Anticipation continues for T-36 at Baytown, a double-loop concept golf course, and The Birch Kitchen, a new indoor-outdoor dining option that is expected to be a community gathering spot that people will enjoy regardless of an interest in golf.
The hype has also prompted questions from residents and golfers in the area.
Has construction at T-36 started? Why isn’t the golf course finished? Is the restaurant still happening? Has the weather caused delays? When will it all be open to the public?
We wanted to get answers to difficult questions from the two key developers with T-36 at Baytown. We sat down with them to discuss the project and they were not shy in their responses.
Many of you have been asking about the golf course and other related delays. Like any major development project, there are common construction delays. However, those delays can be amplified when other unexpected issues arise.
So, what kind of delays are happening with T-36?
T-36 developer Rio Valeriano said, “It is easy to say we have had supply chain issues, but finding enough piping for irrigation and getting the right pump built for our watering system was a real challenge in this process.”
Rio added, “We also had unexpected installation challenges regarding the fairways and green complexes. Any of these problems alone would take weeks to resolve. When you combine them, it doubles the time it takes to fix the problems and get back on track with construction.”
When building a golf course, even rebuilding on acreage that used to be a golf course, you need water and plenty of rain along the way. The last thing you want is constant triple-digit heat combined with a lengthy drought.
How has the extreme heat impacted the project?
“March through June is a typical grow-in season for the grass. We have been watering like crazy, but rain is critical for the development of a golf course and we didn’t have that. However, that hasn’t stopped us from finding other solutions as the course develops,” Rio said.
David Hinkle, developer with T-36, said, “We knew this project would be unique and complex despite uncharacteristically dry conditions. We rolled up our sleeves, through each issue, and have found a solution. We are not making excuses for the project. These are the facts.”
In addition to the golf course delays, there have been delays in the construction of the restaurant. However, those issues have been addressed and progress is being reported daily.
“This has been a challenging project based on elements out of our control, but we are determined to create a gathering spot for residents and visitors that will offer an atmosphere unlike any other, featuring the best backdrop in town,” David said.
Staying on Course
“Despite the delays, we were determined to open the course this fall as we originally planned,” said Rio. “We have worked hard to make up time and I’m proud to say we are expecting golfers to get their first T-36 experience in mid-November.”
As for The Birch, the goal all along was to have it open weeks before the golf course.
Has that plan been impacted?
David said, “We thought this would be an easier part of the process, but we had to get the design of the building correct and we wanted to build a tasteful menu with great food and drink options. However, we wanted The Birch to be ready before play on the golf course begins and we are pushing forward with that plan, with an opening slated for November 1st.”
Strength in Partnerships
In addition to having a strong relationship with the City of Baytown, the T-36 team wanted do more for the community that will be supporting their vision.
Rio said, “From the beginning, we have been discussing this project with residents to explain the concept and get their responses. In addition to all of the rotary-type meetings, we hosted a neighborhood meeting with those from the Evergreen Fairways this summer. It was a positive meeting and I know they will enjoy having this amenity nearby.”
The spotlight was put on T-36 at Baytown from the national golfing community when Troon, the world’s largest golf and golf-related hospitality management company, was selected to manage the golf course and restaurant.
David said, “This was a big deal for us, but it is just as significant for the City of Baytown. There is not a bigger name in the golf industry than Troon. I’m proud of the fact that somebody will be able to go on Troon’s website, that has some of the most spectacular courses in the world, and T-36 at Baytown is going to be right there with them.”
Project Communication Continues
The City of Baytown and T-36 developers continue to have regular meetings discussing the project, maintaining a strong partnership through the process. The City has been providing updates through the Baytown Voice magazine, video projects like the Baytown Breakdown, on baytown.org and the City’s social media channels. That will continue as the project is closer to completion.
David said, “We appreciate the public’s interest in T-36 at Baytown. No one is more excited than we are and we can’t wait to give everyone a great gathering place for years to come.”
Rio added, “Soon we will be ready to show everyone that the course and restaurant were worth the wait. We look forward to enjoying the views and unbeatable menu with Baytown.”