The City of Houston’s golf facility is now named Houston Municipal Golf Course.
Formerly Oakwood Golf Club, the 9-hole course was founded in the early 1980s. Earlier this year, Houston purchased it from previous owners Doug and Michelle Moseley for $291,500.
Following the hail storm that hit some of the area Friday, March 27, the greens at Houston Municipal looked as if there were dozens of golf balls and baseballs plugged in their surfaces. The course was forced to temporarily close.
“It kind of made me sick to my stomach when I saw the damage,” said City of Houston public grounds and parks worker Bill Ramsey. “We had put so much work into them.”
During that closure, city officials took advantage of the lack of traffic to significantly improve the facility’s entrance road by building up and grading its surface. Heavy rollers were employed to smooth out the putting surfaces, sand was used to fill in low spots and pieces of turf from the practice green were cut out to repair the more badly damaged spots.
City parks and recreation department director Stetson Evetts announced the course had reopened last Thursday afternoon.
“Improving this golf course has been a complete team project,” Evetts said.
Evetts credited numerous people for being involved in the process.
•“Bill Ramsey and Doug Sutton have spent an amazing amount of time replacing around 2,000 square feet of sod on the greens. They have also been spreading and spraying chemicals, mowing greens and fairways, painting the clubhouse and installing new trim, fixing bathrooms and more.”
•“City maintenance worker Darren Ice has fixed every piece of equipment necessary to maintain the golf course.”
•“Harley Coulter and the water crew have tracked and repaired leaks (some major) in the irrigation system so that we can properly water the greens and fairways.”
•“Chief Robbie Smith and the city’s fire department came out multiple times to do controlled burns and manage the rough.”
•“Mike Williams and the electric guys have installed new LED lights throughout the clubhouse and banquet facility, traced wires for the sprinkler system, and provided the course with an opportunity to have wi-fi in the clubhouse.”
•“Joe Kirkman and his guys have removed brush, cleaned out pond banks, sprayed, graded the road and hauled gravel.”
•“Tyler Fischel and Greens Pro from Marshfield have provided us with a great chemical plan to improve the greens. He was one of the first people at the course to create a plan to repair our hail damage.”
•“Local course greenskeepers – like Dave Guyll from Willow Springs, Edgar Scantlin from Salem, and Scott Elliot from West Plains – have let us borrow equipment, given us sod and provided their time, advice and knowledge.”
“All these crews have brought out equipment and helped in so many other ways,” Evetts said. “And we have had great support from the city administrator, the city council, our mayor and members of this community who donate their time and resources. We all want to see Houston Municipal Golf Course be an important part of our community.
“I think the past members of the community and golf course who invested so much into this course would be very proud of the direction it’s headed in.”
Evetts said a new metal building for equipment and chemical storage is being built at Houston Municipal.
“Our plan right now is to get the course and clubhouse and banquet facility in good shape,” he said, “then later we can explore how we can improve or make changes to the course. I would love to have the First Tee program be a big part of this community and golf course. It’s a fantastic program for kids and gets them out in the sunshine.”
Evetts said the price of annual memberships has been lowered, and opportunities exist for juniors, seniors, individuals and families (including a five-payment plan for each level).
“Golf is for everyone,” Evetts said. “Anyone at any age can play; if you have any interest at all in golf then we will have something for you. I can promise if you are respectful of the course you will be welcome here, regardless of what you’re wearing, relatively speaking, or your skill level. You can even sign up for free lessons.”
DEALING WITH COVID-19
Thanks to an exemption for outdoor recreation, Houston Municipal Golf Course will remain open during the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Mike Parson that took effect Monday. Evetts said several steps are being taken to promote safety at the course during the coronavirus outbreak.
No more than three people will be allowed in the clubhouse at one time, and golfers will be instructed to wait outside maintaining six feet of space until the number inside the clubhouse drops below three.
“This allows people to freely use the bathroom and provides a safe total number with our staff,” Evetts said.
Pool noodles have been cut and placed inside the cups on each green so have golfers don’t have to touch flagsticks or place their hands inside the cup to retrieve a ball.
Groups of golfers will be limited to four per hole and asked to maintain the six-foot minimum, unless members of the group reside in the same household.
The clubhouse will be disinfected every two hours, and carts will be disinfected before play and every time they are returned to the clubhouse.
Evetts said that when COVID-19 regulations are eased, league play will return to Houston Municipal, including senior, men’s, women’s, church and couples’ leagues.
“If we get to the point where we can gather safely again, then we would love for everyone to come out and play on our league nights,” Evetts said.
The phone number at Houston Municipal Golf Course is 417-967-0791.