Brauer-designed track aims to be the top course in East Texas
GLADEWATER, Texas (Oct. 1, 2018) – After nearly two years under the blade and myriad battles with Mother Nature befitting its name, the Jeffery Brauer-designed Tempest Golf Club opened for public play on Sept. 29 on the heels of a lavish party and preview round for members and dignitaries the day and night before.
Tempest Golf Club is a stunning parkland-style course set on the site of the former Southern Hills Golf Club, a mile north of I-20 two hours east of Dallas and 45 minutes west of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Brought to life by Arlington, Texas-based golf architect Brauer, Tempest Golf Club takes advantage of dramatic Texas Piney Woods topography with its rise and fall of almost 200 feet, incredible core golf vistas across as many as five holes in the routing’s lower confines, and a pair of holes that play across a four-acre freshwater lake.
“We have always had the stated goal of being the best course in East Texas and the site allows us to accentuate what the land gives us,” said Brauer, whose previous designs include the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Texas, as well as The Wilderness at Fortune Bay and The Quarry and Legend Courses at Giants Ridge, and Superior National Golf Course, in Minnesota, all of which are highly awarded.
“The canvas itself just needed to be brought forward with a playable routing. With a tweak here and a mound or two or a bunker there, we have been able to bring out the flavor and reveal the best things about the site. It is a remarkable golf course and will be fun to play over and over again.”
Tempest Golf Club and the undeveloped property around it are owned by Joe Bruno, a New Orleans-based attorney. He originally developed the course and its surrounding neighborhood as a gift to his children and grandchildren.
After years of struggling financially with the project, Bruno made the decision to take a mulligan on both the golf course and the community, eventually adopting the philosophy of putting the golf course first.
The reception for the course and neighborhood has been resounding.
“I’m not a golfer, but driving around this course and seeing the work Jeff has done to bring it to life and a truly fun and playable track has been a real eye-opener for me,” Bruno said. “I understand about art and architecture and see a lot of that in the routing and features here that’s helped augment what Mother Nature has provided us.”
Tempest Golf Club is carded at 7,229 yards from the back set of five tees and plays to a par of 36-36–72. It’s initial rating and slope are 73.7/130, a hearty test due to a number of forced carries, its many water hazards and a half-dozen par 4s that play at 419 yards or more from the tips.
The first six holes at Tempest Golf Club are routed over the footprint of the old course, but the rest are completely new, built on land previously reserved for residential lots. The putting surfaces are turfed with Champion G12 Bermuda, perfect for the climate of East Texas.
Brauer said that golfers will find the sixth, the 11th, and the 12th holes to be Tempest Golf Club’s signature offerings, but only after great debate because every hole is solid and has little features that sets it apart.
The sixth hole (a par 5) uses the same corridor through the woods as one of the course’s existing holes but was transformed by moving more than 30,000 cubic yards of earth, removing the previous blind areas and creating a wonderful downhill vista.
Brauer was surprised that original course’s designers didn’t use the large tree-lined pond that now borders the 11th hole, a 450-yard par 4. He now considers No. 11 one of the best challenges on the course, especially from the back two sets of tees, which ask for an angled carry over the water.
The 12th hole had originally been earmarked for housing, but its footprint was ultimately too steep. Now, that corner of the course has been turned into a dramatic, downhill par 3 on which the golfers traverse a creek on a wooden bridge between tee and green.
The 10th and 18th holes occupy what was an overcrowded mix of holes 7, 8, 16, and 18 and set the stage for a dramatic beginning and end to the back-nine.
The club also feature a renovated and expanded 7,500-square-foot clubhouse and spacious outdoor deck that will offer fine dining options and a fully stocked bar. Tempest has already hosted several weddings and receptions and space on the calendar for the remainder of the fall and winter seasons is beginning to fill up.
Plans are in the works for casitas to be built on the course’s property in the coming months.
Tempest was also the site of a preview high school golf tournament on Sept. 17-18 and has been open for limited play to some of its more than 100 members since Sept. 22.
For more information about Tempest Golf Club, go to www.tempestgolfclub.com