Work Underway on Bear Ridge Golf Course

Jan. 9, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

A cold rain drove the ceremony indoors to the Gale Galloway Suite at Floyd Casey Stadium, but it was still a jubilant day for representatives from Baylor University, Houston¡based Mission Equities Inc. and Bosque River Chase Ltd. of Waco as ground was broken Jan. 10 on the new Bear Ridge Golf Course.

The 18¡hole course, designed by PGA Tour veterans Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy of Jacobsen Hardy Golf Course Design of Houston and developed by Mission Equities, is located on 205 acres near the intersection of Highway 84 and Speegleville Road in west Waco. The course also will be part of the new Villages at Twin Rivers, a 255¡acre planned unit development of Bosque River Chase Ltd., who deeded the golf course land to Baylor.

When Bear Ridge is completed in October, it will become the home course for the Baylor men's and women's golf teams, a dream that has finally become reality for Baylor golf coaches Sylvia Ferdon and Tim Hobby.

"The one thing I've always pushed with our team is pride and tradition," Ferdon said. "When you can say, this is the home of the Bears, which they'll now have, it just adds something to the motivation level. It's a real step up for Baylor."

"The dividends have already paid off," said Hobby, who on Jan. 8 was named 2000 District VI Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America. "We signed four players from the top 20 junior golfers in the country so having your own facility is a great selling point."

"I don't think there are many universities around the country that have their own facility," Jacobsen said. "This is an important step for Baylor University, not only for its golf teams, but for its alumni and for the community. It will be great for Baylor's men's and women's golf teams with recruiting and year round practice in a facility they call their own."

Construction is expected to begin in February on Baylor's practice academy, which will include locker rooms, space for team meetings, offices for the coaches and an indoor practice area.

"They can practice any time, day or night," Jacobsen said. "Players will be able to practice in three covered, lighted, heated driving stalls equipped with video so they'll have not only their own facility, but they can really improve their game if they want to go on to the PGA or LPGA."

The course runs along the ridges atop the Middle and South Bosque Rivers on hilly terrain with several stone¡filled streams cutting between large oak trees. When the course is complete, many holes will feature elevation changes of up to 50 feet.

As former college golfers, Hardy and Jacobsen have involved Baylor players and coaches in the course design.

"We really want their input about è where the bunkers are going to go, the green shapes and tee placements," Jacobsen said.

During the ceremony, a crowd of Baylor officials, supporters, athletes and coaches heard from Hardy and Jacobsen; Mission Equities President Dennis Nelson; Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and Baylor Athletic Director Tom Stanton; and Bosque River Chase partners Fred DeWald, Jack Dunn, Louis Englander, Artie Giotes and Jim Stewart. But it was Hardy who talked about the course someday hosting a national championship, a possibility that both Baylor golf coaches can see happening in the future at Bear Ridge.

"That's exciting that we can have the kind of course here in Central Texas that could host an NCAA regional like we did in baseball and tennis," Hobby said.

"Our program I feel is established and ready to accept that challenge," Ferdon said. "With the result of our hosting the Big 12 preview this past fall and the positive response to that, I'm ready to do a regional and national championship."

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