nothing revolutionary about college-owned or affiliated golf courses. They’ve
been a part of campus life for a long time. Some of the most historic courses, such
as the ones at Yale, Ohio State and Stanford, are nearly 100 years old.
What is new,
however, is the thinking among college administrators that golf courses can be
much more than an aging line item on the balance sheet. Many top universities
have now come to recognize that golf is a viable investment. Starting in the
mid-1990s, they’ve put money into building new courses and renovating old
facilities to generate interest, embrace golfers of the next generation,
increase revenue and connect with the local community.
The new college
golf course construction boom didn’t originate in Lubbock. But, with the
creation of The Rawls Course at Texas Tech in 2001, the Big 12 school was one
of the first to embrace the concept of golf investment as a win-win for the university
and community. Texas Tech also developed a successful blueprint that many
others have followed.
university publicly acknowledged their wish to build a golf course, alumnus Jerry
Rawls (Class of 1967) was immediately interested in lending his financial support
on two conditions: it had to be located on campus and it had to be one
of the finest collegiate golf facilities in the country. Texas Tech hired Tom Doak, one of the most acclaimed golf course architects of the modern era, to turn Rawls's dream into reality.
Doak and his
team from Renaissance Golf built an entire landscape from scratch. On what was
once a flat, 268-acre cotton farm, they moved 1.3 million cubic yards of
topsoil to create a stunning 7,349-yard, par-72, layout with wide fairways,
deep-faced bunkers and boldly contoured green complexes. By design, the entire property
– from the rumpled topography and rugged landscaping – mimics the eroded features
and canyons of the nearby South Plains Caprock region, giving the course an
appealing rustic look.
Course at Texas Tech, named in honor of the facility’s visionary and main
benefactor, opened for play in 2003. It is home to the Texas Tech Men’s and
Women’s Golf programs, and at the same time provides an enjoyable social venue
for the entire university and surrounding community.
remainder of the project is no less impressive. The practice facility, also
designed by Doak, spans 55 acres and is one of the largest anywhere in the
country. It includes teeing areas on three sides, and a special hitting bay
facility for the golf team. In addition, there is an expansive short game
practice area with three greens, five bunkers and shots up to 150 yards.
Texas Tech opened a $3.7 million clubhouse at The Rawls Course. The
state-of-the-art building includes a public area as well as separate, private
facilities for the university's golf teams.
preconceived notion about West Texas golf being a lonesome, dusty setting is quickly
erased upon seeing first-hand The Rawls Course. If you’ve never had the chance to tee it
up on what Golfweek Magazine ranks as the No. 2 “Course You Can Play In Texas”
and the No. 3 “Best Campus Course In The Country,” the TGA has some great news.
Course will host an upcoming Fun Golf Play Day on Aug. 10. The event is open to all TGA Members and their friends. Play
begins with a 9 a.m. shotgun start and the format is a two-person scramble with
Gross and Net divisions. There will also be two on-course contests in addition
to the scramble. Entering the competitions is optional, for those that would
just rather play and not worry about their score. The cost is $80 for TGA
Members ($90 for non-members) and includes green fee, cart fee, range
balls, and prizes for top finishers.
For more information about
the Aug. 10 Play Day at The Rawls Course, click here.