The long awaited opening of the New Braunfels “super” golf course took place June 28, 1940. This golf course was the answer to the prayers of New Braunfels native golfers and tourists since the closing of the Comal Country Club — especially since the new course was constructed in the city. Civic organizations sponsoring this course included: Lions Club, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Earlier civic-minded citizens had been willing workers on the proposed project but found the job of financing it to be impossible. On September 8, 1939, a telegram from Congressman Richard M. Kleberg announced that a Works Progress Administration (WPA) Improvement Plan fund of $41,545 had been appropriated for construction of a 9 hole golf course. The 25% citizen’s share of the $50,000 total cost was raised by local subscriptions from golfers with each subscriber receiving in coupons the exact amount of his subscription. The coupons were to be exchanged by the holders for one-half of the green fees and were transferable.
After the sufficient number of golfers agreed to pay green fees, the New Braunfels City Commission lent support to the Landa Park Golf Course Planning Committee. The golfing committee appearing before the City Commission included: Al Selke,Walter Dillard, H.C. Mc Kenna, Dr. E. O. Bielstein, Pete Wagenfuehr. Mark Fuchs, F. N. Warwick, R. H. Wagenfuehr, E. A. Clousnitzer, G. L. Wood, Terry Adams, Aubrey Sands, Kermit Zipp and C. A Blanton. This group proposed a nine hole course — six holes on the DePaw Farm property, two on the Landa Park side of the Comal River bed, and one on an island in the center of the Comal River.
The City called for a Bond Issue Election to validate the WPA Improvement Plan to include Landa Park and a sewer system. By more than a two-to-one margin, the electorate favored the City’s issuance of a $20,000 bond to cover its portion of a $75,000 improvement program to be constructed with WPA aid.
An article in the San Antonio Light Newspaper read, “The sportiest golf course in the state opened today at one o’clock.”
Local and visiting golfers witnessed the opening of New Braunfels’ brand new Municipal Golf Course which had been constructed at a cost of $50,000, both money and labor for which were largely supplied by the district WPA office.
A brief ceremony was held at the first tee in which Mayor Walter Sippel, Park Commissioner Rudy Jahn and Mark Fuchs of the Junior Chamber of Commerce participated.
Following the ceremony, a foursome of expert golfers played an exhibition match of the nine holes. They were J.A. Hazelrigg, District Supervisor of the WPA Charles Klein, Professional for the Landa Park Links; John Fuchs, Jr., Assistant Pro; and George Hoffmann, Professional at the Willow Springs course in San Antonio and architect for the New Braunfels course.
An article appeared a year later in the San Antonio Light newspaper which complimented the golf course for its scenic beauty, its numerous water greens and splendid physical condition. That year over 700 hundred newspaper men from all over the state were jointly invited by Chamber of Commerce Secretary Bob Lawrence and by Landa Park Management to compete in a golf tournament. A year after that, the New Braunfels Herald featured a picture of a group of high school students who were taking a course on how to play “this game called golf” from Golf Pro W.A. (Lefty) Stackhouse. The local High School Golf Championship was held on a handicap basis so that every player had an equal chance at winning the trophy. The Greater New Braunfels Junior Amateur Championship has existed to the present. To be continued…
This column is based on the book New Braunfels’ Historic Landa Park, Its Springs and Its People by Rosemarie Leissner Gregory and Arlene Krueger Seales. For more info please visit www.friendsforlandapark.org and Facebook.