The map has you 45 miles northwest of downtown Houston, but your eyes insist you’re in Augusta, Georgia.
Tiger Woods’s first U.S. design brilliantly evokes the look and feel of the Masters layout, thanks to a property that features natural water hazards, elevation changes and mature trees (including its namesake oaks). There’s also ample room in the landing areas, along with white, sharp-edged bunkers and blessedly short grass when you miss the fairway.
Hewn from a never-quite-finished Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw course called Blaketree National, the private Bluejack used some of the existing corridors, although all of the features are brand-new.
Everything about Bluejack is friendly and enticing. Like Augusta, it’s not overly bunkered, and there’s a minimum of traditional rough. Unlike Augusta, the greens sport soft, if inspired, contours and were designed to accept run-up shots.
It all aligns perfectly with Tiger’s design philosophy, which is to give every golfer options. With a 3,008-yard set of “Frank” junior tees and a 10-hole “Playgrounds” par-3 course next door, Woods has prioritized families and enjoyment.
All credit to Tiger and his design team. They could have injected more drama, more excess, more trouble. Instead, they emphasized walkability, playability and pure fun. Golf needs more of that.
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Tiger Woods hasn’t won a PGA Tour event since 2013, and hasn’t even teed it up in one since August 2015. His design career, however, has put him back in the winner’s circle. On Monday, Woods the architect debuted his first completed course design in the United States, Bluejack National, in Montgomery, Texas, 50 miles north of Houston.
Woods the player didn’t fare badly, either. In front of a crowd of club members and invited guests, he played his first five golf holes since 2015’s Wyndham event in Greensboro. To playing partner Mark O’Meara, a Bluejack National ambassador, emcee David Feherty and the other attendees, the smiling, wisecracking Woods was in great form, even as Tiger admitted afterwards, “I’m really rusty.” What shines, however, is the course he has designed. Bluejack National is exactly the kind of fun, player-friendly, yet strategically compelling layout that golf needs. It’s also drop-dead gorgeous. Golf clap for Woods and his entire design team, including Bryon Bell, Beau Welling and Shane Robichaux.
Conjured up from a long-closed, unfinished Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw project, Bluejack National benefits from a property that’s somewhat unusual for Houston, with natural water hazards, elevation changes and mature trees, including its namesake oaks. Thank to these existing corridors from its previous life, and an abundance of natural hazards, Bluejack National possessed a rare maturity on opening day. Echoing his design philosophy first realized at Diamante’s El Cardonal in Mexico, Woods says, “From a design standpoint, I try to create options, to make it friendly, but challenging for all levels.”
Indeed, nearly every green offers run-up options, allowing Old World ground game choices to play a prominent role. That trait alone makes it playable for golfers of every ability, as well as for families. For the latter, Woods has created a 3,008-yard set of “Frank” Junior tees on the 7,552-yard track, as well as a 10-hole “Playgrounds” par-3 course next door, which achieved immediate notoriety worldwide upon opening two months ago when the first shot of the event yielded an ace, by 11-year-old Taylor Crozier.
The adjacent 10-holer is a blast, but for those looking to thump and shape shots, the championship course is equally fun. The tall trees, rolling terrain and brilliant white sand bunkers with their simple shapes evoke Augusta National. So do the roomy fairways and dearth of rough. Most apt is how contour plays such a significant role at Bluejack, as it does at Augusta. The ground game carries significant weight at Tiger’s Texas creation, most effectively when it’s interwoven with strategic options.
At the daunting 634-yard, par-5 5th, the green can actually be accessed in two, thanks to a helping slope front-left, that will feed the ball down to the putting surface. That said, the only way you can find that slope is by carrying a bunker. Down the right side is certainly safe, but you’ll have to accept that it will take you three shots, even from the shorter tees of 582 and 531, due to the greenside’s left-to-right tilt of the ground.
The 492-yard par-4 16th sounds formidable from the yardage alone, but the entire second half of the shot plays downhill. It’s not merely a broad ski slope, however. Only a well-placed shot with the proper trajectory will find the most helpful contour front-right of the green. Get it too far left, and the ball will collect in a chipping area. A challenging, though not impossible recovery awaits—but it’s fun, because you’ll have the option of four or five different club choices.
Amid all the ground game frivolity, Woods told GOLF.com that the hole that will get people talking about Bluejack National is the par-3 12th, the only hole on the course that demands a forced carry. This is one glorious exception, a downhill plunge over a lake to a green backdropped by two bunkers and mature trees. It calls to mind the 12th hole at Augusta National, only Bluejack’s version is more dramatic because of the elevation change. Of Bluejack’s 12th, Woods said, “We were looking for a connector to two different parts of the property. The hole jumped out at us. It’s the only forced carry here, the only hole with no place to bail. It fits a cut shot perfectly. People will remember it.”
People will remember Bluejack National for all the right reasons. The simple, effective strategic options carry the day, together with the variety of holes that climb uphill and tumble down, melding thoughtful ball placement with multiple risk/reward choices. The greens themselves offer remarkable differences from one another. What they all share are mostly friendly and interesting recovery possibilities. Kudos to Tiger Woods Design for creating a layout that will entice people to come back, rather than shooing them away.
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Developers have opened a Nike Golf Performance Fitting Center at Bluejack National, Tiger Woods’ golf resort northwest of Houston.
The Nike (NYSE: NKE) performance center features a hitting bay, golf club fitting area, putting lab and a Nike apparel store. Inside, golfers can analyze their swings using a computer and get fitted with the latest club technology from Nike.
Bluejack National’s Nike Golf center is just one of three in the world. The other Nike Golf centers are in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Sea Island, Georgia.
The Nike Golf center is located at The Place, a mini clubhouse that will function as a gathering place for Bluejack National club members until the main clubhouse is finished.
The Place, designed by Tiger Woods Design, Nike Golf and The Woodlands-based Crimson Design Associates, features a mid-century modern aesthetic infused with a golfing theme. A 1960s-era Sputnik-style light fixture, made out of 63 golf clubs, adorns a lounge table. The bar features a custom-made countertop epoxied with golf tees.
The Place and the Nike Golf center overlook The Playgrounds, a new short golf course geared for families and children. The 10-hole course features par 3 holes ranging from 35 to 100 yards with thin treelines and Zoysia grass fairways and greens that are easier to play on than the 18-hole championship golf course. The Playgrounds will be lit up at night, allowing for nighttime play.
“It’s all about fun, multigenerational playable golf,” said Casey Paulson, president of Bluejack National.
Tiger Woods was inspired to build The Playgrounds after practicing golf in a neighborhood park as a child growing up in Southern California. At night — playing by ambient streetlight — Woods and his friends would make up games — hitting balls over trees, around the jungle gym and through an old tire.
“We found a place — a park — and created something fun,” Woods said. “(At Bluejack National), we created something fun here that you can play with your kids, family and your buddies. It can be very social and very competitive.”
Bluejack National is the first Tiger Woods designed golf community to open in the U.S. The residential community and resort, anchored by a 18-hole championship golf course, is located at 4430 S. FM 1486 in Montgomery County, a little more than an hour northwest of Houston.
Dallas-based developers Beacon Land Development and Lantern Asset Management worked with Nike Design and several local custom homebuilders to design the golf resort. The main 18-hole golf course is nearly finished, and builders are underway on new amenities and resort homes.
READ ARTICLE HERE on Houston Business Journal.
An 11-year-old boy from Corpus Christi, Texas, hit a hole-in-one on Wednesday at a club that’s home to a new golf course created by Tiger Woods, reports ABC News.
Taylor Crozier was among a group of youngsters from the Southern Texas PGA Junior Golf Club invited to the Bluejack National, a resort-style community in Montgomery where members can play on the first Woods-designed course in the U.S. The kids were there to take a swing at the opening of The Playgrounds, a shorter, 10-hole course.
When he stepped up to the tee, Taylor was introduced by the commentator as a “man with a perfect school attendance record until today.” Woods was standing right behind him, watching the shot. When Taylor hit the hole-in-one, Woods held his head in his hands, then gave Taylor a hug and a high-five, saying, “Are you kidding me right now?” “[The] inaugural shot and he holes it!” Woods shouted to the crowd.
READ ARTICLE HERE on Newsweek.com.
Development of the Year winners announced
Golf Inc. announced it will honor five golf courses from four countries in this year’s Development of the Year competition.
The honorees in alphabetical order are: Al Zorah Golf Club in Ajman, UAE; Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas; Cabot Cliffs in Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada; Cape Wickham Links in Tasmania, Australia; and Rockwind Community Links in City of Hobbs, New Mexico.
The 15th annual contest highlights the best new private and public golf courses in the world. It judges new courses based on development vision, aesthetics, routing and sustainability, which examines the economic and environmental impact the courses will have for years to come.
“Development has slowed in America and year after year that is represented in the international representation of entrants and winners,” said Jack Crittenden, Editor-In-Chief of Golf Inc. “All honorees are of the highest caliber. Readers will see many familiar architect names like Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.”
The United States still made a good showing when it came to entrants, however most honorees were international projects. Other entries came from Singapore and several U.S. States including California, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey and Utah. In addition to open nominations, the Golf Inc. staff identified courses that received accolades and invited the developer and architect to enter the competition to ensure the best projects were part of the competition.
All five courses will be featured in the March/April issue of Golf Inc. Magazine. There will be a first, second and third place in addition to honoring two finalists.
READ ARTICLE HERE on Golf Inc.
Six homebuilders have been chosen to construct hundreds of custom homes in Bluejack National, a new luxury resort community featuring the first Tiger Woods-designed golf course in the U.S.
The homebuilders are Dream Works Properties, based in The Woodlands; Jeff Paul Custom Homes, based in The Woodlands; Morning Star Builders, based in Houston; Texas Elite Custom Homes, based in Klein; Tipler Design and Build, based in The Woodlands; and Waterford Custom Homes, based in north Houston.
“These builders are consistent with the high quality standards we present here at Bluejack National,” Gary Short, Bluejack’s sales director, said in a statement. “They were specifically selected for their integrity, level of expertise within the custom marketplace and the exceptional personalized service they provide their clients.”
Prospective homebuyers can choose from among the six homebuilders to construct a custom home on 234 estate and homestead lots, which range in size from a half-acre to one-and-a-half acres. An estate lot can cost between the mid-$200,000s to the low $600,000s.
Some of the estate lots will offer views of the golf course, while others will offer views of the lush woodlands surrounding the resort community. The homes will have access to a trail system as well as family-friendly community amenities, such as a movie theater, zip line and fish camp.
Developers Beacon Land Development and Lantern Asset Management, both based in Dallas, have also partnered with Tipler to build 147 vacation homes for the resort. The luxury homebuilder will construct a mix of member suites, cottages and patio homes that can be rented out by owners to family and friends for short-term stays at the resort.
The rustic homes, which were designed by Montana-based Nick Fullerton Architects, will feature smart home amenities and range in size from 1,200 to 3,300 square feet and in price from the mid-$400,000s to nearly $1.5 million. These vacation homes have been selling quickly, according to developers.
Bluejack National held a soft opening for its championship-level golf course in November and will hold a grand opening for the resort and model homes this spring. The 755-acre development is located at the former site of Blaketree National Golf Club at 4430 S. FM 1486 in Montgomery County, about an hour northwest of Houston.
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