TWU Pioneer Golf Course
Texas Woman’s University Golf Course began operating in 1939. From the beginning it gave the opportunity to students and residents of Denton to experience what it was like to play golf in a small yet beautiful environment. It was known to be an amazing well groomed full of greens golf course. However, as time passed due to droughts striking Denton, TX and the expense to maintain it, the golf course was closed in 2018.
Backstory and Context
Texas Woman's University Golf Course located by 1200 Frame St Denton, TX was built in 1939, when the University was still known as Texas State College for Women and during the administration of L.H Hubbard. The Pioneer Golf Course was designed and built by Flato of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Dr. L. H. Moore, professor of Education who desired a place to golf in campus and who also became the first supervisor of the clubhouse and golf course . It Initially opened doors with a clubhouse the size of 73 by 24 ft with one lodge room, two locker rooms (for men and women) and a shop room. Walls were built out of sand, clay and gravel, and the course had only half a dozen holes which offered students as well as the Denton community a recreational outlet. Both, clubhouse and course were well known for its inside club and outside class parties.
In 1949 John Hamlett became the general manager and decided to add 12 holes turning it into the best course in the vicinity. A new and bigger club house was also built connected to a new equipment barn with the hope of making everything better for students and the community. It was known as the only public 18 hole Golf Course located in Denton.The conditions were amazing at the time making it the best years for the Golf Course as it was at “its best shape” according to the Denton Record Chronicles. The golfers were offered good turf, greens and more trees around the course. Every spring there would be a golf tournament on the 18 hole to compete for “The Leman Golf Cup,” presented in honor of Pauline Bishop Leman, a coveted treasure of student golfers at Texas Woman’s University. For years the Golf Course was well maintained and with people from every community visiting it.
In 2007 everything changed as it came to the University’s attention that Denton was going through a major drought and the conditions of the club house were also deteriorating. This gave the staff a hard time as they could not decide what needed to get done in order to improve the clubhouse and keep the course in good conditions.On March 21, 2007 Vice President Dr. Richard Nicholas announced that the University would enhance the TWU Golf Course as a part of a 2 year revitalizing plan. The operation was moved to the supervision of the Fitness and Recreation Center as they were already managing most of the University’s services for students and the community.
The revitalizing plan consisted of 2 steps to be completed. The first step for the 2-year plan at the Golf Course included improving the grounds, adding new services and the possibility of offering food and beverages to members visiting the golf course. The second step of the plan was to offer new and different programs at the golf course as well as tournaments, which would attract more people. A process which was tough as the golf course was smaller compared to other golf courses. By July 31, of 2008 a new sod had been installed on the greens of the Nos 7,8,16 and 17. This was an improvement in the course and people was also looking forward to a new clubhouse. For a moment the revitalizing plan was working and people was beginning to once again gain interest in the Golf Course.
On August 26, 2015 the University realized once again that the conditions of the golf course were deteriorating and was losing more funds than it was gaining. Chancellor and President Carine Feyten and a committee composed of TWU faculty, staff, students and Denton Residents met to discuss the practicality of keeping the golf course. It was then shared that the golf course was using an approximate of 20 million gallons of water per year totaling an amount of $96,000 a year yet the grass was still not improving due to Denton’s droughts. The irrigation system was getting old and some of the bridges at the course needed to be replaced as well as the carts which were no longer working properly. On February 20, 2016 the decision to temporarily close the golf course was made until the University was able to come up with a strategy in the hope that the Golf Course could be saved.
On February 9, 2018 Dr. Monica Mendez Vice President of student life announced that after much debate the golf course was no longer financially viable to keep open. Almost $100,000 was used every year for maintenance and only a small amount of people was using course. It was then announced the golf course would permanently close on May 4, 2018 and be used as part of their expansion plan for Texas Woman’s University. A free play event was offered on the last day in which the course opened at 6:30 am and was closed until the last golfer completed play.
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Vermillion, Barry. "Pioneer Golf Course Shaping Up." Denton Record Chronicle (Denton), January 31, 2008. Accessed April 12, 2019.
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