Bob Richards, an Olympic pole-vaulting champion now living in Waco, has bought another local golf course — Twin Rivers Golf Club.
Richards, 87, confirmed Wednesday that he paid $1.1 million to acquire the property on U.S. Highway 84 in Woodway, near an upscale subdivision.
“At 9 a.m. tomorrow, that beautiful course is going to be mine,” said Richards in a phone interview.
Though picturesque and nestled along the Middle and South Bosque rivers, the course has issues that need addressing.
But so did Lake Waco Golf Club, which Richards bought for $1.4 million in January, pledging to make upgrades that would excite existing members and attract new ones.
Since then, membership has grown from just more than 100 to “about 180 or 190,” longtime general manager and club pro Larry Salter said.
Of the course at 5608 Flat Rock Road, Salter said, “It’s probably in the best shape I’ve seen it in 15 or 20 years.”
Crews launched a massive cleanup of the Lake Waco course, trimming trees, widening the fairways and lowering the height of the rough. They also replaced the swimming pool’s filtering system, repaired the sprinkler system and cleared brush from around several small lakes to make them more attractive for fishing.
The Richards family also has begun creating space for a fitness center that will be available to members.
But now, Richards and his sons, Brandon and Tom, will turn their attention to fine-tuning Twin Rivers.
“One of the first things we want to do is invite homeowners in the area out for a second look; we will have a membership drive,” Brandon Richards, said in a phone interview.
The course also has a history of flooding and the family will look into that, but it is not a matter of great concern.
“The clubhouse needs some cosmetic improvements, and we would like to build a pavillion where members could gather,” Richards said. “At Lake Waco, we have live bands performing beside the pool, and something similar at Twin Rivers might get people more involved in the course.”
Bob Richards said he and his sons have discussed planting more trees along the course near Highway 84. He said there has been conversation about Twin Rivers becoming the site of an indoor swimming pool for use by the Midway Independent School District swim teams.
He said he would have more details about that later.
Twin Rivers’ membership has been stalled at about 50 people for several years. Brandon Richards said that situtation is unacceptable.
“It is a beautiful course, and we believe it should be played accordingly,” he said, adding he thinks 225 members is attainable.
Twin Rivers and Lake Waco are mixed-use courses that offer memberships but also welcome public play.
Twin Rivers Golf Club is the home course of the Baylor University men’s and women’s golf teams and will remain so, Bob Richards said.
A group called Mission Bear Ridge investors spent $7.5 million to build Twin Rivers in 2001, at which time it was called Bear Ridge Golf Club.
The property was foreclosed upon in 2007 and the name was changed. Richards is buying the course from Brown Bark 1, a subsidiary of NC Ventures of Houston.
Designed by PGA professional Peter Jacobsen, the 7,478-yard course features:
A lighted driving range;
An 8,600-square-foot clubhouse with a main dining room and private rooms for dinners and tournament banquets;
A golf shop;
Locker and shower facilities for men and women; and,
A covered patio overlooking the putting green.