A hidden gem. A term often used to describe something that
is extremely outstanding and that not many, or enough, people know of. This
idiom could be used to describe Tempest Golf Club in East Texas, too.
Sitting just outside of Tyler in the small town of
Gladewater resides a beautiful championship-caliber golf course. Tempest has
slowly but surely been garnering state and regional interest over the past few
years as people from the DFW and Shreveport areas continue to discover it.
Leslie and Micah Thurston were among the original members of
the course and have stuck around to see all the change and history. Through
three different names, different ownerships, and constant change the two
brothers have remained committed.
“It’s just incredible what its become. It’s always been a
great site for golf with all the elevation changes. Somehow in the dark times,
they always managed to keep the doors open, and now people are seeing how good
it is,” Leslie said.
The periphery around Tempest Golf Club may not immediately
scream ‘beautiful golf course right around the corner’, but that’s exactly what
visitors will find when they first lay eyes on the newly budding club. Tucked
away in a secluded spot off Wilkins Road and State Highway 135N, the site’s
spectacular natural features are slowly revealed during the drive to the clubhouse.
Tempest’s Director of Golf Randy Wade says, “Tempest is
unique because of the property that it was built on. The topography is unlike
any course in the East Texas or surrounding areas. The elevation changes, rolling
hills and tall pine trees create a beauty versus challenge experience for all
In 2018 the course underwent a $20 million dollar renovation
by Arlington-based golf architect Jeffrey D. Brauer and opened after switching
ownership. This year has been the busiest yet for the club in terms of total
rounds played. The accolades have started to roll in as well. Following
Brauer’s extensive redo, in 2020 the Dallas Morning News ranked Tempest as the
2nd best new/renovated golf course and added the 7,229-yard, par-72 layout to
its list of Top 50 You Can Play.
As the club continues to grow and publicity rises so do the
expectations for the future. Wade alluded to goals of hosting larger events in
the coming years.
“We are always in continuous improvement mode, both outside
on the course and inside providing an excellent customer experience,” said
Wade. “In the future we would like to host a U.S. Open Qualifier. The AJGA has
contacted us about an event in 2022. We are also very interested in hosting a
Texas State Open or any of the mini tours like the All-Pro Tour or eventually a
Korn Ferry event.”
The foreseeable future for Tempest looks bright as the club
continues to make the transition from hidden gem to the state’s elite.
“In the beginning we had several ongoing capital improvement
projects like the driving range to finish and a few water-erosion issues to
correct, but now in the third year we are operating in the black, which is huge
for any golf course,” responded Wade when asked how the club has evolved in
three short years. “Our goal is to be consistently in the top 5 public courses
in the state.”
As the Gladewater area grows so too will Tempest. The course
is spectacular, club service is top-notch, and the membership is passionate. All
these things combined will push Tempest to the heights that Wade wants and
knows the club can get to.
For more information about Tempest Golf Club, click here.