Golf course at Texas Women's University in Denton to close; timetable still uncertain

Another Texas golf course is set to close, and it's another one with historic relevance.

The Pioneer Golf Course at Texas Women's University -- which opened in 1939 -- will be closed sometime in the near future, though a specific timetable hasn't been set.

The university's Board of Regents voted earlier this year to re-purpose the golf course, which has been losing money in recent years ($150,000 annually, paid for by student service-fees) and is only used by 3 percent of the university staff and students. TWU also does not have a golf team. The course, however, is the only 18-hole public play in Denton, Texas, which is just north of Dallas.

The goal is to transition the use of the land and include the redesign as part of a new campus master-plan, according to university officials. Among the proposals is a plan to return the 106-acre course to natural wetlands, letting trees go back and putting in walking paths and perhaps even building housing and parking spaces on the property.

"The timeline currently is under discussion, and a specific date or projection hasn't been released," said Amanda McKeen Simpson, director of media relations for Texas Women's University. "Ample notice will be given so the community will have the opportunity to enjoy the golf course one last time."

The golf course, which has two sets of tees, is a par 69, measuring just 5,676 yards from the back tees. Last year, the course experimented with FootGolf, but it didn't prove popular enough to significantly affect revenues. Green fees are under $20 to the general public, even on the weekends.

When the TWU course closes, it will join a few more that recently closed in Texas, most notably, Fort Worth's Glen Garden Golf & Country Club, where Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sandra Palmer used to play, closed at the end of 2014. In May of this year, The Falls Golf Club in New Ulm, also shut its doors. The Falls was a favorite for the late architect Jay Riviere, who had a home on the hilly layout between Columbus and Houston. In San Antonio, Pecan Valley Golf Club, host of the 1968 PGA Championship won by Julius Boros, closed in 2012.

Another course that's been in danger of closing has been Lion's Municipal G.C. in Austin. But recent efforts may have stemmed the tide, at least temporarily. The course was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places because of its place in the civil rights movement. The University of Texas System has been wanting to turn the property into a mixed-use development, but this decision by the National Register will make it tougher.

And finally, another municipal course that was in danger of closing was Houston's Gus Wortham Golf Course, where there was a proposal to turn the 108-year-old track into a botanical garden (at least half the course). The Houston Golf Association has since stepped in to manage and renovate the course, which was once known as (once Houston Country Club), and is the oldest 18-hole course in Texas.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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Golf course at Texas Women's University in Denton to close; timetable still uncertain