Grassroots Effort Reopens ColoVista CC Golf Course

The Bastrop, Texas public access golf course closed in 2009 after years of falling into disrepair, and a massive fire tore through the area in 2011, destroying one-third of the 6,596-yard course. The club’s Property Owner’s Association began the grassroots restoration process after taking over ownership through litigation in January.

After years of being closed, ColoVista Country Club’s golf course reopened on July 12, the Austin (Texas) Statesman reported.

“I think the greens are better than ever,” resident Charles Penick said of the Bastrop, Texas property. “The fairways still have a little ways to go, but this is still amazing.”

Less than a year ago, those same fairways were under eight-foot-tall weeds, the Statesman reported.

“Our dogs were scared of it,” resident Kate Durham said. “I would take them for a walk and they would steer clear of the whole area. There was no telling what had moved in there.”

ColoVista opened in 1997 under the ownership of Houston real estate mogul Les Appelt. The golf course was consistently voted one of the top courses in Texas for a decade. After Appelt’s death in 2007, the course steadily fell into a state of disrepair. It struggled to make money over the next two years and eventually closed its doors in 2009, the Statesman reported.

The massive Bastrop Complex Fire tore through the area in 2011, destroying one-third of the 6,596-yard public access golf course, as well as many ColoVista residents’ homes, the Statesman reported.

With part of the course scorched and the rest being reclaimed by the Lost Pines wilderness, the owners of the property looked to sell off the course in chunks, starting with the clubhouse and pro shop, the Statesman reported.

In response, the ColoVista Country Club Property Owner’s Association hired a litigator and was eventually awarded ownership in January. Residents began the restoration process from a grassroots level. ColoVista POA members who owned tractors began mowing down the eight-foot weeds from the fairways, the Statesman reported.

“I remember, I got lost driving through them,” resident John Dunham said. “The weeds were so tall that you couldn’t see where you were going, and I had played on this course more times than I could count.”

While the residents were doing what they could, it would take more than just elbow grease to return the course to its world-class condition. After sending out marketing packets to management companies all over the country, the POA finally decided on the Billy Casper Golf management company, the Statesman reported.

From the time it took over management in March, the company was able to restore ColoVista close to its previous level by mid-summer, and reopened the doors to the public on July 12 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Statesman reported.

“We are honored to be chosen to re-open and breathe life back into ColoVista’s golf course,” said Peter Hill, chairman and CEO of Billy Casper Golf. “Our Billy Casper Golf team is hard at work to help the course once again be the crown jewel of the community.”

What’s good for the golf course is also good for the community, which has been fractured since the 2011 wildfires, the Statesman reported.

“It’s great to get everyone out here together,” resident Janis Penick said. “This community has been separated since the course closed. Now, we all have somewhere to come and be together.”

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