Beginning in 2020

Memorial Park Golf Course

Home of the Houston Open

Tom Doak asked us to collaborate and lead the redesign of Memorial Park. Tom's comments on the improvements:

Only the par-three second hole, and the tee for the third, are out of the original corridor. However, eight of the eighteen greens have shifted position; the par-five eighth is lengthened and the ninth changes from a par four to a par three; the par-five thirteenth – which lost ground at the tee for a road in the park – becomes a driveable par-four, and the next hole becomes the par five. We have also tripled the size of the irrigation pond, to capture rainwater and reduce the use of city water for irrigation, using the excavated material [about 100,000 cubic yards] to improve surface drainage and add relief to the property.

The two features of the property that were underutilized on the existing course were the ravines in between holes on the front nine, which were nearly all hidden in dense trees, and the many beautiful trees that had no influence on play. We have shifted tees and fairways to bring the ravines into play on holes two-to-seven, thinned out the trees and shifted greens so that key trees may be an obstacle for players who have driven in the rough.

18th Green, practice and First Tee building
First tee at the 2020 Houston Open
First green
2nd hole and newly exposed creek
Teeing off on the 2nd hole at the Houston Open 2020
View of the 2nd green and 3rd tee from the TV tower
The “potato chip” fourth green
DJ on the 5th fairway
Practice round 2020 Houston Open, 5th green
The 6th fairway near the since removed old pond
Dusk at the hard sloping 7th Redan like green
The longest hole at Memorial Park is now the 8th
Dusk from the 9th green TV tower
The creek is very much in play for the one shot 9th hole
Lining up a putt on the 10th green
The 11th green and bunker, the longest one shot hole
Looking back at the 12th green and the fairway goalpost
Approach to the turtleback 13th green
Lots of trouble around the 13th green
View from the fairway bunker on the 14th
The 14th green mostly runs away from the player
The winding creek on the 15th hole
The back of the 15th green is not much easier than the front
Behind the ropes at the 15th, Jason Day on the front
Creekside view of the 15th green, Mickelson just missed.
The 16th green on a perfect day at the Houston Open.
The expanded lake catches enough rain water to replace most of the city water previously used for irrigation
Dustin Johnson tried to catch Carlos Ortiz on the 17th hole.
Play the 17th from the 300 yard tee!
The crowds will be much bigger in 2021!
The swale even catches many of the best players.
A difficult finish to the Houston Open
The end of the 2020 Houston Open
Player consultant, Brooks Koepka, and Dustin Johnson finish their last practice round.
Aerial view of the front nine with the galleria in the distance
Houston, TX

Houston Open

PGA's return to Memorial Park a hit

Following an enormous amount of anticipation, the 2020 Vivint Houston Open is in the books. And it delivered on all fronts — from an outstanding field, adding in the fan experience, to a compelling finish at a new venue on a historic tract.

“I think the winner overall was Memorial Park Golf Course and what (architect) Tom Doak did, so we’re really excited about it,” said Giles Kibbe, president of the Astros Golf Foundation, which invested $34 million in Doak’s redesign of the city-owned course. Just as important is what the playing professionals thought of the course and the tournament. “From the players’ responses, when they were walking between (hole) 18 and the clubhouse with me, it sounds like we’re going to have a lot of them back in 2021,” tournament director Colby Callaway said. Dates for the 2021 Houston Open are Nov. 11-14. “We’re really fortunate with what we have here, and we’re going to turn it into one of the premier stops on tour in no time,” Callaway said.