Three days and $200: Where can you play golf in Houston, Texas?

HOUSTON -- So maybe you've got a long weekend or three afternoons during the week in Houston and about $200 to spend on golf. Not a problem, because $200 goes a long way in the Bayou City, and best of all, there's more than 100 golf courses from which to choose. All but one of them can be played for less than $100.

The one that's north of $100 is the Tournament Course at the Golf Club of Houston (formerly Redstone), home of this week's Shell Houston Open. But at around $175 plus forecaddie tip, it'd be the only course you play for your two Benjamins.

So with that in mind, let's set our goals a little modestly, which basically brings everything else into play. Choosing just three courses isn't easy, but my picks don't take you too far out of town, fit well within budget and are courses that say Houston all over them.

Tour 18 Golf Club

Ironically, my first choice isn't in Houston proper but Humble. It's the original Tour 18 Golf Club , just 15 minutes or so from Bush Intercontinental Airport.

This 20-year-old venue is the original copycat course, challenged in court by two of the venues it sought to imitate -- Pebble Beach and Harbour Town -- only to remain one of, if not the, best course of this type in America.

It does more than a bang-up job of giving golfers the feel that they're playing Amen Corner, the island green at the TPC Sawgrass and Oakmont of Bay Hill. For the average golfer, it's a chance to experience the feel of a course they will probably never play. Cost? Around $75 during weekend peak times but much cheaper during the week, especially during twilight.

Wildcat Golf Club

My second choice is the 36-hole Wildcat Golf Club. On weekends, it can run $75, but during the week, $50 or less isn't uncommon.

What I like about Wildcat, besides the fact that the two courses are fun to play and in excellent shape, is the location. Just a couple of miles south of NRG (formerly Reliant) Stadium, it's only 15 minutes from downtown or the Galleria, and there are great views of the stadium and the impressive Medical Center-area skyline from several spots on the courses.

Plus the courses are unlike anything else in Houston. Designed by Roy Case, Wildcat's Highlands Course has a nice links feel to it; the Lakes Course -- well, there are lots of lakes.

Memorial Park Golf Course

And, finally, though getting a tee time isn't always easy, Memorial Park , a 78-year-old John Bredemes design that played host to the Houston Open for decades, is a must-play.

Located inside of Loop 610, this 7,200-yard championship layout was restored magnificently in 1995 by architect Carlton Gipson and remains one of the best munis in the country.

And while you're at Memorial, be sure to check out the great burgers at Beck's Prime, the food and beverage provider at Memorial. I promise these grilled burgers are among the best in the United States.

Even then, you're still likely to have $40 or $50 left for some more food or entertainment, so here are a couple more suggestions: Grab some barbecue at Rudy's, Papas or Goode Company.

Check out an Astros game at Minute Maid Park if it's baseball season (you can get tickets for $7). Or head out I-10 West or 1-45 North to one of the TopGolf locations if you want to hit a few more golf shots, enjoy the games on TV and eat some top-notch bar food at a futuristic, triple-tiered sports complex that golfers and nongolfers will enjoy.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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Home of the Houston Open, the Rees Jones-designed Tournament Course at the Golf Club of Houston is one of the best conditioned layouts in the Houston area.
The Houston area has just one course that's routinely more than $100 to play, and that's the Golf Club of Houston's Tournament Course. So golf in Houston is fairly affordable, but some courses are more affordable than others. In fact, they're bargains. Longtime Houstonian Mike Bailey offers up eight courses that offer fairly low green fees, good design and above-average conditions.
You can't enjoy a round of customer golf -- or as many call it, taking care of business on the golf course -- just anywhere. It needs to be conducted at an impressive golf facility, not necessarily over the top but one that offers comfort, good food and drink. Houston has more than its share that fit the bill.
Houston resident and Golf Advisor Senior Writer Mike Bailey ranks his ten best public courses to play around Houston.
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Three days and $200: Where can you play golf in Houston, Texas?
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