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By Chris Baldwin, PaperCity The Woodlands

A deep golf culture percolates in The Woodlands — and it’s easy to fall in love with the benefits it provides. This master planned community is a hub of its own with a blend of nature, family and work life that George Mitchell originally envisioned some 50 years ago. It has quietly become a golf epicenter with many distinct advantages for competitive golfers from the major events The Woodlands hosts to the number of professional golfers who call the community home.

Two-time Major winner Stacy Lewis and former LPGA Tour player and college golf coach Katie Futcher represent The Woodlands in women’s golf, with both having grown up in The Woodlands. Carol Mann — the longtime pro who won two Majors and 38 LPGA titles, passing away at age 77 in 2018 — is another golf star who called The Woodlands home.

The 39-year-old Lewis credits growing up The Woodlands, an area that’s long supported girls sports on the youth and high school level (putting real resources behind them) with helping turn her into a professional golfer. Lewis played on the girls golf team at The Woodlands High School that carried a roster of 29 players. Opportunity abounds, just waiting to be grabbed.

“It’s just a great opportunity for the kids growing up here today,” says Lewis, who will be playing in The Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands this week. “Just to have role models, and to have aspirations, and to have things to look up to.”

Stacy Lewis turned herself into one of the best golfers in the world coming out of The Woodlands. (Courtesy The LPGA Tour)
Stacy Lewis turned herself into one of the best golfers in the world coming out of The Woodlands. (Courtesy The LPGA Tour)

These LPGA stars are hardly the only professional golfer to embrace The Woodlands as something of the perfect home base. 

On the men’s side, 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed (who finished tied for 12th at Augusta this weekend), Champions Tour standout Jeff Maggert, Sahith Theegala, Cameron Champ, K.J. Choi, Bronson Burgoon and Jhonattan Vegas either currently live or practice in The Woodlands or at some point called The Woodlands home. 

While Lewis, Futcher, Maggert, and Burgoon grew up in The Woodlands, other pro golfers just found their way here. Theegala used to visit an aunt who lived in The Woodlands area when he was a kid. Jhonattan Vegas, born and raised in Venezuela, fell in love with the practice facilities at places like Carlton Woods and the Golf Performance Center at The Woodlands, and all the international flights available out of IAH. Champ may be from California, but he went to Texas A&M and quickly embraced his life in The Woodlands. Champ frequently raves about the backyard barbecue setup he and Jessica have at their house.

With The Club at Carlton Woods’ two courses and The Woodlands Country Club’s five courses, this is an area awash in championship level courses and practice facilities. These days it’s not too hard for a pro to find a competitive game either.

For Theegala, living in The Woodlands area is something of a golf no brainer. The 15th ranked golfer in the world is a California kid, but he quickly discovered that this master planned community in Texas that’s a hub of its own brings many distinct advantages.

“It’s a pretty convenient, central location,” Theegala says of The Woodlands. “Having to get to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) with traffic could be a 10-hour travel day. Here, I’m close to a major airport and it’s a two-hour flight to almost everywhere — direct. It’s been awesome for that. The practice facilities are really good.

“And I like the pace of life.”

Jack NickLaus is one of the golf legends who frequently returns for The Insperity Invitational. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Jack Nicklaus is one of the golf legends who frequently returns for The Insperity Invitational. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)

With one of the LPGA’s Majors having relocated to The Woodlands starting last season, the PGA Champions Tour’s Insperity Invitational having built a 20 year tradition (it will be held April 29 through May 5 this year at The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course), the Houston Open played each spring on the PGA Tour, in addition to the LIV Golf being played in Houston this June, this area is becoming more and more of a professional golf tournament mecca too. Theegala stayed at his own house for the Houston Open and Lewis plans to stay with her parents in the house she grew up in for The Chevron Championship this week.

“We know that with this kind of response, that this is the place we should be,” Chevron Championship tournament director Jeremy Harvey-Samuel says of the LPGA Major that made its debut in The Woodlands last spring with major community support. “And we need to be in this kind of environment for a Major championship.”

The Woodlands is a place to be. For golf, golfers and the lifestyle that George Mitchell envisioned more than five decades ago.


Many thanks to The Woodlands 50th Anniversary Sponsors:

FOUNDING – Howard Hughes

PRODUCER – The Woodlands Township

LEGACY – Woodforest National Bank

HERITAGE – Waste Connections Inc.

GOLD – Entergy Texas, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital

SILVER – SVN/JBeard Real Estate, The John Cooper School