amateur, click here.

Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Member Club Spotlight: Galveston Country Club

There might not be another golf facility in Texas with a more storied history than Galveston Country Club. Never mind that it’s the oldest country club in Texas, founded in the spring of 1898. Forget that members from Galveston Country Club competed in the first-ever Texas interclub championship, a match play affair against Houston Country Club in 1904 – two years before the Texas Golf Association existed.

To understand Galveston Country Club’s essential role in the story of golf in Texas, put aside those facts and simply consider the powerhouse names attached to the club as it celebrates its 125th anniversary this summer. That list includes icons such as Willie Park Sr., winner of the inaugural Open Championship in 1860; A.W. Tillinghast, perhaps the all-time greatest American golf course designer; Donald Ross, another U.S. golf course architect argued to be one of the best ever; and Jackie Burke Jr., winner of the 1956 Masters and PGA Championship and co-founder of Champions Golf Club in Houston.

All four giants of the game have direct ties to Galveston CC, the delightfully tricky course on the west end of the island that features playing conditions as good as or better than anything you’ll find in the Houston area.

Two decades before teaming with Jimmy Demaret to bring the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup to north Houston in the 1960s, Burke was the head professional at Galveston CC in the 1940s. He also set the course record of 8-under-par 63 in 1942, besting the previous record of 6-under 65 set by Byron Nelson. Meanwhile, Ross, just 12 years after he conceived Pinehurst No. 2, built one of the courses for Galveston CC, a club that has suffered multiple catastrophic hurricane and fire disasters.

Tillinghast’s role was smaller, yet just as significant. The architectural genius who worked on more than 265 courses, including Winged Foot and Baltusrol, visited Galveston CC in 1937as part of a PGA of America program that allowed clubs to request expert analysis. Tillinghast walked every inch of the course with then-head pro George Rohrer, and gave him recommendations on how to tweak the routing and alter agronomy practices to give members an elevated experience.

Long before that, Willie Park Sr.’s son Mungo Park, who won the Open Championship himself in 1874, designed the original Galveston CC nine-hole course in 1898 and served as the club’s first head pro. How those original 30 members were able to convince a Scottish architect of Park’s pedigree to build their course and become head pro is unknown, lost in the debris of a club that has changed locations several times.

Another mystery concerns the reasons why Galveston CC has never been inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and isn’t listed among the Texas Registry of Historic Golf Courses. It might be the same explanation as to why the club’s name doesn’t appear on any of the popular Top-100 course ranking lists.

Golf in Texas started at Galveston CC. Full stop. As for quality, anyone who has played Galveston CC will tell you there’s not 50 – let alone 100 – better courses in Texas. With narrow fairways and fast greens, Galveston CC is a shot-maker’s playground on a type of grass most golfers don’t often encounter.

So why is it so criminally under the radar?

One reason is not enough people have seen it. Way down on the west side of Galveston Island, it’s a hike to get to for most golfers. It’s private, too, so it’s not like everyone who wants to play it can. Boy, are they missing out.

Houston’s Padden Nelson, winner of the TGA’s 2021 South Amateur at Galveston CC, offers an alternate theory on why the island course doesn’t get its due respect.

“I think part of it being under-appreciated is that it’s 6,500 yards on the scorecard. Most golf bros will see this yardage and scoff, but that’s because they’re dummies,” Nelson said. “I love the fact that you can’t muscle your way around the course; you have to have a gameplan. While it isn’t tricked up at all, it also isn’t a bomb-and-gouge golf course. If you think it is, let me know if there is room in your group and bring your wallet.”

Nelson was the only competitor out of 80 elite amateurs who shot under par all three days at the South Amateur. There are plenty of holes where players can be tempted to pound driver, but the course also demands patience, respect, and accuracy. Nelson displayed all three and posted 9-under 207 to win by five shots. He’s also right about the total yardage as Galveston CC tips out at just 6,507 yards from the No. 1 tees. There are three more sets of tees that shrink it to 6,128 yards (No. 2 tees), 5,607 (No. 3 tees), and 4,965 yards (No. 4 tees).

It’s not a long course, but the small, undulating greens, palm tree-framed doglegs, and sneaky water features make for a stern challenge. The course’s main defense is the wind, of course. Situated less than a mile from the gulf, the current-day version of the golf course regularly sees 15-20 mph winds with stronger gusts. A calm day at Galveston CC is a steady 10-15 mph breeze.

Interestingly, when Texas Golf Hall of Fame member Ralph Plummer routed the current course located at 12 Mile Post and Stewart Road, he didn’t create many straight into-the-wind or straight downwind holes with the prevailing southwesterly air currents. Instead, most of the holes are positioned to have some kind of crosswind to navigate off the tee.

“You have to have complete control of the golf ball,” said Nelson, the 2021 South Texas Player of the Year. “The wind magnifies any mishit or indecisiveness. The natural penalty areas are in perfect spots to play mind games with the golfer who has any doubt, especially from the tee.”

Regardless of where golfers choose to peg it, there are a few things they can expect to experience besides the gulf breezes. The first is superb playing conditions. Superintendent Jeff Smelser and his crew keep Galveston CC in excellent condition year-round. Easy going and humble, Smelser says it’s the commitment to excellence from the club’s board of directors that allows him to maintain the course in A+ shape for the 1,660 members, which includes 400 stockholders and 1,260 golf-playing social members.

Past presidents JP Hershey and Bob Senter, along with longtime employee and recently named General Manager Nick Elton, worked with the board over the past several years to create a family-like environment at the club. It’s not just family-friendly for the members, either. The staff, too, operates like a loving group, one in which everyone wants to see everyone else succeed and enjoy the spoils of their efforts.

“We’re really a unique club,” said current president Jackie Fluke, who has expanded the synergistic relationship between the board, staff, and members. “Many of our members live in Houston and come down to the island to relax. That’s what we offer. The chance for our members to get away from the stress of everyday life.”

Donnie St. Germain has been the head pro for more than 20 years now. Among a thousand other things, St. Germain handles the tee sheet. The club does about 16,000-18,000 rounds a year, but that number jumped to 20,000 during the pandemic. Most of those rounds are played between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but St. Germain will tell you the best time of the year to play is October-December.

He also credits the board for their support.

“What I’ve noticed in the last 10 years is they always ask, ‘What can we do to make it better?’” St. Germain said. “Whether it’s the restaurant, the golf course, the tennis courts, it’s always, ‘What can we do to take this club to the next level?’”

That ambition manifested in 2003 when the board elected to re-turf the entire golf course with a strain of grass that was, at the time, pretty radical, choosing Sea Dwarf Paspalum Grass for the greens and Sea Isle Paspalum and Common Bermuda Grass for fairways and rough.

Paspalum is a tough, sticky blade of grass that is tolerant to saltwater and other harsh elements found in island settings. It’s commonly used these days at some of the best seaside courses around the world, and in 2009 the Houston Astros became the first Major League Baseball team to replace their infield and outfield with a Paspalum strain.

That’s the other thing guests and new members can expect at Galveston CC – an adjustment to playing on the vibrant-green Paspalum. The ball sits up nicely in the fairway, but around the greens it’s a different story. The grass is sticky and thick. You’re not going to run many iron shots onto the green from the fairway. When balls hit the fringe, they stop almost like Velcro. Chip shots into the grain can be extremely challenging. Flying the ball closer to the hole becomes the best bet.

Overall, the challenges of playing on Paspalum are far outweighed by its saltwater tolerance and ability to remain healthy and lush throughout the year. It’s allowed Smelser to create Member-Guest-like conditions for 360+ days a year.

“The Paspalum is somewhat drought-tolerant, but it 100% tolerates the saltwater and high sodium levels. It’s definitely an advantage,” Smelser said. “If we ever get a hurricane, we’re not going to lose everything now.”

That wasn’t always the case.

In fact, the very first Galveston CC course, the one designed and built by Mungo Park in 1898, was completely destroyed along with the clubhouse when the 1900 Galveston hurricane ripped through the island and killed more than 6,000 people.

Ten years later the club relocated to the mainland about 15 miles from the shore near Dickinson Bayou. Membership grew to 300, then 350 – almost half came from Houston – as an ornate clubhouse was built a short walk from the new Interurban rail line that connected the sprawling metropolis to the north with the island down south. The club was a bustling social center until a tragic fire burned down the clubhouse in October 1918. Poorly insured at the time, the club fell on the verge of financial ruin.

In 1919, the club voted to return to the island. They hired Ross to build a new course (the third version if you’re counting). Three years before Ross designed and built the acclaimed River Oaks Country Club in Houston, he first did it for Galveston CC near the nexus of 61st Street and Ave. S, just three blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. There was a street entrance to the club, and one from the beach, too.

At 6,024 yards from the back tees, the Ross-designed course flourished for a stretch of time. The 1926 Women’s Texas Amateur was contested there, and the great amateur champion Bobby Jones played the course in 1928. No doubt both Jones and the field at the Women’s Texas Amateur were challenged by devious crosswinds and tiny greens that were defended by well-placed bunkers.

Burke became the head pro there in 1941, but he moved on a couple years later. Galveston CC survived hurricanes in 1941 and 1943, but membership declined during World War II because of the draft and federally mandated gas rationing.

Another fire claimed the clubhouse in 1944 or 1945 (accounts differ). The club, saddled with debt and a shrinking membership, was forced to sell back to the City of Galveston for $75,000. The property became a (Donald Ross-designed!) municipal course, which unfortunately doesn’t exist today.

In June 1946, the club bought the property on which the club currently lives off Stewart Road. The board hired another influential architect to sculpt this version. Plummer, who designed or renovated the likes of Northwood Club, Lakewood Country Club, Champions Golf Club, Colonial Country Club, and Preston Trails Golf Club, carved out 18 thoughtful holes in 1947 that has offered Galveston CC members and guests a balance of joy and aggravation ever since.

The course was razed and rebuilt in 1961 after Hurricane Carla, and Carlton Gipson re-surfaced the greens in 1990. The Jacobson-Hardy design team renovated Galveston CC in 2003 when the Paspalum went in.

There have been other renovations – the clubhouse, restaurant, tennis courts, and pool all have been upgraded in recent years – including the addition of an island green on the par-5 sixth hole in 1992 by famed designer Chet Williams.

With a desire for more recognition, Galveston CC wants to open its doors again to more distinguished events. Back in the day, the club routinely supported competitive amateur golf. The Texas Amateur was played there in 1909 and 1923, and it hosted the Women’s Texas Amateur in 1926, 1933, and 1941.

In the 80 or so years that followed, however, there haven’t been as many big events contested there. And since it’s private, there hasn’t been much opportunity for golf course raters or the general golfing public to experience how the Galveston CC course can at the same time be a thrill to play and extremely challenging.

Things are changing, however.

The 2021 South Amateur was just the start of Galveston CC’s return to hosting competitive events. The club welcomed a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier earlier this summer, and the 2023 Texas Shootout featuring 24 of the best male amateurs in Texas will be played at Galveston CC in November.

Future plans call for more TGA Championships to head to Galveston CC with the hope that as more golfers get to experience the unique nature of the well-conditioned course, the club’s reputation and stature will reach the lofty summit that its rich history suggests it deserves.

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The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Condon, Tyner win at Tournament of Champions

Briefly: Luke Condon of Kaufman fired rounds of 70-68 for a total 138, four-under-par to capture the Tournament of Champions Open Division,  Trey Tyner of Kerville ran away from the competition to capture the Senior Division title at the Tournament of Champions with the only two rounds under par 70-70-140.

Final Results

Golf Course: Champions Golf Club was created and opened by World Golf Hall of Famers and Masters Champions Jack Burke Jr. and Jimmy Demeret.  Opened in 1956 the Cypress Creek designed by famed golf course architect Ralph Plummer.  The Jackrabbit course followed closely behind, opened in 1959 and designed by George Fazio and renovated in 2002 by Tom Fazio.  Champions Golf Club has hosted some of golfs biggest events including the Ryder Cup, U.S. Open and Women’s Open, the U.S. Amateur, and many more.

Weather: Saturday’s first round saw players tee off at a temperature of 98 degrees, temperatures reached up to 104 degrees, humidity was at 37%.  Sunday’s final round was equally hot with the temperature again reaching 103 degrees.

Top Finishers: Luke Condon, Open Division champion, qualified for the Tournament of Champions through the Medalist North Series in 2023, came into the final round tied with three other players after Saturdays’ first round play on Champions Golf Clubs Jackrabbit course.  Condons first round consisted of four birdies and three bogeys.  Condon said of the Jackrabbit course “the course is sneaky hard, you don’t have to hit a bad shot and you can still get penalized.”  His second round on the Cypress Creek course saw him shoot the second lowest score of the day three-under-par 68 which was just enough to claim the championship.  Condon shot a tournament high six birdies on Cypress Creek including hole 17 which would be the deciding birdie in the Tournament of Champions.

Trey Tyner, qualified for the Tournament of Champions through the Medalist Hill Country in 2023, used a stellar first round on Jackrabbit to put distance between himself and the other senior division competitors.  Tyner fired the only round under par for the Senior Division in the tournament and he did so on both Jackrabbit and Cypress Creek.  Tyner only carded bogey or worse on two holes for the entire tournament, finishing with five birdies across both courses.

Finishing in second place in the Open Division was Conroe’s Clay Fullick.  Fullick entered the final round two shots behind the leaders after a one-over-par 72. Fullick used the lowest round of the tournament to make a furious run at the championship shooting 67 in the final round and going three-under-par for his final nine holes.  His comeback attempt would fall one stroke short after Condon made birdie on 17 to move to four-under-par for the championship.  Tied for third place for the tournament Joey Gullion and Carson Cooper both from Spring.  Gullion and Cooper were both co-leaders after round one firing one-under-par 70 on Jackrabbit.  Gullion and Cooper then fired the same score on Cypress Creek two-over-par 73.

Finishing second in the Senior Division Steven Trafton of Jonestown, Trafton fired rounds of 76-77 for a total 153 for the Tournament.  Rounding out the top three in the Senior Division were Duncan Burch of Marble Falls and John Vidales of Deer Park who both shot 155 for the event.

Medalist POY: The 2023 Medalist Season has officially concluded, to view final player of the year point standings click here.

What’s Next: With the conclusion of the TGA Regional series and Tournament of Champions, next on the state championship schedule is the Texas Four-Ball.  The Four-Ball will be contested August 18-20 at Pinecrest Country Club in Longview. Texas Mid-Amateur qualifying is underway for the TGA with sites scattered across the state for the next two months. The 40th Texas Mid-Amateur will be hosted by Midland Country Club September 29-October 1.

More Info: The Texas Golf Association extends its sincere appreciation to the staff, members of Champions Golf Club their time and effort made the Tournament of Champions a memorable and successful event. For more information on the Tournament of Champions, click here.

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The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Welcome to the TGA Clubhouse

Texas Golf Association is pleased to introduce the TGA Clubhouse, your new home for TGA member benefits and partner offers. TGA Clubhouse is an exclusive online portal and access is free for all current, active TGA members.

What’s inside the TGA Clubhouse?

The TGA Store
Welcome to the new and exclusive source for TGA-branded golf apparel and accessories for men, women, and youth from popular labels, including:

  • Adidas
  • Callaway
  • Cutter & Buck
  • Donald Ross
  • Dunning
  • Nike
  • The North Face
  • Puma Golf
  • Straight Down
  • Turtleson
  • And many more…

TGA Partners
TGA is pleased to offer members a curated collection of discounts and offers from our Preferred and Featured partners, including providers of apparel, footwear, equipment, accessories, and experiences, such as:

  • Edison Golf
  • 2nd Swing Golf
  • Arccos Golf
  • Dimple & Divot
  • Hazy Sticks
  • Puttr Co.
  • SwetTailor
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  • And many more…

TGA Travel
Set a course for adventure with more than 850,000 members-only discounts on local dining and retailers, online shopping, travel, and entertainment. TGA now puts the world at your fingertips, so get onboard to plan your next bucket-list experience.

How do I access TGA Clubhouse?

Once you’ve signed up, it’s as easy as visiting the TGA website and clicking the TGA Clubhouse banner on the homepage.

If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s never too late, just follow these quick, easy steps:

  1. Visit the TGA Clubhouse activation page.
  2. Click Activate Now and complete the Sign-Up Form using the email address associated with your GHIN account.
  3. Enter the 6-digit verification code you will receive via email from TGA Clubhouse.
  4. Once approved, you will receive a final confirmation email from TGA inviting you to visit the TGA Clubhouse site to sign in (Hint: check your Junk or Spam folder just in case).
  5. At the TGA Clubhouse homepage, click Member Login and enter your email address and password. You will be redirected to your personal Member Locker page and all your new member benefits.

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USGA Unveils $30 Million Commitment to Advance Water Resilience

15-year collaborative effort is aimed at increasing adoption of proven water conservation measures, including tailored solutions for courses and communities across the U.S.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) recently announced it will be accelerating its work toward a more sustainable game with the deployment of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar investment toward reducing golf’s use of water.

The organization’s $30 million commitment over the next 15 years will advance underutilized strategies and technologies that golf courses can use to economically reduce their use of water, a vital and increasingly regulated natural resource with near- and long-term cost and availability concerns. The work will focus on irrigation optimization, advanced conservation innovation and water sourcing and storage.

“The long-term economic and environmental sustainability of green-grass golf courses – where more than 25 million people enjoy the game and millions more are employed – will be challenged in certain regions if the game doesn’t advance this critical work now,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “We are enthused and impressed by the reductions golf course superintendents have pursued over the past decade, and even more optimistic about the future. The USGA is ready to not only contribute our voice, but also our resources and expertise, to help our golf course partners and ensure golf’s future.”

The effort will integrate the longstanding industry leadership of the USGA Green Section – composed of agronomists and turfgrass experts – with university researchers, golf course owners, superintendents, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), regional golf associations, architects, industry partners and water agencies.

Over the next 15 years, the USGA, along with industry allies and practitioners, will:

• Launch and continuously update a water resilience playbook for the game of golf

• Demonstrate underutilized and emerging, research-based practices

• Understand and break down barriers to adoption of proven strategies (including financial barriers)

• Continue to support water resilience research and turfgrass breeding programs

The work toward greater water resilience propels many of the current and emerging practices employed throughout golf, which have already led to a 29% reduction in golf’s use of water from 2005-2020 (Golf Course Environmental Profile, GCSAA, 2022). The USGA’s initiative will build on that benchmark, with the goal of greater adoption that could potentially lead to water use reduction by as much as 45% depending on geographic regions, water availability and budgets.

“The move toward greater water resilience requires everyone in golf to actively participate and bring their best efforts forward, with golf courses utilizing the assets available to them within their geographic region,” said Matt Pringle, Ph.D., managing director of the USGA Green Section. “Importantly, this is not about mandates, but an important call to action to the golf industry to work together towards a common goal.”

The proactive planning process is being led by Cole Thompson, Ph.D., who leads the USGA’s Davis Grant Program via annual research grants, and Matteo Serena, Ph.D., a leading expert in water conservation in the Southwest who joined the USGA last summer.

The USGA is partnering in 2023 with golf courses on numerous field projects that are designed to show where and when the water conservation potential of a strategy outweighs the investment and disruption required for implementation. For example, research supports that drought-tolerant grasses use approximately 20 percent less water than commonly used varieties, depending on location and grassing scheme, and installing them typically pay off in five to 10 years.

With a goal of identifying early adopters, the USGA will continue to collaborate in a series of water summits in several states (three have already been held in California) along with its Allied Golf Associations, as it seeks to draw the best talent and innovations toward the program’s goals.

The organization will also work together with golf courses on sharing best practices and innovations that could be more widely adopted to advance program goals.

More information on water and golf courses can be found at