It's been a vision for years, and now, thanks to a generous donation from a distinguished alum, it's about to open to the public. Still four months from opening, the Jerry S. Rawls Red Raider Golf Course is already being called one of the finest new links style courses in the country. Some go as far as to say, it's a slice of Scotland, parked right in the middle of Lubbock.
"It's amazing. You don't think you're in Lubbock," says Jack North, the General Manager of the Jerry S. Rawls Red Raider Golf Course. North says watching a cotton field being carved into a world class golf course has been a spectacle indeed. "To come out and watch it shape daily was a real thrill," says North.
After years of planning and years of moving dirt, the course is now just four months from its grand opening. It was designed by world renowned Golf Course Architect Thomas Doak, and it's one of his most challenging designs yet. "He enjoyed the challenge. We had 2 feet 10 inches of elevation from the northwest corner to the southeast corner. Totally a flat cotton field. We moved 1,300,000 cubic tons of dirt," says North.
The 7,000 yard course starts slow, but becomes a real challenge for golfers on hole three. Hole 8 features a sand trap 21 feet below the green, a kind of trademark design usually only seen at golf courses on the coast. "I think this will be one of the top 10 new golf courses in America in 2004," says North.
Huge ferns frame the course giving it complete isolation from Indiana Avenue and Erskine Street, allowing golfers to get lost in all of its splendor. It's a course that's just beginning to green-up and it will have all summer to grow in. A long course giving players a chance to grip, and rip. "What people want is to be able to hit driver off the tee, and this allows everybody to pull the driver out, hit it and go find it," says North.
When players reach the greens, they'll find some of the finest playing surfaces around. "It's more expensive to build a California style than a USGA green, but we think we'll have a much better putting surface and faster putting surface," says North.
The greens are described as large, challenging and severe. "You virtually have three club selections difference from front to back," says North.
The course finishes with two par fives on holes 17 and 18, including a water hazard on 18. A feature that gives players a chance to make up two to three strokes on the final two holes. Giving it a championship course quality. "We want to attract Big 12 Tournaments and NCAA tournaments," says North.
The course also has a giant turf tee driving range, and three practice holes exclusively for the Texas Tech golf teams. The course is kept wet with no less than six irrigation wells, it uses no city water. The course is public. Daily green fees will be $35 Monday through Thursday, and $40 Friday through Sunday. Memberships are $2,500 annually and will be capped at 450 memberships.
Tech faculty and staff will get a 10% discount on memberships and daily fees. Tech students will receive the best rates, a 15% discount on memberships and daily fees.