The Highly Acclaimed Rawls Course at Texas Tech University to Play Host
Everything’s bigger in Texas — the saying rings especially true with the American Junior Golf Association. Last year, 610 AJGA members called the Lone Star State home — making up 14 percent of the entire AJGA membership base.
The AJGA conducted seven events in Texas in 2003, but that number will swell to nine this year to give sufficient playing opportunities to members there.
The first of the new events will take place in early June when the AJGA sets up shop in Lubbock, Texas, for the inaugural AJGA Lubbock Junior. The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University will serve as the host facility for the event scheduled for June 7-10.
“With the size of our membership in Texas and the South Central region, we’re excited to offer expanded opportunities for our juniors in this area,” AJGA Director of Player Services Rob Jansen said. “Being held in a college town like Lubbock will give the players additional exposure as well.”
Exposure to coaches won’t be the only aspect of college on hand at the AJGA Lubbock Junior; one of the newest collegiate golf courses will be on display for 54 holes of competition when the juniors tackle the Rawls Course.
“It’s a great chance for Texas Tech to showcase their brand new facility,” said Bobby Powell, vice president of operations for the AJGA. “It’s a no-brainer for the kids to go play and take the opportunity to get a look at the course and the university.”
Designed by Tom Doak, the course lies in what used to be a flat cotton field and employs a links-style design. What was initially a flat Texas prairie of 268 acres now sits as an oasis of rolling fairways and lush greens surrounded by 15-foot berms on all sides.
“The design of the Red Raider course is probably the most complicated we’ve done to date,” Doak wrote on the course’s Web site. “Starting with a flat cotton field, we had to create an entire landscape from scratch and then build our golf holes around it.”
The consensus is that the course’s eighth hole is its hardest. The par-4 hole plays 476 yards into the prevailing southwest wind. Among its pitfalls is a 21-foot deep greenside bunker.
“I think the toughest hole on the course is No. 8,” said Jack North, the course’s managing director. “It’s well-trapped with a severely sloped green.”
Another of Doak’s creations is the famed Pacific Dunes in Bandon, Ore. But it is the Rawls Course, his latest effort, which was recently named one of the top 10 new courses in the nation by Golf Magazine. The buzz around the new course has been spectacular, according to North.
“It’s just an unbelievable opportunity (to be able to host the AJGA),” North said. “We’re truly thrilled and amazed to get a tournament like this so early in our existence. We’re proud to host it and are going to try to make this year’s the best ever.”
Another impressive component of the complex is its practice facility which features a 53-acre driving range, 16,000 square feet of practice greens and five sand bunkers. The driving range, the largest of its kind in the world, can accommodate up to 90 players at one time.
But it is the course itself that is sure to attract plenty of quality competition for juniors.
“One good thing about this tournament is that it’s early in the year so kids from the area are out of school and there are no other national events in the region that week,” Powell said.
While school may be done for the year when the AJGA rolls into town, the Rawls Course will still be trying to teach junior golfers a thing or two. The lesson: Don’t Mess with Texas—and the jewel that is Texas Tech’s new course.