Lochinvar Golf Club was the venue of the first Jack Nicklaus course to be designed in Texas back in 1980 with fairways laid out on a tight, forested site next to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental airport. Holes are routed across a very flat site, with water coming into play from time to time during the round.
In his book The American Private Golf Club Guide author Daniel Wexler describes the layout as “a moderately sized test (with) a fair number of challenging holes… though, in general, there are not quite as many tactical decisions to be made here as at many of Nicklaus’s subsequent designs.”
Feature holes include the left doglegging par four 3rd (with a creek on the left which crosses in front of a slightly raised green); the par five 9th (which is the former finishing hole with a long water hazard to the left of the fairway); and long par four 12th, veering left from the tee to a fairway that narrows towards the green.
No, no, no. No question, this is top 10 in texas. I've played all 10 of the top 10, and I know people who've played all 100 of top 100. This is at least 6 in TX and I think its 4. I think the elusiveness has something to do with it; few have ever played it. The conditions are always top notch, and the layout is memorable. #6, #18 are some of the best holes in the country, and every 14/18 of the holes could be the best holes on most courses. This course needs to be moved up.
One of the most exclusive golf clubs in Houston, Texas, is Lochinvar. The dream of Texas businessman Curtis Hankamer, it was designed by Jack Nicklaus in the late 1970s. Sorry ladies, it is a classic, all male club with no tee times, no restrooms and no dues. The operating costs are split amongst the 250+ members.
If you did not know where it was located, you would be hard pressed to find it. The entrance is hidden behind what appears to be an old fence gate. However, if one knows the magic code, one can gain entry and a real jewel awaits. I was flying into George Bush Intercontinental, back when it was just Intercontinental, and the passenger next to me nudged me and asked, “What is that golf course? I am from Spring, Texas (a nearby town) and I have played all the courses around here.”
I replied, “Lochinvar.”
He exclaimed, “Wow, I thought Lochinvar was a myth.”
The day we played I must admit I was in awe when I walked in the locker room and there on display was Claude Harmon’s green jacket from The Masters. Subsequently, I learned that there were several “backup” green jackets. Claude was the original pro, and the duties were passed onto one of sons, Butch. This was back in the day when I actually visited the range. I hit a few balls and noticed down at one end Harmon was working with his protégé who was on break from Stanford. In hindsight it was a surreal day on a super golf course, and everyone birdied at least one hole. I did it the hard way by waiting until 18. Best of all, it did not cost us a penny. Which reminds me, Lochinvar’s motto is “Golf first, last and always.”
If you can get on, you gotta go.
First let me say, I have a bias when it comes to Lochinvar GC. I spent a lot of my teenage years here and kicked and screamed when my I turned 25 yrs of age and came off my dad's (Club President from '84-'88) membership. This is one of my lifelong favorite courses. As it has been listed in many golf publications and if you want an money game look no further than Lochinvar (ie $100 one downs).
Note this is one of the few 'male only' golf clubs left in the state of Texas let alone the United States. With a membership of less than 200; this is a true golf club. Over the years, I have seen handfuls of PGA players (Couples, Elkington, Fowler oh and Tiger) as well as former President George Bush Sr (41) and Michael Jordan play here.
The Harmon family spent a number of years teaching here from Claude Harmon Sr (1948 Master Champion), Butch Harmon (Top Teaching pro) and Claude Harmon III.
You wouldn't know the club was there driving down Farrell Road. Once inside the gates, you can feel the stress fall drop off you.
Under the direction of the designer Jack Nicklaus, he flipped 9's over the years. #3 (old #12) is a challenging par 4 and has the typical features that a well designed Nicklaus hole has; water running along the left side of fairway and then crosses in front of a slightly elevated green. #7 (old #16) and #8 (old #17) look innocent from the tee box but can come up and bite you. #9 (old #18) is a strong front side finishing hole where keeping your tee ball in the fairway is just a start. From the tips this is a 3-shot hole. #12 (old #3) is another signature designed hole. A well played tee ball give you a shorter iron into the green but you can't help but notice the water lurking to your left. #16 (old #7) is a nice lengthy par 3. #18 (old #9) is a great finishing hole. Going for the green, isn't for the faint of heart. Not to mention you finish in front of the spacious clubhouse making it a much better spector hole than the old #9.
Lochinvar GC ranks easily inside my top 10 courses played.
Trent is correct. This is a special place, if you can get on, you gotta go