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.
The original 18-hole golf course at this location belonged to El Dorado Country Club and it was a George Fazio design, opening in 1964. In the early 1990s, the club closed due to the economic downturn in the Houston economy.
The Redstone Golf Club was then established in 2002 and the redesigned course quickly held three editions of the Houston Open, won by Fred Couples in 2003 then Vijay Singh in 2004 and 2005. The event was then staged on the club’s Tournament course up until 2019.
The club was acquired by Escalante Golf of Forth Worth in April 2013 and renamed that December to the Golf Club of Houston.
Some people remember this course as Redstone, but prior to that it was called El Dorado and closed in the early 1990s as a result of the oil bust. When I am asked which one, I prefer, Members or Tournament course at the Golf Club of Houston, I shrug my shoulders. They are both good but not great. Part of that can be attributed to the geography, Houston is flat as are these courses. Certainly, the bayous and swamps come into play, but ultimately, there is only so much you can or should do.
The first hole is welcoming. There is a water carry but once you get inside of 200 yards the fairway widens significantly and the green has two bunkers front right and right. The 2nd is a long par four that bends left, favor the right off the tee. There are two bunkers front left and the first one starts about 60 yards out. The first par five is long and leans left. Play it as a 3 shotter and choose your favorite wedge yardage. This is a large green but a definite birdie oppty. The first par three is mid-yardage, ho-hum and is the only one on the front side and has a bunker front right and back left. Favor the left side on the par four fifth. There are trees on both sides and the front middle bunkers guards a green that has a ridge down the center pushing balls left or right. The par five 6th is probably not reachable, but if you are going to give it go you must be right of the three fairway bunkers on the left. The best angle in is from the left, but this will force you to carry two bunkers and there is another one right. The front ends with 3 long par fours. The 7th has water left, the 8th is a dogleg right with fairway bunkers left and a small water hazard in front of the green and the 9th has water all the way down the left with two front bunkers.
The back starts with the shortest par five. To give yourself a chance favor the left off the tee. There is a right cross bunker about 70 yards out and three greenside bunkers. The 11th leans left and the ideal drive is left of center to take the right fairway bunker out of play as well as the right greenside bunker that is quite deep. The 12th is the longest par three with a partial water carry. There is a lot more room than you think, the front bunker is well short of the green. Do not be embarrassed to hit driver, but this hole looks more intimidating than it actually is. The 13th also plays easier than it looks and is actually a good birdie hole. The water hazard on the right starts about 100 yards out. The difficulty on this hole is the approach with front bunker, two back left and water right. The 14th is the shortest and I think, the prettiest par 3. A water hazard bisects the hole at an 80 degree angle, not hooker friendly. The 15th is the shortest par four and a good birdie oppty. Favor the left side off the tee over the cross bunker. Right can get blocked out and also have to contend with a deep right front bunker. The 16th is the longest par four and it is a beast. Trees both side off the tee and the green has bunkers left and water front and right. Good luck. The 17th is a mid-length par three with bunkers at 4,8 and 12 o’clock. The 18th is the longest par five. My advice, play it as a three shotter. There is water right, although depending upon when you are playing it may just appear to be good old-fashioned swampland. There are two bunkers front and front left so choose your favorite yardage to go pin seeking.
Good, but I would not pay to play it again.
This course could be #1 in texas if it weren't for all of the houses on the course. They make it look way worse. I still think the layout is top 10 in Texas and the top 5 prettiest. Pace of play and conditions are outstanding besides one thing: The par 3 tee boxes. Especially #12, they look like straight uo dirt. Besides that, it's a great couse. Greens are very fast, up to 13. Theres not one bad hole, but the ones that are my favorite are 1,2,3,7,8,12,14,16,18
The Member Course has a completely different personality than the Tournament. This course is laid right out in front of you and a bit narrower than its sister course. Some pretty demanding shots exist, notably the approach on the long Par 4 8th which has a pond in front that's a forced carry, and also the Par 4 16th which has a fairly large water hazard that guards the front and right sides of that green. It's a solid, fun course. I like the Tournament more, which I think requires a bit more strategy to play and can be attacked in multiple ways, whereas a majority of holes here can only be played one way.