HOUSTON (FOX 26) — Sola Omilabu plays at Memorial Park Golf Course two-to-three times each week for the last thirteen years.
"I love to play golf," said Omilabu. "Yeah, I play every time I get to play." But he also said the course could use some work.
That's going to happen.
Houston City Council just approved a plan to renovate the course to bring it up to PGA standards and it won't cost the taxpayers a dime, according to Houston Parks and Recreation Department director.
"Nope," said HPARD director Steve Wright. "I run the department and I don't have a dime invested in the capital improvement of the golf course."
Instead, the $13.5 million dollars will come from the Astros Foundation. The course improvement will allow the facility to host the Houston Open starting in 2020. The city and the park conservancy will split the million-dollar course fee. The tournament itself will bring in an estimated $90 million to the city.
"It's a win, win, win, win," said Houston Astros owner Jim Crane. "Everybody — the city, the park, the conservancy."
But it took some negotiations to make sure it really will be.
"People wanted to make sure that if you bring the tournament to Memorial Park, that it wouldn't be at the expense of the improvement and enhancements to Memorial Park as a whole," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
That would include the heavily-used jogging trail that encircles the course, which will stay open throughout the facelift. The course itself will be closed until the end of October.
"It's OK, it's fine by us," added Omilabu. "I don't think anybody is complaining. It's fine by us."
"It was a big deal for the City of Houston," said Mayor Turner. "Everybody benefits. You're getting a 1st-class PGA golf course at no expense to the City of Houston."