Houston Open

The Houston Open is one of the oldest 72-hole stroke play championships on the men’s professional circuit in America, starting out shortly after World War II ended. A pillar of the PGA Tour, the event was for many years sponsored by the Shell petroleum company, which is hardly a surprise considering the competition’s location in the oil-rich state of Texas.

Houston Open Championship Trophy

A tournament had been played sporadically in Houston between 1922 – the year the Texas Open was established – and 1938, with Joe Kirkwood Sr. from Australia winning two of the first three editions. After a gap of five years, another four competitions were played over a nine-year period starting in 1930. Jug McSpaden from Winchester Country Club in Boston won the last of these events at River Oaks in 1938.

Eight years later, and with the ravages of World War II at an end, the Houston Open became a permanent fixture on the professional calendar back at River Oaks Country Club as Byron Nelson picked up the winner’s cheque for $2,000 after posting an aggregate score two shots better than his nearest competitor, Ben Hogan, in May of 1946. This was the season after Byron’s record-breaking eighteen victories in 1945, and he would go on win “only” six competitions in the 1946 season.

Twelve months further on, the Houston Open moved on to Memorial Park, where Bobby Locke from South Africa carded an 11-under-par total of 277 to claim the first of his eleven American titles,. The municipal course in the park was to then host thirteen consecutive championships, but only after Pine Forest and Braeburn each staged one-off editions in 1949 and 1950.

Pine Forest Country Club moved to new premises in 1975 and the original ...

Houston Open host courses


100th Texas - Best in Area

BraeBurn Country Club was formed in 1931 and John Bredimus originally designed the club’s course. Sixty years later, Carlton Gipson redesigned the layout to fashion the eighteen holes that are in play today.

Champions (Cypress Creek)

14th Texas - Best in Area

Former Ryder Cup course at Champions Golf Club, Cypress Creek, is a storied layout. The water in front of the 12th green is known as Bob Hope’s Lake, as he was the first person to lose a ball in it!


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Golf Club of Houston (Member)

46th Texas - Best in Area

The Member course at the Golf Club of Houston is a formidable Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy co-design which changed ownership in 2003, the same year the club hosted the first of three Shell Houston Opens.


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Golf Club of Houston (Tournament)

61st Texas - Best in Area

Golf Club of Houston (formerly Redstone) was formed in 2003 with a private 18-hole course. The Houston Open was held on the Member layout for three years before switching to the newer Rees Jones Tournament course.


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Memorial Park

52nd Texas - Best in Area

Memorial Park is one of five municipal golf courses operated by Houston Parks & Recreation Department. Designed by John Bredemus in 1936, the course hosted the Shell Houston Open from 1951 to 1963.


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River Oaks

38th Texas - Best in Area

The golf course at River Oaks Country Club sits on rather flat ground next to the winding waters of Buffalo Bayou. It’s an old Donald Ross design from 1924 that was revamped by Rees Jones in the 1990s and renovated by Fazio Design in 2015.


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The Woodlands (Tournament)

47th Texas - Best in Area

The Tournament course is a former Shell Houston Open venue and this Robert von Haage and Bruce Devlin-designed layout was the first of three courses to appear at The Woodlands Country Club in 1978.


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Westwood Golf Club

92nd Texas - Best in Area

Westwood Golf Club’s 9-hole course was redesigned and a new nine added by Ralph Plummer in 1957, when holes were extended across the old Braes Bayou. Keith Foster then remodelled the 18-hole layout at the start of the new millennium.

Houston Open Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Bonham Palmer Courses Played 8
2 Wes LaForce Courses Played 7
= S.T. Morrow Courses Played 7
4 Colin Braithwaite Courses Played 6
= Mike Hudkins Courses Played 6
= Michael David Courses Played 6
7 Rob Macchi Courses Played 5
= Paul Jones Courses Played 5
9 BL Tracker Courses Played 4
= Wendell Barnes Courses Played 4