The Tournament Course is still known to most Houstonians as “the TPC” from the days when the course was known as the Tournament Players Course at The Woodlands.
Opened as The Woodlands East Course in 1978, the TPC is a wonderful design from the collaboration of Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin from their time together in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
In the mid-1980’s, the Houston Golf Association and the PGA Tour arranged a licensing arrangement with The Woodlands Corporation and The Woodlands Country Club in which the East Course was transformed into a Tournament Players Course with the typical spectator mounds found on such courses. After that, the HGA moved the Houston Open golf tournament to the TPC and, for the following 18 years, the tournament enjoyed its most successful run in its long history. As a result, Shell Oil Corporation decided to become the tournament’s title sponsor, which solidified the Houston Open as one of the top second-tier tournaments on the PGA Tour.
When the HGA decided to move the Houston Open to Redstone in 2002, the license deal with the PGA Tour was terminated and the TPC reverted to The Woodlands Country Club, where it is now one of that club’s three courses and one of the seven courses in The Woodlands. A couple of years ago, the Champions Tour moved its Houston tournament to the TPC, a move that has catapulted that tournament into one of the top Champions Tour events because of the popularity of the TPC among the senior players.
The TPC is a joy to play and one of the best courses in the Houston area. From the men’s tees, it’s a pleasant 6600 yards (131 slope rating; 7000 yards and 138 slope from the tips) and is a great course to walk. It has a wonderful variety of holes, punctuated by the final two holes — 17 (nicknamed “the Devil’s Bathtub”) and 18 – a long par 4 over water – are two of the two finest finishing holes that you will find anywhere.
I love the contrast in the photos between the light brown of the dormant Bermuda grass with the various shades of greens of the trees, winter rye-seeded tee areas and the lightly overseeded greens. Enjoy!
Update: Another slideshow of the course, this time on a cool Autumn morning with the course in full bloom, is here.