, Port Arthur, Texas

September 3, 2013

West golf notepad: December opening possible at The Palms

Bob West
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — When the Port Arthur Renaissance Group hired Bryan Jackson as course superintendent for The Palms at Pleasure Island, he didn’t think there was much chance of meeting a projected November re-opening of the beautiful golf course destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Jackson, because he didn’t want golfers on rebuilt greens before they were ready, said he thought a spring opening was more likely.

    After a hot, dry summer, he’s singing a different tune.

    “If Mother Nature doesn’t throw any curve balls at us, early December is a possibility,” he said. “Because of how dry the weather has been, we’re much farther along than I expected. The greens are going to be sprigged with mini verde around Sept. 25 and could be ready in November. Again, a lot will depend on the weather.”

    Jackson said bush-hogging of the fairways is complete, crews are finishing up mowing at 2 /12 to 3 inches and spraying will start soon. Much of the tree trimming has been done and the ponds on the back nine have been cleaned out even better than they were the first time around at The Palms.

    He’s preparing to strip and resurface the greens and expects to have the course’s watering system up and working in the next couple of weeks.

    “We’re ready to start installing control boxes for the wiring system. All the wires are in the ground,” he advised. “The pump station is awesome. I think we are going to be able to give golfers something better than what was at The Palms before. The possibilities excite the hell out of me. It’s been such a pleasure to work with the Renaissance Group.”

    Lest anyone think the other course he oversees — Belle Oaks — is being relegated to stepchild status, Jackson said this week’s anticipated arrival of new equipment will benefit the course at Taylor Landing as much as it does The Palms.

    “We’re getting a tee box and collar mower that’s going to make a huge difference out there,” he said. “We are certainly not ignoring Belle Oaks. The Renaissance Group wants to enhance it’s appeal. I have a pair four-man crews that split time between the two courses. Each crew spends half the work week at The Palms and half the week at Belle Oaks. And we’re working six days a week.”

    The best news of all for Jackson doesn’t have anything to do with The Palms or Belle Oaks. He was told by his doctors last week that he’s once again cancer free. His battle, however, is far from over. There will be quarterly checkups to monitor him and he’s on heavy-duty hormone treatment to fight off Osteoporosis.

    Side effects of the medication are frequent and intense hot flashes.

    “They happen ever hour to hour and a half and last 5-to-10 minutes,” he said. “I can be sitting at home and just go into these hot sweats. I wake up at night soaked. They don’t bother me during the day when I’m out in the heat and sweating anyway. But I’m not complaining. It beats the hell out of cancer.”

    CHIP SHOTS: A solid four rounds at the Fed Ex Cup Deutsche Bank Championship went relatively unrewarded for Chris Stroud. Despite beating the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell, Stroud’s rounds of 69-70-67-69 left him with a T35 and advanced him only one place to 39th on the points list. Six players who started the week behind Stroud  jumped over him with strong play. With the field trimmed to 70 for next week’s BMW Championship in Chicago, the Lamar ex will likely need a top 10 to advance to the Tour Championship and reap all the benefits that go with it . . .  It was a bad week for Lamar exes in opening tournament of the Web.Com finals. Shawn Stefani finished near the bottom of pack in the Hotel Fitness Championship, winning only $3,150 after shooting 282. Dawie van der Walt missed the cut. Three events remain, with PGA Tour cards going to the top 25 in money winnings during the four-tournament playoffs . . . Joe Vanderweg finished plus 8 to win the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks. Harrell Guidry was second with plus 5 and Twyman Ash third at pus 3. Guidry won closest to the pin on No. 8 . . . Vanderweg was also a winner in the Senior Game at The Babe, which was played in a four- person scramble. He teamed with John Fong, Bill Fears and Ted Estes for a first-place finish of minus 13. Second at minus 11 was the foursome of Mark Petry, Eddie  Delk, Charles Leard and L.J. Hardy. Closest to the pin winners were Larry Johnson (No. 2), Delk (No. 7, No. 12) and Gene Hardy (No. 15) . . . The Babe Zaharias DogFight was won by the team of Joe Gongora, Adam Noel, Joe Pal and Richard Sibley. They finished with 16 points. Tied for second at 15 points was the foursome of Cricket Owen, Rick Pritchett, Larry Johnson and Darrell McKee an the team of J.R. Humble, Ed Hetzel and Larry Rogers. Closest to  the hole winners were Humble (No. 2), Randy Becker (No. 7), Don Duplan (No. 12) and Joe Pal (No. 15) . . . The Super Saturday Game at Babe Zaharias was played in a 2-ball format. On the front nine, the team of Larry Morris, Joe Vanderweg, John Fong and Rob Bennet won with minus 7. On the back, the team of Bill Hammond, Larry Johnson and Harry Green won with minus 5 . . . Green was also the winner in a big grudge match played recently at Zaharias. He defeated long-time rival Lee Soliz by two shots, after firing a 77 . . .The Port Arthur Police Department is hosting a golf tournament Sept. 20 at Bayou Din. Beneficiary of the event is the PAPD’s Blue Santa program to get gifts for needy kids. Sponsors for teams and tee boxes are needed, as are volunteers and door prize items. Anyone with questions should contact Steve Flores at 540-0009 or Elie Van Horn at 983-8680. You can also e-mail

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