Texas bargains: The Houston area's eight best golf courses for the money

HOUSTON -- The Houston area has just one golf course that's routinely more than $100 to play, and that's the Golf Club of Houston's Tournament Course, the host course of the Houston Open set up to emulate conditions at Augusta National in an effort to lure more top-ranked players to Houston.

So golf in Houston is fairly affordable, but some courses are more affordable than others. In fact, they're bargains.

With that said, though, I need to differentiate between cheap golf and bargains. There are plenty of courses that cost less than $50 to play, but many of them lack the conditioning and layout that makes them bargains.

Here are eight courses that offer fairly low green fees, good design and above-average conditions:

Memorial Park in Houston

Arguably, Houston has just one classic public layout that has earned a national reputation -- Memorial Park, which underwent a renovation in 1996 and has been ranked among the top municipal golf courses in the country by several national publications.

Site of the annual city amateur championship, this 1936 John Bredemus design located in the heart of the city is close to 7,300 yards long and still a bargain with green fees less than $50 and even less for juniors and seniors (who pay $15 to walk during the week). Tee times, however, aren't easy to get, but they're not impossible (books them online) with a little patience. It's closed on Tuesdays, by the way.

Eagle Pointe in Mont Belvieu

Eagle Pointe benefits from the fact that it's a municipal and is able to not only offer local residents a membership for annual fees that are too low to publish, but visitors get to play a championship course.

It features tall pines, streams and a rolling terrain, in great condition for very little green. The facility also has great practice facilities.

Quail Valley in Missouri City

The one-time private club at Quail Valley in Missouri City is now a municipal facility that escaped the clutches of development a few years ago.

Once the site of the Houston Open, the El Dorado Course, recently renovated by architect Jeff Blume, is enjoying a tremendous resurgence. The facility also includes the La Quinta Course, which also got some work done to it.

Moody Gardens Municipal in Galveston

Moody Gardens Golf Course is another municipal facility that found new life. It underwent a $16 million renovation by the design firm of Jacobson Hardy in 2008 only to get slammed by Hurricane Ike a couple of months later.

Fortunately, the new course was sodded with paspalum grass, which is salt water resistant, and despite the course's being flooded by one and a half feet of seawater, it was open for play just a couple of weeks after the storm. It also looks terrific.

The Links at Westfork in Conroe

Not a lot of outsiders know about this quirky course north of the city, but The Links at Westfork is worth the drive.

Cut along the banks of the west fork of the San Jacinto River, this linksy Rick Robbins layout offers a great variety of holes over interesting terrain. Measuring just more than 6,900 yards from the tips, it's a good test.

Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring

There are two golf courses at Cypresswood, including the terrific Keith Foster-designed Tradition Course, but it's the Cypress that's the better value.

Perennially a site for various qualifiers, including the Houston Open, the course's terrain is influenced by Spring and Cypress Creeks and features pine trees, rolling terrain and generally good conditions. It's also located close to Bush Intercontinental Airport. (Note: Cypresswood has been closed since August 2017 because of damage from Hurricane Harvey, but is set to reopen in April 2018.)

The Wilderness in Lake Jackson

Jeff Brauer designed The Wilderness Golf Club to blend with nature, but he also created several memorable holes, including a par 5 that ends with a green that's 180 feet long -- and that means club selection on the approach can vary by three or four clubs.

Mike Bailey is a former Golf Advisor 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. He has also been 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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What about bargains on course if I'm going to the players championship?

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When you think of Houston, you think of the energy industry, the port of Houston and maybe the Galleria -- not golf resorts. But yes, Virginia, there are golf resorts in the Houston area but not many. And while none of them are spectacular, there are actually some pretty good values. Veteran Texas golf writer Mike Bailey has more from the Bayou City.
Home of the Houston Open, the Rees Jones-designed Tournament Course at the Golf Club of Houston is one of the best conditioned layouts in the Houston area.
So maybe you've got a long weekend or three afternoons during the week in Houston and about $200 to spend on golf. Not a problem, because $200 goes a long way in the Bayou City, and best of all, there's more than 100 courses from which to choose. All but one of them can be played for less than $100. So with that in mind, let's set our goals a little modestly. Choosing just three courses isn't easy, but my picks don't take you too far out of town, fit well within budget and are courses that say Houston all over them.
Houston resident and Golf Advisor Senior Writer Mike Bailey ranks his ten best public courses to play around Houston.
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Texas bargains: The Houston area's eight best golf courses for the money