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Shell to Play

The new home of the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open bears little resemblance to its predecessor. Unveiled in December, semiprivate Redstone Golf Club is a classical design through wetlands, ponderosa pines and mature oaks, with only a handful of fairway bunkers and forced carries. Offering multiple approach options and the chance to scramble, Redstone feels like a repudiation of the target golf of former host TPC at the Woodlands, and indeed it is.

"I've always enjoyed coming to Houston, but I found the Woodlands to be a tricked-up course that depended a lot on luck," says Peter Jacobsen, who designed Redstone with partner Jim Hardy. "I don't think your ball needs to meet a watery grave every time you miss a green."

Set to go fully private in 2005, the par-seventy-two Redstone tips out at around 7,500 yards, with five other sets of tees for mortals, who will enjoy twenty-minute starting-time separation. Says Dick Harmon, the legendary former head pro at nearby River Oaks Country Club and now the director of golf here, "This is a course that demands every shot, with plenty of opportunities to hit the driver."

Plans call for a forthcoming Rees Jones-designed sibling to take over as the SHO's home starting in 2005, but Jacobsen believes the players may put up a fight: "I think this will be one of the top four or five favorite courses on Tour."
—Mike Bailey

Greens Fees: $145-$160. Tee Times: 281-454-6590 or visit redstonegolfclub.com.


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