Site Preview - Shady Oaks Country Club
Yardage: 6,679 yards
USGA championships: This will be the first USGA championship conducted at the club.
Ben’s place: Four-time U.S. Open champion Ben Hogan was one of the founding members of Shady Oaks. Members and guests could often see him eating lunch at his favorite table overlooking the 18th green about four days a week. He was known to quietly practice with his 5-iron on an out-of-the-way hole on the short course hidden inside the championship 18 hole course. Said Hogan of Shady Oaks: "This one is my pet."
More Hogan: Hogan considered Shady Oaks a highly deceptive course that required supreme accuracy when it came to distance. Shots that come up long and short of the flagstick often are as damaging as a shot that misses the green right or left.
Fulfilling a dream: In 1955, Fort Worth business leader, golfer and community benefactor, Marvin Leonard, who built nationally renown Colonial Country Club, bought 1,200 acres of rolling hills on the west side of Fort Worth. He thought it was the ideal place to fulfill his vision of a spectacular country club for his hometown, complete with a picturesque golf course and a small membership roster of congenial people. While the course and clubhouse took $4 million to complete, Leonard eventually sold the club in 1969 to the membership for $2.5 million. Leonard’s original clubhouse was replaced by a new one in 2005.
Not so fast: When Hogan first saw the land that Leonard intended to build his new club on, he thought the terrains were much too hilly for golf. Even though Hogan and Leonard were close friends, the two rarely agreed on anything and Leonard went ahead with his plans to construct the golf club and hired architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. to route the holes. Because Leonard wanted perfection, some holes were often laid out two or three times until they were declared right. The third hole, for example, was moved 175 yards from its original design before Leonard was satisfied.
Long and short of it: In addition to the 18-hole championship course, a nine-hole short course was built between the two "big nines." The "Little Nine" is not a pitch-and-putt venue and demands a full compliment of clubs to navigate the layout.
As big as Texas: The 18th green at Shady Oaks has more square footage than the ground floor of the clubhouse. At this hole, it’s not uncommon to see a player hit what he thinks is a solid approach shot, only to have a 40-foot putt.
Player or chairman: Shady Oaks member Denny Alexander is not only the general chairman for this year’s Senior Amateur Championship, but he’s also in the field, having qualified for his fourth Senior Amateur. The 61-year-old has also played in a U.S. Junior, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Mid-Amateur.
Favorite respite: When the pros are in town for either the PGA Tour’s EDS Byron Nelson Championship or the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, it’s not uncommon to see a few of the high-profile players sneak over to Shady Oaks to practice away from the crowds. Tiger Woods, for one, has been seen on the practice range in recent years.