The warm breeze coming off Galveston Bay while traveling south on I-45 past Houston is in sharp contrast to the bracing winds of the North Sea that buffet the coasts of Scotland and England. Likewise, the uniform topography of Southeast Texas probably doesn’t lend itself as a stand-in for the ancient swales and dunes that define classic links golf.
For those willing to venture a few miles west off the Gulf Freeway in League City, however, they will find a wee bit of the British Isles and a whole lot of fun at Magnolia Creek Golf Club.
Wide, rolling fairways, cavernous bunkers, waist-high native grasses and, yes, gusting winds: Magnolia Creek has all the ingredients of proper links golf. Appropriately, the three nine-hole loops at Magnolia Creek are named after the part of the world from which course designer Thomas Clark drew his architectural inspiration: England, Scotland and Ireland.
The three nines are distinctive in their own right, but share commonalities. They all feature crumpled landing zones off the tee that tumble to-and-fro, magnificent bunkering and deceptively difficult green complexes with large runoff areas. The firm and fast conditions, coupled with the ability to run the ball up on many holes, definitely feel like a British Isle-style links course, without the cost of a plane ticket across the Atlantic.
As part of the ClubCorp family, great golf is not the only amenity at Magnolia Creek. The sprawling facility also boasts a 22-acre practice area, full service pro shop and a recently renovated clubhouse and patio deck, either of which is a perfect locale to enjoy one of the club’s famous hamburgers washed down with a pint of Irish ale.
Members are justifiably proud of their facility and have proven to be gracious hosts. Site of four previous TGA championships, as well as numerous qualifiers, this year from June 21-23 Magnolia Creek will welcome the Women’s Stroke Play Championship.
Established in 2015 to identify the best female amateur golfer in Texas, the Women’s Stroke Play has quickly grown into a premier event. The format is 54 holes of individual stroke play with a 36-hole cut to establish the Championship Flight of the top 30 players (including ties). The remaining players compete in two additional flights.
Last year, the TGA crowned three co-champions after torrential rains washed out the final round on the Island Course at The Clubs of Kingwood. Local resident Hanna Alberto, Hailee Cooper of Montgomery and Julie Houston of Allen tied after 36-holes with matching 3-under-par 143 totals.
The Women’s Stroke Play is open to female amateur golfers who belong to a TGA Member Club, have an established GHIN Handicap Index and have maintained a permanent residency in the State of Texas for a period of no less than six months prior to the tournament.
Registration for this year’s championship opens April 25 at 9 a.m. and closes June 8 at 5 p.m. For more information on the Women’s Stroke Play Championship, click here.