Photo courtesy Texas Tribune/Stan Cook

This is a must-read for anyone with a little real estate in their blood, and it is very interesting as a reference to anyone living near the Golf Club of Dallas (formerly the Oak Cliff Country Club).

Basic story: 200 acre golf course in a coastal community 30 miles southeast of Houston saved about 150 homes from flooding in during Harvey. Why? The Clear Lake City Water Authority had embarked on a $28 million project to retrofit a shuttered golf course with five detention ponds that will be able to hold half a billion gallons of stormwater. At the time Harvey hit, the project was only 80% complete. But still, it worked.

When you are an advocate for dense, urban living, you have to consider water. Houston is in the thick of this lesson, and though we in Dallas are about 300 miles from the ocean, we can find a few nuggets of truth here:

As a post-Harvey Houston figures out how to protect itself from the next big storm, he and other local officials say they hope the project will serve as an example of how communities can take matters into their own hands as they await the completion of large-scale flood control projects. 

Branch said the nearly 200-acre golf course was coveted real estate in a flood-prone area that likely would have been turned into condos. But he said developing the land would have worsened flooding in the coastal community about 30 miles southeast of downtown Houston — home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

The water authority wanted to reduce area flooding and keep the area “green,” he said. It purchased the land in 2011 for about $6 million. 

A nonprofit group, the Exploration Green Conservancy, formed to partner with the water authority to reimagine the space as a community park situated around the detention ponds. Some residents have pushed back against the project, but Branch said support has remained strong to keep the project moving forward.

Recent developments surrounding the Golf Club of Dallas, formerly the Oak Cliff Golf Club, bring to mind a panel discussion at June’s National Association of Real Estate Editors confab.  Seems golf clubs are not as popular with the young as they are with their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.  There are several reasons for this, including shifting socialization patterns, negative perceptions of the game’s culture, and cost.

It seems that as society has picked the pockets of young people for everything from student debt to over-priced apartments, there’s simply less in the kitty for expensive pastimes like golf.  And golf is an expensive activity.  Aside from the stereotypically garish ensembles, it’s not difficult to drop a grand on a set of clubs, a couple of hundred on shoes, and upwards of $50 for every dozen balls. And that’s before you hit the links.

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