Golfers are a rare breed. They’re known for waking up at ungodly hours on Saturday mornings in order to make a tee time scheduled weeks ago to march around several acres of would-be pasture, metal club in hand, smacking a tiny, dimpled ball.
They’re also known for playing golf courses that offer a near spiritual connection with nature along with a superior test of their golfing skills, and for thousands of gulf coast residents, the Moody Garden Golf Course provides that sublime cocktail of location and playability.
Players from around the Houston area and the state for that matter flock to the links style course located just behind the Seawall to challenge the course's layout, which meanders around Sydnor bayou and other upland and lowland native areas. Thanks to the ever-present gulf breeze, water hazards on just about every hole and around 500 palm trees, players are advised to bring their “A” game.
The first Galveston Municipal Golf Course was located where the Scholes International Airport now sits and was moved to its current location in 1976. Re-named the Moody Garden Golf Club in 2008, the 6,900-yard, par 72 public course—one of the state’s largest—has gained a reputation as one of Texas’ finest courses. Since undergoing a $16 million renovation in 2008, the course has become a favorite among area golfers and has won several honors, including “Recommended by TripAdvisor” status. GolfNow has also ranked it the third-best course in the Greater Houston area, with reviews peppered with superlatives like “Beautiful,” “Top Notch,” and “The best municipal course in Texas.”
The course was also ranked ninth on Golf Advisor's Power Rankings determined by golfers across the nation.
The renovation, completed just before Hurricane Ike roared across the island, included raising the elevations, installing new irrigation and drainage systems and reseeding with a hardy, salt-tolerant grass called paspalum. By the way, it is the first course in the continental U.S. to be seeded with paspalum. A forward-thinking and environmentally conscious program that uses treated effluent water from the city of Galveston to water the grounds was also initiated.
But as inviting as the course is today, it got off to a rocky start shortly after coming under the auspices of Moody Gardens. With the renovation completed only about three months before Hurricane Ike, the storm tested the resilience of facility right off the bat by flooding the course with as much as five feet of water in some spots. And if that wasn’t enough, the historically awful drought of 2011 hurled another dose of reality at the course.
But that’s all in the past. If you love your golf with a pinch of sea salt and a helping of coastal beauty, schedule your round at the Moody Gardens Golf Course today. You’ll still probably have to wake up at the crack of dawn, though.