By John Egan
The biggest golf event of the year in the Houston area is about to tee off.
The 2015 Shell Houston Open will be March 30-April 5 at Golf Club of Houston, about 15 miles north of Houston, in Humble. It's the PGA Tour's only stop in the Houston area. Among the golf stars who plan to be driving and putting in the SHO are Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson.
During the week of the SHO, roughly 100,000 fans are expected to turn out to watch PGA pros compete for a total of $6.6 million in prize money.
The 2015 SHO will be played on the Golf Club of Houston Tournament Course. It'll be the 10th time the SHO has been played on this course. Matt Jones won last year's tournament.
Golf Club of Houston, formerly known as Redstone Golf Club, opened in 2003 with an 18-hole Member Course designed by Jim Hardy and Peter Jacobsen. That course, which is private, hosted the SHO for three years; the tournament moved to the Tournament Course in 2006. Rees Jones designed the 18-hole Tournament Course, which is open to the public.
The Houston Golf Association hosts the SHO as a fundraiser for numerous charitable efforts, including academic scholarship programs as well as The First Tee of Greater Houston and HGA Junior Golf. Since 1974, the tournament has raised more than $62 million for nonprofit causes.
"Helping young people in our community is a key reason we take pride in our involvement with the Shell Houston Open," said Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Company.
Of course, if you're in the Houston area for the SHO and want to get in a round of 18, you've got about 165 choices beyond Golf Club of Houston. Among them are:
● BlackHorse Golf Club in Cypress
● Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring
● Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston
● Magnolia Creek Golf Club in League City
● Meadowbrook Farms Golf Club in Katy
● Moody Gardens Golf Course in Galveston
● Panther Trail Golf Course and The Oaks, both in The Woodlands
● Wildcat Golf Club in Houston
Soon, another course will be added to the mix in the Houston area. The first US golf course designed by Tiger Woods is close to opening about 45 minutes northwest of Houston in Montgomery.
Bluejack National, a private golf club and community, sits on 755 acres of gently rolling countryside within the piney woods.
"Bluejack National has one of the best natural settings for golf I have seen. With its changes in elevation, the beautiful pines and hardwoods, Bluejack National is reminiscent of the pinelands of Georgia and the Carolinas," Woods said. "The opportunity is here to create a golf course unlike any other in the Houston area, and our goal is for it to be among the best in the nation."
Learn more about the evolving Houston Convention District at visithouston.com/meetings/.