News | Houston Golf Association

Houston Golf Association to Begin Renovation of Historic Gus Wortham Park Golf Course

HOUSTON, TX (JANUARY 20, 2017) Houston Golf Association (HGA) announced that phase one construction of the historic Gus Wortham Park Golf Course renovation will begin following a groundbreaking ceremony, Friday, Jan. 20 at 11:30 a.m.. Located off of Wayside, near Lawndale, Gus Wortham Park Golf Course will close to undergo a renovation bringing the golf course up to modern standards while preserving its historic design.

On Dec. 31 2015, Houston Golf Association was awarded operations of the facility through a contract with the City of Houston. After working through mutually agreed upon operational transition, the HGA commenced management and maintenance responsibility of Gus Wortham Park Golf Course on Feb. 22, 2016 to operate the facility as 501(c)(3) non-profit self supporting enterprise. Under this structure, the HGA raises private funds for renovation and upgrading of facilities, as well as, reinvestment of cash flow for sustaining facility quality. It is through private funds and support from corporate partners that the Houston Golf Association begins renovation construction of the 108-year old golf course. A campaign is currently underway to initiate construction of phase two, which includes a new clubhouse and community center, educational space for local youth participating in The First Tee of Greater Houston, as well as maintenance and cart storage facilities.

“I’m excited to see HGA begin the renovation of Gus Wortham and restore the course to its former glory,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “Once complete, the course and the scope of the overall project, will bring first-class amenities to the East End neighborhood and surrounding communities, while preserving an important legacy in Houston’s remarkable history.”

Situated along Brays Bayou and east of downtown, the Gus Wortham Park Golf Course continues to be an attraction for golfers since the early 1900s, when it was the Houston Country Club. The golf course has been played by many legends in golf including Francis Ouimet and Bobby Jones. All improvements to the 150-acre site will be performed with natural resource sustainability as an overarching principle. Phase one of the golf course renovation will overhaul the irrigation system for better water conservation, add a new irrigation lake for storm water retention, and reestablish creek banks while preserving the uniqueness and beauty of the original design.

“Working alongside the Houston Golf Association, we were able to ensure that the community’s needs were met and enhanced by this exciting restoration project,” said City Council Member Robert Gallegos, who represents the East End. “Gus Wortham is a jewel in our community that has the potential to offer not only a great golfing experience, but serve as a permanent home for a The First Tee youth development and enrichment program serving children in our area.”

Houston Golf Association worked with Council Member Gallegos to accommodate community amenities, including a trail connector, dog park, b-cycle station and space for community gatherings.

“Golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Steve Timms, president of the Houston Golf Association and The First Tee of Greater Houston. “The renovation of Gus Wortham, along with our continued efforts to reinvest back into our neighborhoods by improving public golf courses, helps the HGA further our mission to grow the game, at every age. It is our hope that the impact of our work will be felt for generations to come.”

The impact of the restoration of the Gus Wortham Park Golf Course will enhance quality of life for residents with a best-in-class recreational amenity, be a catalyst for economic development in the East End, and provide expanded educational opportunities for local area youth through programming by the HGA’s wholly-owned subsidiary The First Tee of Greater Houston.

The Houston Golf Association is working with golf course architect Baxter Spann of Finger Dye Spann on the project. Construction on the golf course begins immediately. Estimated completion of phase one is late 2017.

For a gallery of golf course images and more information about the project, visit or call 281-454-7000.

About Houston Golf Association

Since 1946, The Houston Golf Association has existed to make a difference in Houston communities and in the lives of our youth through golf and charity. An essential part of its impact is the Municipal Golf Initiative, which upgrades public golf facilities, beautifies green spaces, and creates a place to mentor youth through The First Tee of Great Houston program. With nearly 300,000 children benefitting already, these programs are a resounding success for the future of Houston. For more information go to


Shell Houston Open Volunteer Registration Opens Jan. 13

2017 Shell Houston Open volunteer registration opens today, January 13 at 12 p.m. All past volunteers will receive an email with updated usernames/passwords and a link to the site to register. For more information visit


HOUSTON (December 5, 2016) – The Houston Golf Association is expanding The First Tee of Greater Houston to better serve the Houston community. The First Tee, a nonprofit whose mission is to teach children core values, wellness and life skills through the game of golf, announces the addition of 38 new schools in its National School Program (NSP) beginning this semester and the addition of a new green grass facility at Battleground Golf Course in Deer Park. With this expansion, funded by the Houston Golf Association with proceeds from the Shell Houston Open and the new PGA TOUR Superstore, the Greater Houston chapter will serve the largest number of youth in The First Tee’s worldwide network.

Since 2004, the Houston Golf Association has held the charter for The First Tee of Greater Houston. By providing learning facilities and educational programs that build character, The First Tee enables students to develop skills including sportsmanship, respect and confidence while learning the game of golf. Programs take place onsite at schools as well as at, now, nine green grass facilities: Battleground, David Shindeldecker Campus (at Golf Club of Houston), Blackhorse, Quail Valley, F.M. Law Park, Sharpstown, River Plantation, Gus Wortham and Beacon Lakes Golf Courses.

The First Tee of Greater Houston serves 455 local schools and impacts more than 300,000 youth through its programs. By spring 2017, that number will grow to include an additional 26,000 students. New school districts joining the program include Alvin ISD, Brazosport ISD and Klein ISD. They join school districts already represented in the program including: Cy-­Fair ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Conroe ISD, Crosby ISD, Humble ISD, Aldine ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Houston ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD, Dickinson ISD, Galena Park ISD, Sheldon ISD, Spring ISD, Stafford MSD, Texas City ISD, Waller ISD, Willis ISD, Pasadena ISD, Huffman ISD, Katy ISD, Deer Park ISD, Pearland ISD, KIPP, New Caney ISD, Harris County Department of Education, and three private schools. In addition to the volume of schools, The First Tee of Greater Houston is expanding its green grass locations. Projections for 2017 forecast two new green grass sites throughout the year, bringing the total number from nine to 11.

“Thanks to the proceeds raised through the Shell Houston Open, new corporate partners and donors, we are able to expand our program into many new school districts in the Greater Houston area,” said Doug Earle, executive director of The First Tee of Greater Houston. “What excites us is that our impact on local youth is growing significantly. By teaching them wellness and character development through the game of golf, we are giving them skills that will last a lifetime.”

The program has flourished due to significant donations from the Shell Houston Open, in partnership with the Houston Golf Association. Since 1974, the two organizations, alongside volunteers, have been able to raise $64 million for local organizations—many of which benefit youth programs like The First Tee.

“Every year, we view our growth of the Shell Houston Open akin to investing back into the city of Houston and its surrounding communities,” said Steve Timms, president and CEO of the Houston Golf Association, president and CEO of The First Tee of Greater Houston and tournament director of the Shell Houston Open. “The Shell Houston Open continues to raise millions of dollars to support programs that are educating our future leaders and giving thousands of children a chance at a brighter future.”

The Shell Houston Open, the 10th longest running tournament on the PGA TOUR, will be played at Golf Club of Houston from March 27-­April 2, 2017. Net proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The First Tee of Greater Houston and other core charities.


For 70 years, Houston Golf Association has organized high-­profile professional and amateur golf events in the Greater Houston area to support its mission to make a difference in Houston and in the lives of youth through its charitable programs. The HGA, a not-­for-­profit, tax exempt 501c(3) organization, is a prolific charitable fundraiser, bolstered by a strong group of members and volunteers. Visit for more information.


The Houston Golf Association holds the charter to The First Tee of Greater Houston. The First Tee is dedicated to impacting the lives of young people in the Greater Houston area by providing learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-­enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. The largest chapter in the world-­wide network, The First Tee of Greater Houston operates nine green grass learning facilities across Houston and reaches more than 300,000 youth. The program is currently offered at 455 schools, and by 2020, the program goal is to extend into every public school across Houston, impacting the lives of more than 500,000 youth. Visit

Greater Houston Senior Amateur Championship

HOUSTON, TX (Oct. 7-9, 2016) – John Dowdall’s final-round charge denied defending champion Mike Booker of The Woodlands his third Greater Houston Men’s Senior Amateur Championship at Memorial Park Golf Course. It was the first title for Dowdall, 56, of Fulshear.
The Senior Division was comprised of competitors 55-64, who competed for 54 holes. The Super Senior Division was comprised of competitors 65-and-older for 36 holes.
For the record Dowdall shot 72-70-70—212, 4-under-par in for a 3-shot margin of victory in sunny playing conditions. Booker, who opened a 4-shot lead after the opening round, carded scores of 68-71-76,–215, that included 40 on the back nine.
Hunter Nelson (74-74-70) finished third, followed by Titus Harris (71-73-75) and Jimmy Burke (76-72-71). Rounding out the Top 10: John Kitchens of Sugar Land (76-72-76), Joe Nelson of Katy (79-73-73), Robert Booher of Sugar Land (74-78-73), Don Kehlenbeck of Conroe ( 75-76-74) and Michael Zacaro (74-70-81), all at 225.
In the Super Senior Division 70-year-old Marshall Utterson shot 71-77—148 to edge Jim Rath (79-70), Chris Larsen (77-72) and Chuck Reece (73-76) by a shot.

2016 Greater Houston City Amateur Championship

HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) – Broc Haymon of Pearland matched the tournament scoring  record en route to a 3-shot victory over 2014 champion John Hunter in the Greater Houston Men’s Amateur Championship at Memorial Park Golf Course. Haymon carded rounds of 72-65-68-70 for a 9-under-par 275 total. Hunter, runner-up the past two years after setting the 72-hole scoring record, posted rounds of 70-67-70-71.

Haymon, 28, and Hunter,32, were tied at 5-under after two rounds when the starting field of 144 was cut to the low 40 scorers and ties for the  36-hole Sunday finale. A total of 46 players made the cut with a score of 8-over-par 150.

Haymon opened a 3-shot lead over Hunter Saturday morning after three rounds. The former college baseball player led the field with 20 birdies over four rounds.

Grant Schroeder of Montgomery, whose father Ron won this championship five times, finished third at 4-under-par 280. Normally a par-72 layout, Memorial Park is set up as a par-71 for the Men’s Amateur.

Kyle Maxwell of The Woodlands and 18-year-old Walker Lee, the first-round leader, shared fourth place at even-par 284.  A pair of 16-year-olds Shuai Ming Wong of The Woodlands and Ransom Jacobson of Humble shared sixth place at 285, a stroke better than Clint White, 26, of Friendswood.

Bart Worthing, 36, of Weston Lakes, the 2012 champion, finished at 287 and Devaughn Robinson, 28, rounded out the Top 10 at 288. The top 10 finishers and champions since 2011 are exempt for the 2017 event.

Defending champion Matt Van Zandt shot 293 and tied for 17th.

Two local teens participate in Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach

boyd-26    schuster

HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 20, 2016) – Local teens Scott Shuster and Stephen Boyd represented The First Tee® of Greater Houston at the 13th annual Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, a PGA TOUR Champions event. The professional player field included World Golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer and two-time major championship winner John Daly.

Shuster was paired with professional Kirk Triplett and Boyd partnered with major championship winner Mark O’Meara during the 54-hole tournament.

Schuster has been a member of The First Tee since 2008. Originally from The First Tee of Pasadena, Calif., Scott transferred to the Greater Houston chapter in 2015 and is now a junior at Morton Ranch High School. Selected to participate in the pre-tournament Coca-Cola Champions Challenge event, Scott teamed with professional Billy Andrade to help earn a $4,000 donation for The First Tee of Greater Houston.

Boyd has been a member of The First Tee of Greater Houston since 2012 and is a junior at Langham Creek High School. Both Scott and Stephen are Ace level participants in the program.

Schuster and Boyd were selected to participate in the internationally televised event by a national panel of judges who evaluated playing ability and comprehension of the life skills and character education learned through their involvement with The First Tee. The juniors were teamed with 81 PGA TOUR Champions players and 162 amateurs in tournament play on Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course.

The First Tee of Greater Houston is one of 165 chapters worldwide. Serving the Houston community since 2004, more than one million local young people have been impacted through chapter programs and The First Tee National School Program. The golf-based programs are focused on building character through The First Tee Nine Core Values®: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

The First Tee Junior Participants Scott Schuster and Stephen Boyd to Represent Houston at Pebble Beach First Tee Open

Scott Schuster and Stephen Boyd will represent The First Tee of Greater Houston and compete in the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Sept. 16-18. The national chapter selected both juniors from a large pool of nominees to join a field of 81 The First Tee participants.

Scott Schuster has been a member of The First Tee since 2008. Originally from The First Tee of Pasadena, Calif., Scott transferred to the Greater Houston chapter in 2015 and is now a senior at Morton Ranch High School. Stephen Boyd has been a member of The First Tee of Greater Houston since 2012 and is a junior at Langham Creek High School. Both Scott and Stephen are Ace level participants in the program.

Congratulations to Scott and Stephen for their accomplishments on and off the course.

The First Tee of Greater Houston has been operating under the Houston Golf Association since 2004. The Houston chapter has expanded its reach into 417 area public schools and eight green grass facilities. Approximately 290,000 Houston-area youth benefit from the organization’s learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

Learn more about how to get involved or click here to view the 2016 fall class schedule.

Houston Golf Association Elects New Board of Directors Chair and Officers; Names General Chair for 2017 Shell Houston Open

HOUSTON (June 22, 2016) – Houston Golf Association announced the election of new members to its board of directors. Meg Leachman, who served as vice chair in 2016 is named the new board chair. John O. Armour, Veronica Levet, Jeff Miers, Michael Sandeen and Maurice Shaw elected to board positions on Monday (June 13) at the annual election meeting held at the Dick Harmon Learning Center.

Meg Leachman has been a volunteer of the Houston Golf Association since 2004. She most recently served as vice chairman of the HGA board of directors and serves on the executive committee. She served as the general chair of the Shell Houston Open in 2013 and 2014 and was recipient of the 2011 Earl Elliott Member of the Year Award. Leachman succeeds Tom Forestier, who completed a two-year term, but will remain on the board of directors for one year.

John Armour will serve as vice chair. This is Armour’s second three-year term. Other board officers are Michael Sandeen (treasurer) and Jeff Miers (secretary). Mike Yeager has been named general chair for the 2017 Shell Houston Open.

Steve Timms is the president and CEO of Houston Golf Association and oversees the day-to-day operation of the organization and the Houston Golf Association staff.

2017 to Mark the Final Year of Shell Oil Company’s Sponsorship of the Shell Houston Open

HOUSTON, Tex. (June 8, 2016) –Shell Oil Company has notified the PGA TOUR and the Houston Golf Association that it will not continue as title sponsor of the Shell Houston Open beyond the 2017 tournament. Shell has sponsored the tournament since 1992.

“We very much appreciate the efforts the HGA and PGA TOUR have undertaken to support our brands throughout our fruitful quarter-century plus partnership,” said Bruce Culpepper, President, Shell Oil Company. “We could not be more proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to celebrating our collective success at the final [26th] Shell Houston Open in 2017. We continue to wish the HGA, the TOUR and the many charitable organizations they support the greatest success in the future.”

Since it was first organized by the Houston Golf Association in 1946, the tournament has generated $64 million for local charities and youth programs. Of that amount, more than $60 million has been raised since Shell Oil Company became the title sponsor.

“Shell has been a tremendous partner to the Houston Golf Association and while this phase in our partnership is coming to a close, our work together has created the best foundation we’ve had in the 70-year history of our professional golf event,” said Steve Timms, President and CEO, Houston Golf Association. “We are enthusiastic about the future of the Houston Golf Association and this tournament, and we remain steadfast in furthering the goals of our charitable programs and the impact the tournament will continue to have on our great city.”

The PGA TOUR, working closely with the HGA, will begin the search for a new title sponsor immediately. The TOUR has a proven track record of securing replacement sponsors and is confident a new title sponsor will be identified, particularly with the advance notice Shell has provided and for a tournament that is so well established and has had such a positive impact on the community. The Shell Houston Open is the 10th oldest tournament on TOUR.

“Beyond being one of the longest-running tournaments on the PGA TOUR and having such a rich history, the Shell Houston Open has demonstrated what a valuable contribution an event can have on the local community with the longevity of corporate partnership, like that of Shell,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We greatly appreciate all that Shell has done over the years to support its hometown tournament and the wonderful charitable work of the HGA. We will begin the search for new title sponsor right away and are confident we will be successful in those efforts.”

The 2016 Shell Houston Open held at the Golf Club of Houston experienced record attendance of 125,000. The tournament generates hours of live national broadcast coverage, hours of network television coverage and promotion via other outlets for the city of Houston annually. Internationally, the tournament is broadcast in 228 countries, reaching nearly 1 billion households. The Shell Houston Open annually generates an estimated $25 million to $30 million in economic impact for the Greater Houston area.

Funding from the tournament goes to HGA Youth Programs, including the HGA Scholarship Program, HGA Junior Golf, and The First Tee® of Greater Houston. This continual funding has enabled growth for The First Tee of Greater Houston, an organization that teaches life skills to children through the game of golf. The local chapter is now in 400 public schools across Houston, impacting more than 290,000 children annually, making it the largest chapter in the worldwide network.

More than 200 additional worthy causes and nonprofit organizations have received donations or gifts in kind as a result of the tournament, including Shell Houston Open ongoing beneficiaries Chinquapin Prep (since 1979), Cenikor Foundation, Inc. (since 1996), and Project Joy and Hope (since 2014).

Shell has been synonymous with professional golf since its landmark television series Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf first aired from 1962-1970 and from 1994-2003, Shell has been heavily involved with the sport since that time, not only as title sponsor of the Shell Houston Open but as the sole Founding Partner of the World Golf Foundation, which oversees the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL, and as the founding corporate partner for The First Tee®, a WGF outreach program that has brought the game of golf and its values to millions of children worldwide.

The 2017 Shell Houston Open is March 27-April 2 at the Golf Club of Houston. Visit for more information.


Shell Oil Company

Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future.


Houston Golf Association

For 70 years, Houston Golf Association has organized high-profile professional and amateur golf events in the Greater Houston area to support its mission to make a difference in Houston and in the lives of youth through its charitable programs. The HGA, a not-for-profit, tax exempt 501c (3) organization, is a prolific charitable fundraiser, bolstered by a strong group of members and volunteers. Visit for more information.



The PGA TOUR is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR China.

The PGA TOUR’s mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in the communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.

Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 227 countries and territories in 30 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2014, tournaments across all Tours generated a record $140.5 million for local and national charitable organizations, after surpassing $2 billion in all-time charitable contributions early in the year.

The PGA TOUR’s web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.


Chris Smith                               Amanda Hansen                          Natalie Mazey

PGA TOUR                               Houston Golf Association           Shell Oil Company

904-273-3379                        281-459-8702                             713-241-4544              


John Levet has been named the winner of the 2016 PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge sponsored by Myrbetriq® (mirabegron). Levet presented a $10,000 check to the Houston Golf Association (HGA) Junior Golf Program on behalf of Astellas Pharma US, Inc. on Championship Sunday at the Shell Houston Open. The charity was chosen by Levet from a list provided by the tournament.

The PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge is a friendly competition, which raises funds for charity while recognizing the talent, passion and commitment of the more than 100,000 annual PGA TOUR tournament volunteers nationwide who dedicate extensive time to helping tournaments raise funds for local charities.

Levet volunteered at the Shell Houston Open as a meaningful way to experience the tournament and get an up-close and personal look at professional golf. As winner of the PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge at the Shell Houston Open, he will help make a difference for students served through the HGA Junior Golf Program.

The PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge is taking place at 16 tournaments during the 2016 PGA TOUR season and builds upon close to $1 million provided by its sponsor Astellas to tournament charities over the course of the PGA TOUR sponsorship.

For additional information about the Volunteer Challenge, visit