New Operator for Casa Blanca Course in Texas

Casa Blanca Golf Course has a new operator. Bandera, Texas- based Southern Golf Properties has assumed management of all aspects of operations at the course in the South Texas border town.

Southern Golf Properties, which manages five courses in South and West Texas, earned the right to operate Casa Blanca after a protracted evaluation of 10 applicants by the Commissioners' Court of Webb County, which developed and owns the facility near Laredo International Airport. The term of Southern Golf Properties' contract to operate the course is for five years, with a three-year and then a two-year renewal.

"Southern Golf Properties feels privileged and honored to have been awarded the contract for the management of Casa Blanca Golf Course," said John Junker, Southern Golf's chief executive officer. "We look forward to working with Webb County and serving the community and its golfing needs. Our entire team welcomes this challenge and this wonderful opportunity."

Par-72 Casa Blanca, which stretches 6,539 yards from the tips, was designed by Leon Howard and opened in 1967. There have been some changes in its history, but in recent years Casa Blanca has fallen into disrepair. As a result, rounds - and accompanying revenue - have decreased substantially.

"We are all excited about working with Southern Golf Properties and the changes and the improvements they have proposed for Casa Blanca Golf Course," said Rosaura "Wawi" Tijerina, Webb County Commissioner for Precinct 2. "The management, operation and maintenance of Casa Blanca is a quality of life issue for the citizens of Webb County and - we believe - that having Southern Golf Properties at the course will improve that quality of life."

To aid in that direction, Webb County has pledged funds to Casa Blanca's revival and eventual renovation. Southern Golf Properties plans to conduct a thorough testing of soil and water at the course, and the firm has set a November 28 deadline to return to Webb County with a list of proposed capital improvements.

"Our first order of business would be improving playing conditions for local golfers," Junker said. "We anticipate doing work on the hitting surfaces of the golf course - including the fairways - and improving the putting greens," Junker said. "We have a great team with Southern Golf and a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience. We feel very confident we can get things going here."

Junker added that community outreach will also be a high priority. "We are going to try to find out what the needs are of the community, and we address those needs," he said. "We want to get kids involved, we'll get adults involved and we'll try to get the ladies of the community involved. We will go to them. We'll go to the schools. We take that very seriously."

Both Junker and several Webb County commissioners said that the input of golf architect Roy Bechtol - who last month announced he would partner with Southern Golf Properties on various projects - was a key to awarding the contract to the firm.

"We are excited about bringing great golf back to Webb County and the patrons of Casa Blanca Golf Course," Bechtol said. "We will look at the course and see where it needs improvements and what they have that is good but just needs a little tweak here and there. I believe in Southern Golf Properties' vision for Casa Blanca."