Houston Chronicle: “What does it feel like to be on vacation all the time? The people who live in this resort-like community could probably tell you.”

Houston Chronicle: “What does it feel like to be on vacation all the time? The people who live in this resort-like community could probably tell you.”

Construction is full speed ahead at Bluejack National, the sprawling 755-acre golf club and residential community in Montgomery designed with the help of Tiger Woods.

Morning Star Builders, which produces custom homes in the greater northwest Houston area, broke ground on its first home in the golf course community. Morning Star is one of six homebuilders at Bluejack, and about 400 homes are included in the community master plan.

 “It was a great opportunity, great exposure. This is our market so to speak. This was right up our alley,” said Jay Schimpf, project manager at Morning Star.

The homeowners, Nate and Amanda Peterson, fell in love with the scenic, rolling hills, towering pine trees and family-friendly amenities that Bluejack National offered residents. While Nate is an avid golf player, Amanda and their three children, Tessa, Luke and Brooke, hope to enjoy the spa, orchards and The Fort, which includes zip lines, ropes courses, tennis, bowling, archery and more.

Read full article on Chron.com.

Houston Business Journal: Southern Living Showcase home to rise at Tiger Woods’ Houston-area golf resort

Houston Business Journal: Southern Living Showcase home to rise at Tiger Woods’ Houston-area golf resort

A luxury homebuilder will break ground this month on a Southern Living Showcase home at Tiger Woods’ golf resort north of Houston.

Morning Star Builders Ltd. is scheduled to break ground Sept. 19 on its latest Showcase home at Bluejack National, Tiger Woods’ first golf resort in the U.S. The 755-acre development is located at the former site of Blaketree National Golf Club at 4430 S. FM 1486 in Montgomery County, northwest of Houston.

The Houston-based custom homebuilder plans to build a 5,500-square-foot home off the second hole of Bluejack National’s championship golf course. The Country Estate-style home will feature five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms, a three-car garage and a guest house.

Bluejack National officials spoke with Ted Cummins, Morning Star Builders’ principal and owner, for more than a year about building a Southern Living Showcase home. The home, which is already sold, will take several months to construct.

“It’s something we were very interested in and Morning Star wanted early on in our development,” said Gary Short, director of sales for Bluejack National. “It’s great to have Morning Star building a Southern Living home here. It fits our vision for this resort as a destination for families.”

This will be Morning Star Builders’ fourth Southern Living Showcase home in Houston. The homebuilder has been operating in Houston for more than 15 years and is one of a handful of local builders selected to participate in Southern Living magazine’s custom builder program. Morning Star Builders’ previous Southern Living Showcase homes include one in Willowcreek Ranch, an equestrian community north of Houston, and another in Towne Lake, a lakefront master-planned community in Cypress. Both communities are being developed by Houston-based Caldwell Cos.

Bluejack National has selected six luxury homebuilders to build 234 custom homes on estate lots, ranging from a half-acre to one-and-a-half acres in size. These Houston-area-based builders are: Dream Works Properties, Jeff Paul Custom Homes, Morning Star Builders, Texas Elite Custom Homes, Tipler Design and Build, and Waterford Custom Homes.

Since sales began about 16 months ago, about 80 resort homes and custom home lots have been sold within the 386-home development, Short said. About 60 percent of the buyers plan to use their home as their primary residence, while the remainder are planning to use their home as a secondary or vacation home, he added.

Bluejack National is nearly sold out of its first sections of custom home lots surrounding the golf course. The resort is now opening up sales in its latest custom home section, which will sit across a 5-acre lake from The Fort. The new amenity center, which will begin construction in several weeks, will feature a wiffle ball field, a 60-yard soccer and football field, a Burger Barn with bowling lanes inside, a camp site, an adult lap pool with cabanas and bar service, a kids pool with a lazy river, a skate park, a tree house and a fishing, kayaking and canoeing dock.

The 18 estate lots in this new custom home section will range in size from a half-acre to three-quarters of an acre and will start in price from the mid-$200,000s. Buyers can selected among the six custom builders to construct their home on the lots.

Read full article on HoustonBusinessJournal.com

Robb Report: Tiger Woods – Fresh Off His First U.S. Course Design

Robb Report: Tiger Woods – Fresh Off His First U.S. Course Design

Fresh off his first U.S. course design, the golf superstar sets his sights on the sport’s next generation.

Tiger Woods has been breaking records on the golf course for nearly all of his 40 years. But the 14-time Major champion is a relative newcomer in the world of golf-course design. His first course, El Cardonal at Diamante, opened at a private resort community in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the end of 2014. More recently, this April, he was on hand at the Bluejack National club outside of Houston to unveil his first design in the United States. Following a brief exhibition on the back nine with his friend and fellow PGA Tour star Mark O’Meara, Woods sat down with Robb Report to discuss his nascent career and how golf-course design can preserve the sport’s popularity.

Why did you pick Houston as the setting for your first U.S. course?
There are two reasons that I had to be a part of this project: the land and the people involved. Bluejack does not feel like a typical Houston-area course. The terrain features significant elevation change and is more like something that you’d find in Georgia or the Carolinas. Aside from the land, the team behind Bluejack National—Mike Abbott, Casey Paulson, and Andy Mitchell from Beacon Land Development—has truly delivered a special place.

How does this course compare with El Cardonal?
At first glance, El Cardonal and Bluejack National appear extremely different. El Cardonal is set in a desert environment with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Bluejack National, which plays through towering pines and large oaks, has a very different look. But as people play both courses they will find similarities in the design. The landing areas are wide, neither course has a rough cut, and cross hazards are avoided when possible. We’ve also cleared a lot of the ground cover outside of the turf on both courses, making it easier to find errant shots and advance them back into play. Both are meant to be fun and playable for golfers of all skill levels.

How do you keep the course challenging for low-handicap players?
To score, players will need to hit their approach shots from the preferred angles into the greens, which will force them on their tee shots to challenge bunkers, take risks, and play smart. The firmness of the greens and green surrounds will also add to the difficulty for better players.

Of all the courses you’ve played, which do you look to the most for design inspiration?
My favorite course is the Old Course [at St. Andrews]. I love that there are so many different shots that can be played, especially shots along the ground. It’s a very strategic golf course, and choosing the correct angle of approach is critical if you want to score. While there are definite spots you don’t want to be, generally you can always find your ball and have a chance to recover. What I find so appealing at the Old Course are the same principles that we try to incorporate into our design efforts.

Read full article on RobbReport.com

GOLF.com: Stacy Lewis Practiced for Rio at Tiger Woods’ Bluejack National

GOLF.com: Stacy Lewis Practiced for Rio at Tiger Woods’ Bluejack National

Lewis said she became a member through relationships with Steve Elkington, and her husband Gerrod Caldwell knew the developers. “I’ve been out there quite a few times when I’ve been home,” Lewis said. “The grass is the same as here – the same zoysia, putting greens, everything. I think that helped a little bit this week just from hitting pitch shots.”

Lewis tied for fourth, missing a playoff for the bronze by one shot. She figures it will help going forward, which is why she prefers to practice at Bluejack even though it’s a 45-minute drive from her house.

“It’s worth it,” she said. “You can spend all day there. They have a back practice greens and if you want it super fast for a tournament, ‘We’ll do that for you.’ They’ve been very accommodating.”

Read full article on GOLF.com

Houston Business Journal: Charting A New Course

Houston Business Journal: Charting A New Course

How Houston’s most luxurious family resorts will revive the game of golf

Golf is at a major crossroads.

A decade ago, the Scottish game of swings and strokes was a force to be reckoned with. Crowds packed PGA tournaments, eager to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods. Business professionals flocked to the links, where deals were struck and relationships were solidified. Developers built a flurry of golf courses to lure families and retirees alike to master-planned communities across the country.

However, the game of golf now finds itself in a conundrum as interest in the sport has waned.

The number of Americans who played at least one round of golf in the past year has fallen from a high of 30.6 million in 2003 to about 25 million in 2015, according to the most recent data from the National Golf Foundation. Other metrics, such as TV ratings and golf equipment sales, have also recorded steep drop-offs in recent years.

In addition, more golf courses have closed than opened each year since 2006. More than 700 U.S. golf courses — including about 10 golf courses in Houston — have shuttered over the past decade, according to NGF. Many have been replaced by single-family homes or kid-friendly amenities such as water parks and splash pads. Pine Crest in Spring Branch and Wedgewood in Conroe are some of the most recent Houston-area golf courses to close.

The reasons for golf’s decline is varied: Younger players lack both the finances and attention span to engage in an expensive, five-hour round of golf. Modern-day fathers would rather spend their weekends at home with their families than with their buddies at the local country club. Golf courses have gotten bigger, harder and more frustrating to play. The list goes on.

Yet despite these challenges, a new crop of developers have embarked on new resorts and ranches around the Houston area, each boasting a PGA championship-quality golf course that seeks to make the game of golf fun again for players of all skill levels. These courses feature a wide range of tee boxes, from traditional championship men’s and ladies’ tees to junior tees for younger golfers; faster and larger greens; shorter roughs and wider fairways that make it easier to locate lost golf balls.

“I just think that the game of golf needs to get back to its roots,” Tiger Woods said at the March opening of Bluejack National, his first U.S. golf resort located in Montgomery County, north of Houston. “The game of golf has changed. Let’s try to change it back a little bit.”

Here are three of Houston’s most luxurious resorts and ranches that are trying to revive the game of golf.

Bluejack National

When Tiger Woods was growing up in Southern California, he honed his golf skills at a park about a quarter-mile from his childhood home.

It was practice, but it was also play, Woods said. At night, Woods and his friends would practice hitting golf balls over trees, around the jungle gym and through an old tire.

“We found a place — a park — and created something fun,” Woods said. “That’s what I grew up with.”

So when Woods decided to create his first golf course in the U.S., the professional golfer and course designer knew he wanted to create a different kind of place. Instead of the stodgy, rule-driven golf club of years past, Woods wanted to design a high-end but casual resort where people can relax with their families and enjoy the game.

Enter Bluejack National, the first Tiger Woods-designed golf community to open in the country. Dallas-based developers Beacon Land Development and Lantern Asset Management worked with Tiger Woods Design for about a year before breaking ground on the former Blaketree National Golf Club in July 2014. They wanted to create a fun golf course that was forgiving for the average player but also challenging for professionals.

“It’s really difficult to hit the ball straight up in the air with a lot of spin,” Woods said. “We find that at all levels.”

Woods and a team of developers and designers revamped most of Blaketree’s golf corridors, clearing some trees and opening up the landscape. They went old school in Bluejack National’s design, eschewing tall grasses and roughs in favor of short Zoysia fairway greens rimmed with mulch and thin trees. Players can now hit through trees and putt through the fairway, ensuring that fewer golf balls are lost.

“I think that golf should be played on the ground,” Woods said. “My favorite place to play is the British Open. I love being creative and hitting a bunch of different shots. That’s what I think the game of golf can get back to.”

Players can also customize Bluejack National’s course to fit their schedules, choosing between three-hole, five-hole and nine-hole routes. That speeds up the pace of play, a pervasive problem in the game today. Bluejack National allows busy corporate executives to spend as much or as little time on the course as they want.

There will be comfort stations throughout the course that allow players to take a break from the game. A fruit stand will offer fresh yogurt, homemade jam and fruit on the back of the fifth hole. An old barn-style shack with a tri-tip grill will serve up meat and Bluejack ale on the back of the 12th and 17th holes.

Bluejack National will cater to the entire family. Serious golfers can check out the Nike Performance Golf Center— one of only three in the world — to analyze their swings and get fitted with the latest club technology. Nongolfers can relax at their cottage or spa and play at The Playgrounds, a shorter, 10-hole course that will be lit up at night.

“I thought the game of golf was always fun and competitive because my dad allowed it to be that way. He always stressed that the game should be fun,” Woods said. “Let’s try to bring the enjoyment back into the game of golf.”

Bluejack National (click here to tour it)

  • Address: 4430 S. FM 1486 in Montgomery County
  • Size: 755 acres
  • Amenities: Golf course, restaurant, clubhouse, Nike Performance Center, fitness center, The Fort, a 3-acre amenity park with a burger joint, pool, skate park, whiffle ball diamond, tennis courts, a flag football field, zip lines, tree houses and a fish camp.
  • Homes: 386 single-family homes and member suites
  • Members: 100


GOLF.com: Tiger Woods’ Bluejack National Evokes Look and Feel of Augusta

GOLF.com: Tiger Woods’ Bluejack National Evokes Look and Feel of Augusta

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.

Read the full article on GOLF.com