Bechtol Russell Staying Busy in Texas

Bechtol Russell, a golf course design company based in Austin, has several projects underway in its home state of Texas.

The duo’s latest new course project, Waterford Texas, recently held an event to introduce the development to interested parties. The backers of the new golf community just east of Marble Falls on the upper banks of Lake Travis hosted 400 invitees, founders, members, guests and others to "A Taste of Waterford" on October 21.

The event involved several activities. Waterford's new head golf pro Alan Wooley offered test-drives of the soon-to-be released square driver from Callaway Golf. Guests were also treated to manicures, pedicures, facials and chair massage in the spa.

Throughout the day and into the evening, guests were given tours of the new golf course by Wooley and by architects Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell. The front nine has been completely grassed, and the back nine is on schedule for a completion in late spring or summer 2007.

Another project is near the once-sleepy towns of Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto. Bechtol Russell was hired to build a new practice facility at the Golf Club Star Ranch, one of that area's top courses.

The original range ran south, away from the clubhouse and parallel to Highway 685, a main artery. Portions of the range were sold for new retail stores so a new practice facility was needed. Star Ranch general manager Ricky Heine called Bechtol, the course's architect, to talk about where they would have to move the range. "Ricky and I talked and walked and looked around and came up with what I think is the coolest practice area around," said Bechtol. "With all the landscaping, rock walls, target greens, bunkers and contours, this will be a fun place to practice."

Heine, also vice-president of the national Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America (GCSAA), agreed. "It looks really nice. We had to angle it slightly toward the eighth green and more parallel to the ninth fairway, which posed some safety concerns, so we had to put in a fence along the right side and behind the range. Augusta National has one, so I don't feel so bad about having a fence here," said Heine.

Star Ranch's new driving range features target greens and sand bunkers, and is landscaped with native gulf muhly, Mexican feathergrass and different native salvias. It contains a short-game area and putting/chipping green with all conceivable angles, lies and grass heights to simulate real on-course situations. The new practice facility is scheduled to open in November.