Nearly a year since Hurricane Harvey devastated Port Aransas, many places in that community have rebuilt and reopened. However, one of its major attractions remains closed.
The golf course at the Palmilla Beach Golf & Resort Community is still shut down. It turns out the damage from the storm pointed the future of the facility in a new direction.
The golf course at Palmilla Beach already offered a unique setting for people who came to play there. It’s the only links course in the state of Texas with the coast line as a backdrop.
"It’s a championship golf course, Arnold Palmer design, and we played about 23,000 rounds a year out here," says Gregory Carr, asset manager for Palmilla Beach.
But the Gulf waters became trouble when Hurricane Harvey hit last summer. As Carr recalls, "There was a tremendous amount of sea water on the course and we had a difficult time getting it off."
Once the water was removed, managers found significant damage. Carr says although only some of the grass on the fairways was lost, the greens on the golf course were a total loss. The storm also took away its source of irrigation. Carr explains that the course uses greywater. That’s relatively clean wastewater that comes from baths, sinks, and appliances.
Facing a huge rebuilding effort ahead, Carr says Palmilla Beach started to not only think about restoring the golf course, but making it better.
"We brought in our land planners. We brought in architects. We brought in internationally renowned Troon Golf to help us plan the facility of the future," Carr says.
The future, he says, is the same direction of the industry with golf moving more toward entertainment. Carr says that will come in the way of new amenities and features.
"During the planning process, we decided to add more amenities or change some things to make it more friendly to a novice golfer or a non-golfer altogether," Carr describes. "We really want to appeal to a wider market."
Fun isn’t the only focus. Carr says Palmilla Beach also has future storms in mind after taking a beating from Harvey.
"We saw some vulnerabilities with the storm and some of the floods we’ve had the past few years, so we will make significant improvements on the golf course that will help drainage and such as we go forward."
Construction on the newly designed golf course got underway about two weeks ago. Carr says specifics on the new course will be released in the next month or two. The target date for the reopening is April 1, 2019.