Special Feature: The Long & Storied History of the Shell Houston Open

Shell Houston Open

The Long & Storied History of the Shell Houston Open

Ever since 1922, The Shell Houston Open has been played in different forms, at various venues, and by a range of players. Eight years later, in 1930, it officially became the Houston Open, a tournament played today at the Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas. Considering the city is just a little outside Houston, organizers decided to keep the name and its sponsors.

Shell and the Houston Golf Association, a group that has operated as a non-profit since 1946 for the benefit of youth oriented charities, co-sponsor the Houston Open. Other than the aforementioned event, the Association has hosted the 1969 US Open, the 1967 Ryder Cup, and a bevy of PGA Tour and USGA Championships. In the ‘70s, the Shell Houston Open had already played at more than a few venues in Houston.

From 1946, when River Oaks Country Club first hosted the event, to the following year, a time it moved to Memorial Park Golf Course, to Pine Forest Country Club, then BraeBurn Country Club in the ‘50s, the tournament represented the city well. Later on, the Shell Houston Open found a home at Champions Golf Club for the better part of the mid ‘60s all the way to the early ‘70s.

In 1973, the tournament ventured outside Houston for the first time, having been played at the Quail Valley Country Club in Missouri City, Texas. A couple of years later, in 1975, it relocated to Woodlands Country Club for a good decade until the mid ‘80s. The TPC at the Woodlands became the Shell Houston Open’s primary host from 1984 all the way to 2002, before finally settling at Redstone Golf Club for good.

The state, particularly the city of Houston, as a whole, has embraced golf through and through. As a matter of fact, Golf.com places Texas at the number 18 spot out of 50 in terms of the most popular golfing states in the United States. It’s not at all surprising bearing in mind the experts over at Play Your Course claim that Houston is a city conducive for beginners and seasoned golfers to learn the sport. Additionally, the site states that there are plenty of PGA certified golf professionals in the region which offer lessons to players of all levels.

Years, decades, and even close to a century has passed and the Shell Houston Open remains one of the most relevant golf tournaments not just in the state, but the whole of the United States. Many look forward to this event thanks to its storied history and how it remained significant amidst the constant change in venues.

Highly esteemed professional golfers such as Curtis Strange, Lee Trevino, and Vijay Singh have all created their legacy at the Shell Houston Open. They even hold the record for the lowest aggregate score, at 266. Ironically, both Strange and Singh share the most victories, at three.

Of course a historical look at sports wouldn’t be complete without an awe-inspiring underdog story. In 1952, amateur golfer Frank Stranahan finished second in the event. All of these contribute to the magnitude and heritage of the Shell Houston Open.

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