Oldest Continuously Operating 18-hole Golf Course in Texas Closes for Construction Jan. 20
HOUSTON, TX (JANUARY 20, 2017) Houston Golf Association (HGA) announced that phase one construction of the historic Gus Wortham Park Golf Course renovation will begin following a groundbreaking ceremony, Friday, Jan. 20 at 11:30 a.m.. Located off of Wayside, near Lawndale, Gus Wortham Park Golf Course will close to undergo a renovation bringing the golf course up to modern standards while preserving its historic design.
On Dec. 31 2015, Houston Golf Association was awarded operations of the facility through a contract with the City of Houston. After working through mutually agreed upon operational transition, the HGA commenced management and maintenance responsibility of Gus Wortham Park Golf Course on Feb. 22, 2016 to operate the facility as 501(c)(3) non-profit self supporting enterprise. Under this structure, the HGA raises private funds for renovation and upgrading of facilities, as well as, reinvestment of cash flow for sustaining facility quality. It is through private funds and support from corporate partners that the Houston Golf Association begins renovation construction of the 108-year old golf course. A campaign is currently underway to initiate construction of phase two, which includes a new clubhouse and community center, educational space for local youth participating in The First Tee of Greater Houston, as well as maintenance and cart storage facilities.
“I’m excited to see HGA begin the renovation of Gus Wortham and restore the course to its former glory,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Once complete, the course and the scope of the overall project, will bring first-class amenities to the East End neighborhood and surrounding communities, while preserving an important legacy in Houston’s remarkable history.”
Situated along Brays Bayou and east of downtown, the Gus Wortham Park Golf Course continues to be an attraction for golfers since the early 1900s, when it was the Houston Country Club. The golf course has been played by many legends in golf including Francis Ouimet and Bobby Jones. All improvements to the 150-acre site will be performed with natural resource sustainability as an overarching principle. Phase one of the golf course renovation will overhaul the irrigation system for better water conservation, add a new irrigation lake for storm water retention, and reestablish creek banks while preserving the uniqueness and beauty of the original design.
“Working alongside the Houston Golf Association, we were able to ensure that the community’s needs were met and enhanced by this exciting restoration project,” said City Council Member Robert Gallegos, who represents the East End. “Gus Wortham is a jewel in our community that has the potential to offer not only a great golfing experience, but serve as a permanent home for a The First Tee youth development and enrichment program serving children in our area.”
Houston Golf Association worked with Council Member Gallegos to accommodate community amenities, including a trail connector, dog park, b-cycle station and space for community gatherings.
“Golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Steve Timms, president of the Houston Golf Association and The First Tee of Greater Houston. “The renovation of Gus Wortham, along with our continued efforts to reinvest back into our neighborhoods by improving public golf courses, helps the HGA further our mission to grow the game, at every age. It is our hope that the impact of our work will be felt for generations to come.”
The impact of the restoration of the Gus Wortham Park Golf Course will enhance quality of life for residents with a best-in-class recreational amenity, be a catalyst for economic development in the East End, and provide expanded educational opportunities for local area youth through programming by the HGA’s wholly-owned subsidiary The First Tee of Greater Houston.
The Houston Golf Association is working with golf course architect Baxter Spann of Finger Dye Spann on the project. Construction on the golf course begins immediately. Estimated completion of phase one is late 2017.