Culture / Sporting Life

Fort Worth’s Storied Colonial Golf Course Gets A Major Facelift Before the Charles Schwab Challenge

New State-of-the-Art Improvements, Same Time-Honored Traditions

BY // 05.09.24

A lot has changed at Fort Worth’s Colonial Country Club since it hosted the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge. The famed course that Marvin Leonard opened in 1936, and then introduced in legendary fashion as it hosted the 1941 U.S. Open, has achieved a major makeover — modernizing and renovating the oak-lined fairways to great effect.

Renowned golf course architects Gil Hanse (who also designed PGA Frisco, which opened in 2022) and Jim Wagner embarked on the most significant renovation project in Colonial’s storied history. This year’s tournament, which runs May 23 through May 26, will serve as its big reveal.

The project addressed every aspect of the course infrastructure, including a state-of-the-art irrigation system as well as new bunkers, tees, and greens. So while PGA Tour pros who have played Colonial many times, return to Fort Worth this May, it won’t be the same course they remember.

“It will still be the revered Colonial course we are all familiar with seeing and playing, but the Hanse work will improve, update, and maximize this legendary course and routing,” Colonial Country Club GM Frank Cordeiro says of the major overhaul.

Charles Schwab Challenge
2023 winner Emiliano Grillo sips champagne seated next to the Leonard Trophy.

Historic Re-Envisioning

State-of-the-art improvements like new subterranean cooling and heating systems for the green complexes will manage and adjust soil temperatures for superior growth and plant health ― maintaining the legendary landscape throughout North Texas’ notoriously wild weather swings.

The biggest changes to the course were on par three holes No. 8 and No. 13, which were drastically changed by the 1969 flood-control project, which was undertaken by the Corps of Engineers ― dramatically altering the Trinity River channel, and forming the north border of the golf course.

Celebrate 4th of July

Swipe
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Fourth of July

“The par three eighth hole was shifted left into more of a north-to-south orientation, in somewhat of a mirror image of the original hole, with a creek on the left side rather than a river on the right,” a release notes. “The 13th green also moved back and left, with bunkers added in front of the hole.”

Founder Marvin Leonard famously brought bentgrass greens to Texas for the first time against all odds, along with his course architects John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell. In fact, Leonard founded Colonial first as his own private club — to see his vision of seeding superior bentgrass come to life. Once his gamble proved a success, Leonard utilized the same grass strain at the next country club he founded ― Shady Oaks, as well as on his family ranch in Tolar, with its own nine-hole wonder ― Starr Hollow.

But, after withstanding 87 brutal Texas summers, the grass will now be nurtured from underneath ― by a hydronic water system that tricks the grass into thinking it has prime weather conditions all year long. Colonial will surely be the envy of other North Texas golf clubs for many years to come.

Most greens have now been lowered, and some have shifted slightly back or to either side a few yards. And, fans and golfers alike will notice “barrancas” incorporated throughout the course. A barranca is a normally dry streambed that channels water during occurrences of heavy rain. The new barrancas will be seen on holes 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 16, 17, and 18 ― making the most of the existing, natural drainage channels on the property.

A fabled red plaid jacket awaits the winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge. (Photo by Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports)

Time-Tested Traditions

Some things at Colonial never change. At 78 years and counting, Colonial boasts by far the longest-running PGA Tour-sponsored event held at the same golf course, and this year the course is looking younger and fresher than ever, following its profound nip and tuck.

The annual pilgrimage will bring some of the best golfers in the world to Fort Worth (though the PGA Championship being played the week before has some of the top ranked players skipping it) between May 20 and May 26. They’ll, no doubt be awed by the course’s major transformation. But, they’re here on a business trip after all ― each vying to win their portion of the Charles Schwab Challenge’s massive purse.

No matter how you “slice” it ― $9,100,000 is an awful big pie.

These PGA pros will still have to make their way through Hogan’s Alley, named after Ben Hogan who won the tournament here five times ― holding practically every record on the Colonial Country Club course at one time or another. Then, the 2024 winner will be draped in a red plaid jacket, hoist the Leonard Trophy, and have his name forever etched into the Wall of Champions.

Tickets for the Charles Schwab Challenge, ranging from The Villages, The Patio Club, and general admission are on sale here.

Discover Weber Pellet Grill at Bering's
SHOP NOW

Featured Properties

Swipe
X
X