Hole-by-hole: Memorial Park Golf Course, host of The Houston Open

Tom Doak and player consultant Brooks Koepka redesign a classic big-city municipal into a PGA Tour venue - but the green fees remain cheap for locals.
Architect Tom Doak reimagined the historic Memorial Park Golf Course in the heart of Houston, Texas.

The PGA Tour is back inside the loop. Memorial Park, a municipal golf course near downtown Houston, was awarded the Houston Open starting in 2020. The event moved from well north of town in Humble at the 36-hole, semi-private Golf Club of Houston to just inside I-610. Prior to the move, the golf course underwent a $15 million transformation that was completed in late-2019, quite incredibly within a year's time. The Astros Golf Foundation raised the money for the project and commissioned architect Tom Doak and player consultant Brooks Koepka to totally redesign the existing 18 holes.

The result is a 7,292-yard design with five par 5s, including a risk-reward 16th hole that runs along perhaps the most drastic change from the previous design by John Bredemus. A large collection pond was installed for both drainage purposes and for strategic elements on the 16th and 17th holes that hug it. Irrigation canals were also dug out or deepened and add a new aesthetic to this classic layout within the 1,500-acre urban greenspace.

Doak's greens are often times elevated with collection areas and runoffs. There are only 19 bunkers, down from 54, and three of them border the 18th green.

For resident golfers, Memorial Park is one of the best under-$50 golf experiences in the country. Non-residents pay closer to $150 to play. The result is that tee times can be very hard to come by and often times booked within minutes of becoming available.

4 Min Read
March 2, 2021
Even still, the new PGA Tour stop remains one of the better values on the schedule.

Tour the new Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston:

  1. Par 5 | 522 yards
    The first hole is a reachable par 5 that plays towards the Galleria skyline.

  2. Par 3 | 167 yards
    The scenic par-3 2nd hole shows off the drainage work undertaken by Tom Doak's team.

  3. Par 5 | 587 yards
    HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13: A course scenic view of the third hole green during previews for the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on October 13, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

  4. Par 4 | 490 yards
    A course scenic view of the fourth hole green during previews for the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course.

  5. Par 4 | 393 yards
    HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13: A course scenic view of the fifth hole green during previews for the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on October 13, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

  6. Par 4 | 443 yards
    HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13: A course scenic view of the sixth hole green during previews for the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on October 13, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

  7. Par 3 | 216 yards
    Enhanced trench and drainage work is a noticeable visual feature of the new Memorial Park.

  8. Par 5 | 625 yards

    The Houston Open posted this flyover of the narrow and lengthened par 5 at Memorial Park:


  9. Par 3 | 182 yards
    The 9th hole has one of Memorial Park's more perilous green complexes.

  10. Par 4 | 456 yards
    The par-4 10th hole has two bunkers down the left and a large grass bunker on the right.

  11. Par 3 | 237 yards
    Memorial Park's longest par 3 is the 11th hole.

  12. Par 4 | 496 yards
    The 12th hole should be one of the toughest on the course: a long par 4 with a shallow green.

  13. Par 4 | 333 yards
    Big-hitters will take a poke at the drivable par-4 13th hole.

  14. Par 5 | 529 yards
    A course scenic view of fairway bunker on the 14th hole, a reachable par 5 at Memorial Park Golf Course.

  15. Par 3 | 155 yards
    The sneaky tough 15th is relatively short but has a deceptive and deep green.

  16. Par 5 | 576 yards
    High drama awaits on the par-5 16th hole, which is reachable but very water heavy, including a peninsula green.

  17. Par 4 | 382 yards
    The 17th hole hugs the large pond shared by the par-5 16th hole.

  18. Par 4 | 503 yards
    There are three bunkers guarding the gently elevated 18th green, a long, slight dogleg right.
    Houston, Texas
    Public/Municipal
    3.9351176471
    30

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
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Hole-by-hole: Memorial Park Golf Course, host of The Houston Open