Houston is home to one of America’s above-par municipal golf courses.
A new Golf.com ranking of the country’s 30 best municipal courses puts Memorial Park at No. 7 overall. The beloved space opened in 1936; golf course architect John Bredemus developed the original layout.
In 2019, golf course architect Tom Doak oversaw the course’s $18.5 million makeover. A year later, Memorial Park became the first Doak course to welcome a PGA Tour event (the Houston Open).
“Doak’s mandate was to dream up a Goldilocks design, a course that would ask compelling questions of the world’s best golfers while answering the needs of its [municipal] clientele during jam-packed, year-round play,” Golf.com says.
The Astros Golf Foundation financed renovation of the Memorial Park course. It’s now only the second PGA-certified, municipally owned golf course in the U.S.
The 18-hole, 600-acre Memorial Park course logs more than 60,000 rounds of golf each year.
Elsewhere in Texas, San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park Golf Course comes in at No. 16. Golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast designed the 18-hole course, which opened in 1916, and golf course architect John Colligan updated the course in 2008.
The first municipal golf course in Texas, Brackenridge Park hosted the inaugural Texas Open in 1922 and is the location of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
“Anyone playing golf in San Antonio should tee it up at Brackenridge to enjoy its wonderful history and fun city-park layout,” says the Municipal Golf Association San Antonio, known as the Alamo City Golf Trail.
Two other municipal courses earn kudos from Golf.com: Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston and Butterfield Trail Gulf Club in El Paso.
The other Texas course in Golf.com’s top 30 is the 18-hole Butterfield Trail course in El Paso.
“As recently as last summer, Butterfield Trail was in dire economic straits, but thanks to funding from a new investment group, the course — with wide fairways, sand dunes, and framed by the mountains beyond — is thriving again,” Golf.com says.
A panel of 10 experts rated dozens of courses to come up with the 30-course ranking.