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Golf

One Member’s Assessment of the Renovated Colonial Course

Even short people can now see putts on the lowered greens.
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The Pritchard men in 1984, from left: father Jim, Jay, Judd, and grandfather Ed

The Charles Schwab Challenge gets going today at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, which, as you might know, recently underwent a $20 million renovation. A friend of mine named Jay Pritchard sent me a text yesterday saying that the new course literally had him in tears. So I asked for more detail. Jay wrote back:

My grandfather joined Colonial in 1958. My dad joined after law school and said it was the closest he and my mom got to divorce because he spent the $1,750 on the initiation fee without telling her. My brother and I have won 13 club championships—as kids and adults, mine all as a kid. Colonial is a big part of our family.

My brother and I are not super tall. In a previous life, my “good friends” on The Ticket nicknamed me Jay the Midget. Enough about us, though. Here is our take on the Colonial renovation.

Gil Hanse restored character to the most historic course in Texas. In his early meetings with membership, Gil was told by Dan Jenkins that Colonial’s course used to be a “dark and scary place” where options and uncertainty would challenge golfers. Gil brought the course from years of sharp lines and manicured edges to a natural river bottom layout that Marvin Leonard and Perry Maxwell envisioned. Gil returned the natural wash areas to the course and lowered green complexes, giving pros and amateurs different options to play every hole.

Colonial once again asks the questions of the player that Maxwell envisioned. The new par 3s bring variety in shot length and shot shape, ensuring that the course doesn’t play the same day after day. Hole No. 8 is an absolute gem, a mirror image of the original hole built in 1936. Removal of bunkering (especially at 4 and 5) allows the amateur player to have some options in playing the hole while removing the certainty of a bail out for the top pros. In the landscape of technology and the bomb and gouge strategy of modern golf, Colonial presents the same challenge to players that Mr. Hogan faced: managing your game around a course as unpredictable as the Fort Worth weather.

My brother and I thank Gil Hanse for lowering the greens so that we can see the PGA Tour players’ putts go in the holes without standing on our tippy toes and for the new comfort stations to rest our tiny little legs.

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Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…
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