Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Harbor Lakes Golf Club celebrates 20th anniversary

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Harbor Lakes Golf Club recently reached a huge milestone, with members, charter members and staff joining to celebrate the club’s 20th anniversary on Nov. 4.

Branded as “Granbury’s premier golf club,” Harbor Lakes officially opened for business in July 2003 — featuring up to 7,239 yards of “golfing adventure,” according to a previous article in the Hood County News.

At the time of completion, the $6 million Dick Phelps facility boasted numerous water features and great scenery, with “tee box views of Comanche Peak, Lake Granbury and the Granbury courthouse,” according to the article.

Matt Mitchell, general manager of Harbor Lakes Golf Course, said he has only been in his position for about nine weeks, but when he heard no one was doing anything to celebrate the club’s 20-year anniversary, he immediately jumped into action.

“It's a big thing; it's 20 years, and we're a big part of Granbury,” he said. “Even though it's a golf course, and a little different than a regular business, for something to stick around for 20 years is a milestone, so we put together the party. We wanted to celebrate our members, celebrate the 20 years, and look forward to the future.”

The festivities kicked off on Saturday with an official ribbon cutting and champagne toast, followed by hors d'oeuvres, complimentary cigars from Granbury Cigar Company, and a 360-degree photo booth for guests to capture memories of the cocktail event.

Mitchell then made opening remarks and introduced the public to Harbor Lakes Golf Course architect and Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Dick Phelps, along with his son, Rick, who took over the design firm when his dad retired in 2006.

“It's nice to come back and see something that I created and it's nice to see it mature,” Dick said, during the event. “So many times when we do a golf course, we never go back to it and we don't get a chance to see (the finished product), so the opportunity to come down here is very much appreciated. It just blows my mind that we're down here celebrating roughly 20 years. We're very proud and we have received a lot of compliments and I appreciate that very much.”

Dick — who told the HCN he completed about 87 golf courses in his career — explained that before construction of Harbor Lakes ever began, the land was “essentially flat.”

"One of the things we had to do in the design was to accommodate the water,” he said. “We didn't know when I first started on this thing that we had groundwater so close to the surface, and that's why some of these lakes have railroad tie walls because the soil was horrible.”

In golf, bulkheads are a type of retaining wall used to keep water or sand from another part of the course. They are usually made of wood and sometimes constructed by using railroad ties.

“To be very blunt, I mean, there wasn't much to work with — but that's part of the fun, trying to create something,” Dick said, adding the old saying that they were trying to “create a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

He added that since he resides in Colorado, this is the first time he’s seen the completed course since he attended the ribbon cutting 20 years ago.

“This is the first time I've seen it since it opened,” he said. “Future plans, we've suggested a few minor things, but basically, the golf course is terrific. We love it. I love it. I’m just tickled pink to see it in the shape it’s in.”

Although the club is situated inside the Harbor Lakes residential subdivision, Mitchell told the HCN only 30% of Harbor Lakes homeowners are members of the golf club, adding that the average age of membership is 63-and-a-half.

"We've got members from Midland/Odessa that will fly their private plane in and then go stay at their million dollar weekend home, and then we've got blue collar guys that are working during the week, and play on the weekend, and then we have a lot of retirees here, so it's a real diverse membership, and just a bunch of great folks,” he said.

Harbor Lakes Golf Club is currently described as being “semi-private,” with both members and non-members allowed to play golf on the 18-hole course.

“The club itself with just the membership base and the membership dues that come in monthly, just that alone, it's not a viable club, it would lose money, so allowing public play, non-member play generates revenue that keeps the club going," he explained. “We've got a vision for the club down the road, and it depends on a lot of factors, but the goal is to be fully private at some point.”

A social membership is $65 a month, while a golf membership is $199 a month. Independent play is $60 during the week and $70 on weekends. Mitchell said Harbor Lakes Golf Club also plans to “roll out some specials” before the new 2024 pricing goes into effect.

“Golf, unfortunately, it's very expensive — not only to buy clubs, but to go play. It is what it is, but this is a great value for anybody,” he said. “Certainly, if you love to play golf, and if you play golf four times a month out here, then you should join as a member because it's less expensive than just coming out and playing.”

In addition to golf, Harbor Lakes also offers social events like karaoke, dueling pianos and pasta night.

“The club is a great place to come and hang out with your friends and enjoy downtime,” Mitchell said. “We've kind of tried to make this a home away from home for them.”

With 300 members in the club’s social membership and 300 members in the golf membership, Mitchell said he also has plans to increase the membership’s total numbers.

“We're looking at different amenities to add on,” he said. “We have no definitive plans yet, but we are hoping to see lots of growth in members, revenues, activity, and hopefully some new amenities too, down the line.”

Mitchell said he believes the 20-year celebration will serve as the club’s “launching pad” into 2024.

“We're gonna do some strong push to build our membership, we've got big plans for improvements all around the club and the golf course, and we want to make it the place to be if you live in Granbury, and the place to work if you want to work at a golf club. We've got a great team here and a great place.”

For more information on Harbor Lakes Golf Club, visit harborlakes.com online.