I am actually writing this week's update for Jay as he is busy with the sprigging process on the Forest greens as I'm preparing this report. There has been a tremendous amount of progress over the last week or so with the Forest Course. Sprigs are going down today and tomorrow.
Other highlights from the past week include:New Tiff 419 collars installed on all 20 greens under renovation.Many of the most severe mounds were reshaped and softened including holes 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17 and 18.New Championship tee boxes built on holes 7 and 13.
In addition, we have aerified the Forest course once, wall to wall, and will be doing so again prior to re-opening. We have also double verticut all fairways. The golf course is really shaping up nicely.
Director of Golf
It has been another busy week in golf course maintenance. We were able to get the Island, Lake, and Marsh all verticut and topdressed this week. This should help improve both the smoothness and speed of all the greens.
This week we have also been concentrating on getting bunkers and yardage markers edged on the courses. We hope to get all of the yardage plates cleaned and painted over the next few weeks. This should help with club selection and pace of play issues.
On the Forest this week we completed the first cutting of the rough since the course closed. All of those millions of Bermuda grass seeds should have dropped down into the soil and with some luck, fertilizer, and a couple of timely rains we should see the density of the rough dramatically improved by the time we reopen.
The staff is also busy working on repairing all of the broken and collapsed drains around the course. As they are repaired we are pouring a concrete collar around them which should make them stronger, easier to keep clean and edged, and more aesthetically pleasing.
During our construction closure we are also taking the opportunity to work on several playability issues including, but not limited to, drainage, bunkers, bare areas, and over all turf health and vigor.
The contractor has all of the old greens mix removed and should have over half of the greens refilled with new mix by the time you receive this. The sprinklers around the greens have been changed out and all of the irrigation controllers have been changed out with new state of the art computer controls.
If the weather holds out like it has so far we hope to begin tarping and gassing greens no later than next Wednesday. I would again like to remind everyone to stay away from the greens while they are covered with the plastic and also please keep your pets away.
We will see you around the courses.
Jay and Duke
What a week!!! We started off the week with almost 7 inches of rain between Monday and Wednesday. We always appreciate Mother Nature's help, but this was a little more than we really needed. It definitely greened up the turf , but slowed work on all of the courses this week as we waited for it to finish raining and then began unclogging drains and shoveling up bunkers on all of the courses.
The decision was made last weekend to postpone the aerification on the Island by a week with the inclement weather forecasted. This worked out to everyone's advantage in that we were able to utilize all of the aerification equipment to get Deerwood completed Wednesday after the rain subsided and allowed us to only have one course besides the Forest down at a time. This will also make for better conditions for the MGA Match Play tournament the next two weekends as both sets of greens they will be playing will be in non-aerified condition.
Hopefully you have seen the pictures of the Forest course renovation on Facebook. I will take pictures every couple of days and have them posted there so that you can follow the progress of the renovation. The construction crew began staking and stripping greens on Wednesday. The stakes you see in the green allow us to put the grades back to the original specifications. We will be making some modifications to a couple of greens to compensate for increased green speed and to give us more pin locations. We will also be making major modifications to the practice putting green outside of the Forest golf shop to provide you with more flat area to warm up before heading out to the course.
This week on the Forest, other than pulling in all of the amenities, we have harvested sod to repair the Marsh greens. The sod from the green on 15 of the Forest has taken up new residency as the new green on 1 of the Marsh. The green should be back in play within 2 weeks if all goes as planned. Next week we will begin aerifying the Forest wall to wall to help promote healthier turf and help fill in weak and bare areas.
The Island course crew has dug out and replaced the sand in the bunkers on 11 this week with plans of starting on 10 next week once they finish aerifying.
Please use caution when riding the Forest course during construction as the heavy equipment operators are not expecting you to be there.
We will see you around the courses.
Jay and Duke
The Clubs of Kingwood is one of the world’s largest private country clubs with 90 holes of golf, 3 driving ranges, 2 clubhouses, 26 lighted tennis courts, a waterpark, fitness center and over 3,600 members. The town of Kingwood is a sprawling residential area with over 83,000 residents.
No one could have envisioned the enormous growth and success of both the Kingwood Country Club and the surrounding community of Kingwood when flying over the almost impenetrable swamps and forests of the Foster Lumber Company in 1968. In the fall of 1968, Kings Ranch had the opportunity to purchase a 40,000-acre tract of land from the Foster Lumber Corporation, who had been using this densely forested swamp area to harvest timber. This area rarely had human visitors, outside of a handful of lumberjacks and hunters, and boasted a teeming array of wildlife including wild pigs, deer, bobcats, panthers, alligators, coyotes and wolves.
King’s Ranch asked the Exxon Corporation to advise them on the investment opportunities associated with the purchase of this large tract of land. Exxon referred this project to one of its subsidiary corporations, Friendswood, Inc. A feasibility study conducted by Friendswood suggested selling off two large tracts of land totaling 25,000 acres, retaining a 12,000 acre tract at Fostoria for future development and retaining the 13,000 acre “Lake Houston Tract” to develop a master-planned community. Friendswood was, at the time, in the middle of their planned community project, Clear Lake City, and saw a promising future in this new concept of “Planned Communities.” As a result, Kings Ranch, Inc. and Friendswood entered into a joint venture with Kingwood properties to develop the Lake Houston Tract, with Friendswood being the developing partner.
The development that is now Kingwood, began with the clearing of land in the spring of 1969. The dirt road entrance to the logging camp was transformed into what is now Woodland Hills Drive, which was a single-lane road that dead-ended into Trailwood Village. The Kingwood Drive entrance would not be completed until the following year.
The master plan for Kingwood called for a series of residential villages that were to be connected by “Linear Parkways,” now known throughout the world as “greenbelts.” Kingwood was one of the first master communities in the U.S. to utilize greenbelts to connect all the separate housing areas (villages) within a large development. But, before any houses were to be built, a revolutionary concept was being formulated that would make Kingwood one of the most talked about communities of the decade. This concept used golf as the recreational drawing card for the master community’s house sales.
Throughout human history, unique and grandiose projects have been driven by people with great vision - men who would look at a swampy forest and see the future of America’s community neighborhoods.
In the fall of 1969, two such men joined forces to form a historic alliance that would mold the future of Kingwood. Bob Dedman, President of Club Corporation of America (CCA) and John Turner, President of Friendswood, formulated a novel idea to build the golf course before any houses were built.
The Kingwood Properties entered into another joint venture with CCA to build a country club within the new community. It would be called Kingwood Country Club. The first phase would include building a championship 18-hole golf course, four tennis courts, one swimming pool and a clubhouse with appropriate parking facilities. Each area was master planned for expansion. As the community would grow, the club would grow. The ultimate goal was for Kingwood Country Club to have 54 golf holes, 54 tennis courts, 6 swimming pools and ample space in the clubhouse for dining and social activities.
The most innovative aspect of this plan was the idea to allow for golf expansion on land that was in the flood plain and thus unusable for housing development. This model of turning “useless” land into recreational area within a housing development would later be used in all 50 states.
In 1971 Joe Finger (a well-known local golf-course architect) was selected to design the first golf course, the Island course, for Kingwood Country Club. His design of holes #6 and #18 would go on to win national recognition in future years.
So it was that in the late fall of 1971, actual site work began for the club. Surveying, staking, clearing and rough grading would take the rest of 1971 and all of 1972. Many factors in combination made this period of construction extremely difficult.
The first difficulty was the location of the site--the flood plain of the San Jacinto River, a half mile beyond completed paving in an almost impenetrable, snake-infested, forested swamp. Snakes were so prevalent that equipment operators often refused to get off their equipment at the job site. Snakes could be seen crawling out over the sideboards of loaded dump trucks. Dump truck drivers soon learned to keep their windows rolled up. At other times, snakes would become stuck in the mud on dozer’s tracks. As the dozer moved along, the tracks would carry the snakes by the operator’s feet. Dozer operators stayed alert at all times. Many times, all supplies and crews had to be carried to and from the job site on dozers because no other equipment could negotiate the knee-deep mud of the logging access road.
Another difficulty was the weather. Company rainfall records maintained at the site revealed that 8 feet of rainfall fell during this period of construction. Added to that, the winter of 1971-72 presented a record setting three snowfalls in one winter. The bad news was that the wet weather would continue on through much of 1973 with only a short dry period in mid-summer of that year.
By the spring of 1973, Kingwood Country Club had a golf course under construction and a temporary construction and membership office in the Trailwood Village Apartments. The five-person staff included Vic Rimes, the club development officer and manager; Liz Farish, the membership secretary; Charles Faubion, the construction and golf course superintendent; Jody Carpenter, the club secretary; and Richard Killian, golf professional. Club memberships were selling for $380. The club had in excess of 300 members. Many of the first perspective members of Kingwood Country Club got a tour of the golf course in a 4-wheel drive jeep. Vic would usually become stuck at some point and have to be rescued by the construction crew. During this period of time, John Turner was often seen trudging the golf course with golf balls in his pocket, a golf club in his hand and mud up to his knees. He just could not wait for his vision to come true. More than anyone else, Mr. Turner could be considered the father of Kingwood and a tremendous supporter of Kingwood Country Club. A monument to Mr. Turner rests today on the left side of #1 tee on his beloved Island course.
The last half of 1973 saw the completion of the Island golf course. Work continued on the clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool and parking. It was at this time that pavement by way of Kingwood Drive and Lake Kingwood Trail finally reached the club. The club office then moved to a temporary trailer located just outside the front entry of the current clubhouse. Kingwood Country Club was really making progress.
In February of 1974, Bill Herbold became the manager of Kingwood Country Club. Bill inherited a project that was over budget, out of money, behind schedule and laundering in another wet Houston winter. Bill solved the financing and boosted the project toward completion and a grand opening on April 16, 1974.
Once the club made it over the hump of phase-one construction and opening, momentum started to build. This was fueled in part by the good economical times of the area. As the community grew, so did the club. Also the great working partnership between CCA and Friendswood Development Corp. was a tremendous asset to both parties. Bill Herbold of CCA and John Turner, Jack Byrd and Pope Shealy of Friendswood were all a major part of the driving force that saw the original master plan to near completion by 1983.
Following the grand opening of the Island course and the club in 1974, additional facilities came along rapid fire. Along with additional golf holes came clubhouse expansion, more tennis courts, another pool and more parking. Although each golf course offered its difficulties of construction, none ever really came close to the Island course for sheer challenge. Two Brown & Root supervisors got lost for an entire day in the giant palmetto swamp that later became Kingwood Lakes Subdivision and holes #4 through #7 on the Lake course. The Marsh course was built six years later and opened in February of 1983.
The Deerwood Club was the pet-project of John Turner who envisioned an alternative golfing experience for Kingwood residents - an elite “golf only” club with one of the most challenging and unique layouts in this part of the country that catered to the serious golfer. Indeed, in the years to follow, Mr. Turner would refer to Deerwood as “The Augusta of the Southwest.”
Deerwood opened on Labor Day 1983. Joe Finger’s new masterpiece, which golf legend Byron Nelson helped him design, immediately became the most talked about course in the Ginger portfolio. Mr. Finger also designed the Island course, which by 1983 had become one of the top-ranked golf courses in the State of Texas. Deerwood grew slowly over the years and hosted many prestigious events along the way, including the 1986 Texas Amateur Championship and the Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic on the PGA Senior Tour (1986-1995).
In early 1994, the Forest course came to Kingwood Country Club as an added bonus, not in the original plan. As the flood-plain designation changed over the years, some land could no longer be used for housing. This provided the space for an additional golf course. The design concept for the Forest course was two fold. One was to create a golf course that was more than just another course at Kingwood, one that would combine more spectacular and modern design techniques. The second concept was to create a golf course where every golf course lot had a great view of the course. This provided a better value for the developer and thus helped offset the additional cost of construction. This was one more example of a great partnership working together in a community in which we all work, play and love to call home.
Probably the most exciting event for the Kingwood and Deerwood Country Clubs was being chosen by Warner Brothers in 1995 to host the filming of the popular movie, “Tin Cup,” starring Kevin Costner, Don Johnson, and Rene Russo. In the movie “Tin Cup,” (Kevin Costner in the lead role) loses the U.S. Open on the 18th hole in a dramatic finish to the movie. Deerwood’s #4 hole is the scene for this climactic ending. Most of the movie’s golf scenes were filmed at the Kingwood Forest and Deerwood courses. Many Kingwood and Deerwood members and staff are seen throughout the film as extras, especially in the famous scene where “Tin Cup” hits a ball out of the Kingwood Grill towards #18 of the Island course. Warner Brothers had their choice of almost any community or golf club to represent the finest golf has to offer for this depiction of the U.S. Open in their movie. They chose Kingwood, and the rest of the world got to experience its beauty.
The defining moment in Kingwood’s history was now taking place with Kingwood positioned as one of the largest country clubs in the world and Deerwood positioned as one of the finest 18-hole golf clubs anywhere. All that remained to form the “perfect club” for the “perfect community” was the joining of the Deerwood and Kingwood Country Clubs into one country club.
On August 1, 1997, Kingwood Country Club welcomed the Deerwood Club into its fold. With the addition of the “Deerwood Club at Kingwood,” Kingwood Country Club not only became the world’s largest private country club, with 90 holes of golf, it now had the ability to offer two different golfing and country club experiences in one membership. In 2002, Atascocita Country Club became one of the three Clubs of Kingwood, increasing the number of holes of golf offered to 117 until its sale a few years later in May 2009.
Kingwood currently has a population of 83,000 with over 21 schools, and a college. The entire township surrounds the Clubs of Kingwood, which has become the cornerstone of the Kingwood community. Driving the pristine, paved streets of Kingwood, one can see the enormous strides this former “wilderness” community has made.
We are pleased to announce that we will soon begin the process of rebuilding the greens on the Forest Course this year and our Marsh Course next year. The new greens will be TifEagle Ultra Dwarf Bermuda, the same strand of grass we have on our Deerwood, Island and Lake putting surfaces.
The Forest Course
Construction on the Forest Course is scheduled to begin Saturday, May 24 and is expected to be complete in a three-month time frame. Our goal is to re-open for Member play during Labor Day weekend. While the greens construction is underway, our team will be hard at work improving other aspects of the Forest Course. This project will include the practice greens at both the Forest Course and Golf Advantage School. Once the project is completed, we believe this will make the Forest Course one of the top golf courses in the Houston area.
During the approximate 90-day construction process, Golf Members that currently have Forest privileges will be provided the opportunity to play the Lake Course. We are proud to share that we will continue to offer Monday golf availability. While the Forest construction is underway, we will rotate play on our other Kingwood courses. Our usual tee time policies will continue.
The Marsh Course
Greens construction on the Marsh Course is planned for the same timeframe in 2015. In the meantime, we will continue to work to provide you with exceptional playing conditions. Several areas of greens have been sodded recently, with more to come. We will continue our agronomic plan that has proven successful at Deerwood Club, with appropriate modifications. This fall, we plan to overseed the Marsh greens very heavily to help push turf coverage and provide you with optimal playing conditions through Memorial Day 2015.
It goes without saying that we truly want The Clubs of Kingwood to be a place where all Members are proud to belong. The investments made in the past, the current projects and the future plans are part of the commitment we have to making the Club the best it can be and our Members’ home away from home.
Thank you in advance for your support and patience while we improve the Club. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Darrell Fuston, Director of Golf; Jay Abbott, Director of Golf Course Maintenance; or me.
All the best,
We finally warmed up this week and the grass is responding. All of the fertilizer we have put out this spring is starting to work and the turf is recovering from the harshest winter in 20 years. Over the next couple of weeks you should see conditions dramatically improve on all playing surfaces. The slice marks will disappear, the fairways will thicken up and greens will return to quality putting surfaces.
We aerified the Forest course tees and greens this week, improving the greens. The spring transition from overseed to bermuda has been very rough, but should improve very quickly. This coming week we will be aerifying the Lake course tees, greens, and spot aerifying weak fairways and roughs to help fill them in. Having not been overseeded, the aerification on the Lake should be much less obtrusive and heal very quickly.
One of the most asked questions is: "What is aerification and why do we have to do it?"
The answer is: Aerification is a process where we punch holes into the turf to remove excessive organic matter and create columns of clean sand to assist the turf with water infiltration, oxygen and CO2 exchange, and relieve compaction. These things are all very important to maintain quality turf health and playability of golf courses. If you think about it from an agricultural stand point, a farmer in the spring and fall will plow the fields. We aren't able to plow our fields so we aerify them, and through this process we accomplish the same effect.
Over the last few weeks we have ground up the majority of the stumps on the Island, Lake, and Marsh courses and are in the process of cleaning them up. We hope over the next couple of weeks to get the Forest and Deerwood finished as well.
We got off to a slow and bumpy start to spring, but I believe we are heading into a great summer!
We will see you around the courses.
Jay and Duke
It’s that time of year again when the 2014 Masters champion is crowned and golf officially starts for us here in Texas. We survived one of the worst winters Texas has seen in many years, and now beautiful, spring days are finally upon us. 2014 has already been a busy year for The Deerwood Club and we want to keep you in the loop for what’s to come!
Capital Improvements The two-year cart path project is complete, despite the early inclement weather this year brought us. A month ago, we completed our two-year, $500,000 project with the completion of the back nine cart paths.
The clubhouse has seen several dramatic improvements with even more to come! The front entrance and back veranda received a much-needed update with stamped concrete. This has provided a much nicer entrance and a warm, home-like feeling on the veranda. If you haven’t seen the finished project, please come out and enjoy the new look, along with brand new furniture on the veranda, making it comfortable for everyone to enjoy!
We are excited to announce that we are in the process of beginning a reinvention of The Main Dining Room! We are currently receiving all permitting necessary to begin the project. The project will include a new automatic door and a facelift that will reinvent the space to be more friendly, providing better veranda and turn service, along with a new bar to hang out with your friends. Project completion is expected toward the end of summer.
Private Carts We have heard the membership requests loud and clear and are happy to announce that private carts will now be allowed at Deerwood. Starting May 1, Members will be allowed to use their own private carts for a monthly fee. There are some restrictions, so please contact me if you are interested in finding out more about the agreement.
Spring Golf Events The Deerwood Women’s Golf Association hosted their Member Guest on April 2-3, 2014. Congratulations to our winners: 1st Gross - Laurel Ludden and Chris Held 1st Net - Maureen Smith and Dianne Gibson
The Deerwood Men’s Golf Association will host the prestigious Deerwood Cup this weekend, April 25-27th. The field is set and all players can go to their website deerwoodmga.org for player information.
The Deerwood Club will host the 2014 State Four-Ball Championship. The State Four-Ball Championship will be held May 15-18 here at The Deerwood Club. The State Four Ball is one of the biggest amateur partnership tournaments in Texas. For more information go to txga.org
2014 Aerification Schedule Please mark your calendars for the necessary dates below:
Fairways & Greens,
Manager/Head Golf Professional
The Clubs of Kingwood is so proud of Hannah Alberto for competing in the 2014 Drive, Chip & Putt National Championship Sunday, April 6 at Augusta National Golf Club.
At the age of 15, Alberto was featured on national television, finishing 2nd overall for the 14-15 year old, girls division and recording the best chipping score of her division! She and her family have worked so hard the past six years in her golf game and this just proves her talent and hard work has paid off! The Members and staff at Kingwood are so proud and happy for the Alberto family who, believe it or not, returned from Augusta and were immediately found on a putting green at the Forest course to practice.
Catch some of the inaugural 2014 Drive, Chip & Putt Nationals from Sunday, April 6 and Hannah's first national coverage in another "home video" from Aurora. You may also view the official photos here. Congrats Hannah! Another amazing junior golfer from Kingwood in the spotlight!
SIGN UP for the 2015 DRIVE, CHIP & PUTT:
Kids ages 7-14 may register for the 2015 Drive Pitch & Putt local qualifier at Cypresswood, TX June 7, 26 or 27 for a chance to compete for regionals, and possibly nationals at Augusta Nationals Golf Club the week prior to the Masters Championship in 2015. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, so we encourage you to register your junior golfer as soon as possible. Who knows maybe you will be going to the Masters sooner than you think!
Kingwood Golf Advantage School
3928 Kingwood Drive
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Let's just say our Director of the Golf School, Aurora Kirchner-McClain, was beaming and super proud of all her kids!
On Saturday, March 29, nine of our fourth grade junior golfers participated in The First Tee National School Program Champions Challenge, presented by Children's Memorial Hermann. The Champions Challenge is a culminating skills event comprised of nearly 360 fourth graders from 14 area school districts. Two students from each participating elementary school earn a spot to compete in this fun-filled competition that is held the Saturday before the PGA TOUR Shell Houston Open at The First Tee of Greater Houston's Davdi Shindeldecker Campus, located in Humble, Texas. The event provides an opportunity for participants to transition and apply their putting, chipping, driving, and etiquette skills on a “real” golf course as well as attend a PGA TOUR event.
The Clubs of Kingwood & the Golf Advantage School students present include:
Atascocita Springs: Hannah Woo
Bear Branch Elementary: Luke Bass
Deerwood Elementary: Luke Lohman (2nd place boy on orange course); Ryleigh McClain (1st place girl on orange course)
Fall Creek Elementary: Hannah Cleveland (3rd place girl on orange course* won scorecard playoff)
Foster Elementary: Garrett Green (1st place Team Garcia-on orange course)
Greentree Elementary: Peyton Varnadoe (T3rd place girl on orange course)
Maplebrook Elementary: Collin Little
Pine Forest Elementary: Haydon Hall (1st place boy on clue course)
Golf Advantage School: Director of Instruction, Aurora Kirchner-McClain, is CAPTAIN for the TEAM McILROY (4th year as a captain the last five years)
CONGRATS to all our GOLF SCHOOL STUDENTS. Miss Aurora was so proud that many of the kids from our junior programs qualified and showed their skills. It was so great to see all our kids and parents (who volunteered & watched) at this yearly event for the 4th graders!
For official information, photos and videos, click here!
To watch the awards ceremony, click here.
Kingwood Golf Advantage School
3928 Kingwood Drive
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Golf School Open 7am-8:30pm, Thurs-Tuesday (closed Wednesdays)
September 28 - October 2, 2014
The First Qulaifier is April 26 - Time to Build Your Team!
Join us as we bring the Acura ClubCorp Champions Classic back to it's original home-- Pinehurst Resort. You will be walking the footsteps of golf's greatest players as you play Course No.2, Course No. 4 and Course No.8 in the 54-hole tournament. Practice rounds will be on Courses No. 4 and No. 8. Start forming your teams today and don't miss out on playing Pinehurst No. 2, soon after the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open Championship.
The tournament will continue to be a quota shamble made up of 4 amateurs and 1 Professional. Everyone will tee off from his or her respective tees, the team will select the best tee shot and everyone will play their own ball from that location through the remainder of the hole.
Other highlights include:
- There are no handicap requirements.
- Any four members can play together on a team regardless of handicap.
- Players will receive 60% of their total handicap to establish their quota.
- In qualifying rounds we will count the best two totals to count for the team. At the national event we will count three.
- At the national event, and in our qualifying finals, we will adjust team quotas +/- 50% in between rounds. A team that competed in 2013 may play as a team in 2014.
Qualifying dates are as follows:
April 26th - Island Course
May 24th - Island Course
June 28th - Island Course
Finals: July 26th and 27th - Island Course
Three teams + ties will advance to the Finals from each qualifier. The team that wins the Finals will be the designated team from Kingwood and receive all funds raised towards their expenses. There is a $50 entry fee per player for each qualifier, including the finals.
Sign-ups are open in the Golf Shop for the 1st qualifier so get your team together now!
TOURNAMENT PACKAGE DETAILS: 4 nights double occupancy lodgingLunch Monday - Thursday 4 rounds of golf (1 practice round / 3 tournament rounds)Round trip transfers to/from PinehurstOpportunity to win prizes on/off the golf course All taxes and gratuities Breakfast Monday- ThursdayCocktails and Dinner Sunday- WednesdayComplimentary beverage carts Monday-Wednesday (Excluding alcohol and cigars) Welcome gift bag for all participants (value in excess of $450)Winning team will receive coveted Putter Boy Trophy
Pinehurst Resort & Spa and Southern Pines are centrally located in North Carolina, and there are many great options for day trips. Some favorite destinations in the Pinehurst area are within 30 or 45 minutes – other are about an hour away.