An official aerial video shows off the golf-course-to-retention transformation that’s taken place across a few holes of the former Clear Lake City course north of where Diana Ln. and Ramada Dr. converge. The first all-inclusive shot comes at about 30 seconds. In it, paved and unpaved trails wrap the new pond, which is surrounding by just a few saplings — although plans note it will eventually be an “abundant natural habitat” filled with native vegetation. Some of those incoming species may reside on the so-called “habitat island” that shows up clearly at the 40 second mark.
A parking lot neighbors the southwestern waterfront, adjacent to a pair of new sports fields:
A couple of Houston architects have a proposal for the northern portion of the soon-to-be-shutteredGreenspoint Mall at the northeast intersection of Beltway 8 and I-45: Turning it into a driving range surrounded by 3 golf holes. Why such an abbreviated course? Well, there’s only so much land available. But Paul Kweton and Hidekazu Takahashi of Studio Paulbaut consider the paring down an attractive update to convention that could help to make the sport more accessible:
“It takes up to 5 hours to play a decent round of golf,” they write. Their Greenspoint green would offer a quicker golfing proposition: A round of golf in 60 minutes.
The 7-bedroom house at 5124 Palm Royale Blvd. isn’t the only one of the street’s “10,000-plus-square-foot Mediterranean extravaganzas” (as archi-historian Steven Fox put it to Lisa Gray on a Sugar Land driving tour a few years back) to cuddle up against a couple of the golf fairways winding through the neighborhood. (The 12,400-sq.-ft. house may well be one of the homes most directly in the line of incoming golf balls, however.) Inside, the 1995 house is fully coated with intricate calligraphy, carvings, and geometric patterns; the massive star-shaped chandelier above dangles through a star-shaped hole in the second floor, coming to rest above the indoor courtyard-style fountain.
To get to it, you’ll need to dodge the pride of lions ringing the other fountain out front:
COMMENT OF THE DAY: GREEN SPACE IS JUST A STATE OF MIND “In my mind, green space isn’t something that has to be ‘used’. I enjoy jogging the trails next to the Hermann park golf course as much as I like jogging in or around any other green space — just like I enjoy jogging through a River Oaks neighborhood with immaculate landscaping. It is even nicer to see landscaping when you know someone else is paying (mostly) for it. I don’t have to be able to kick a soccer ball, watch a concert, or have a place for my dog to poop on it to enjoy its beauty. It can be ‘utilized’ without stepping foot on the space. Green space can be enjoyed from adjacent space or blocks away in its sights, smells, and sounds (or lack of).” [Rex, commenting on Grassy Knolls, Children’s Swamp Part of Possible Hermann Park Parking Coverup] Photo of Hermann Park Golf Course: Hermann Park Conservancy
Don’t forget your towel or your clubs when visiting this Carlton Woods Estates home, priced at $3.188 million (brought down last week from the $3.388 million August asking price). This 5-bedroom, 5-full-bath, 3-half-bath villa wraps around a central courtyard and pool, and is itself nestled between fairways of the Jack Niklaus Signature Golf Course. The 2-story dwelling clocks in at 9,476 sq ft. and provides plenty of opportunities to get away from it all from the comfort of home.
A ‘dozer was sighted this past week roaming across the newly-cleared plains at the dead end of Acaciawood Dr. into Oakmoor Pkwy., just south of Airport Blvd. between Almeda Rd. and a disconnected stretch of Kirby Dr. (nearly 2 miles southeast of where the main section of Kirby halts, on Holmes Rd. next to the intended UT Houston campus). Workers clearing the land last week told a reader that new apartments were planned for the spot (shown above); the tract, however, is sliced up into single-family-home-sized bites in County Appraisal District records. The land sits south of the Oakmoor Apartments, which sprouted up around the end of 2006. The short neighborhood streets on the other side of Oakmoor were in place by 2008, though the homes now lining them didn’t begin too appear until 2012.
In the distance, the photo above also catches a view of the nearby Harbor Hospice Houston Inpatient Facility (to the left of center, behind a brushpile), and the Citadel on Kirby (to the right), which hosts weddings, galas, and corporate events. Across Kirby lies the Houston Sports Park — work on the first 7 fields at the Houston Dynamo’s professional training facility started at the end of 2009 and wrapped up by 2012. The Houston Parks Board is now fundraising to add an additional 11 fields at the complex, which is also open for public recreational use.
Looking for an overview of the new site of UT’s recently-announced Houston campus? Your best bet may be to stop in at the Wildcat Golf Club, located directly across Holmes Rd. from the site of UT’s planned purchase. Native Houstonians may experience a touch of vertigo trekking up the club’s grassy peaks to catch the view of NRG Park and downtown (see above) — hills on the site reach more than 115 feet above sea level in places. (Downtown, for comparison, stands at roughly 50 feet, and the big hill at Miller Outdoor Theater tops out around 65.)
The golf club’s topography is a byproduct of its original gig as a major municipal landfill, operating for nearly two decades until 1989; clay and topsoil were imported to sculpt the waste heaps into today’s smoothly rolling hills and water features:
CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BOTANICAL GARDEN ON GLENBROOK PARK GOLF COURSE, GUS WORTHAM COURSE RENOVATIONS City council voted unanimously this morning to give the go-ahead to plans to renovate the Gus Wortham Golf Course north of Idylwood, and allow the group that had previously attempted to turn that location into a botanical garden to develop a facility instead on the current site of the 18-hole Glenbrook Park Golf Course, along Sims Bayou on the north side of the Gulf Fwy. south of Loop 610. The long-term lease agreements are victories for the operating organizations behind both efforts, but the garden group clearly got its second choice; an Inner Loop garden on site of the oldest golf course in Texas would have had better access to public transportation including the new light-rail line, and would have been surrounded by less freeway noise. If the Houston Golf Association fails to raise $5 million for the Gus Wortham redo before the end of this year, it’s possible the split could be rejiggered; the Houston Botanic Garden Board is being given until the end of 2017 to raise $20 million for its efforts. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Glenbrook Park Golf Course: Houston Golf Nut
GOLFERS APPEAR TO HAVE WON GUS WORTHAM It might not have sounded quite so explicit to all onlookers, but the Chronicle‘s Mike Morris declares yesterday’s city council vote a death knell for plans to build a botanical garden on the site of the Gus Wortham Golf Course. The vote was taken in support of city efforts to come to an agreement with the Houston Golf Association for a plan to renovate the 106-year-old course at Lawndale and Wayside in the East End, which the nonprofit would then operate. But, writes Morris: “If the city cannot reach terms with HGA, the mayor said, she will seek proposals from private golf operators rather than hand the site to the botanic garden backers, as previously planned.” The HGA will need to meet designated fundraising targets — likely $5 million of a possible total $15 million renovation cost — for its plan to proceed. Mayor Parker and councilmembers appeared eager to steer the group pushing for a city botanical garden 6 miles southeast, to the Glenbrook Park golf course outside the Loop along Sims Bayou, just east of the Gulf Fwy. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: PGA
A reader sends in a report from the “spirited debate” at Monday night’s public forum at the E.B. Cape Center on Leeland St., covering proposed plans to convert the Gus Wortham Golf Course at Wayside Dr. and Lawndale St. in Houston’s East End, just north of Idylwood, into a new botanical garden: “Councilman Robert Gallegos, Mayor Parker, and many other politicians were there, as well as a standing room only crowd of those for the botanical garden (wielding the provided flowers), and for saving the golf course (fanning themselves with provided Gus Wortham fans). The crowd was encouraged to be quiet to keep things running smoothly, but this didn’t always happen, as many folks were pretty passionate about their opinions. Those wanting to save the golf course had at least double the presence of the garden folks, and were admittedly louder as things went on.”
Our correspondent, who claims to support renovating the existing golf course and putting a botanical garden elsewhere, notes that an earlier proposal in which the 150-acre site just west of Brays Bayou would have been shared by a 9-hole golf course and a new garden in the northern half has been scrapped. Houston Botanic Garden president Jeff Ross showed the latest “rough draft” of the proposed garden plan. Here’s a screen-shot photo: