Houston Open Course Preview 2024: Memorial Park Golf Course

Houston Open Course Preview 2024: Memorial Park Golf Course article feature image

Via Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: A general view of the second hole during the third round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on November 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Houston Open Course Preview

The PGA Tour heads from Florida to Texas for this week’s Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course.

With the PGA Tour getting rid of its match play tournament in Austin, Texas, there was room on the schedule for another stop in the Lone Star State to pair with next week's Valero Texas Open, which is a week before the Masters Tournament. Consequently, the Houston Open was shifted from the Fall Swing into late march.

Located five miles west of downtown Houston, Memorial Park is a long 7,435-yard par-70 that features Poa Trivialis overseeded greens (over dormant Bermudagrass). John Bredemus designed the course in 1936, and Tom Doak completed a renovation in 2019.

Via Leslie Plaza Johnson/Getty Images. Pictured: Tony Finau (USA) poses with the Cadence Bank Houston Open trophy during Final Round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on November 13, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Memorial Park is set to host the Houston Open for the fourth consecutive PGA Tour season this week, with the most recent tournament being Tony Finau's win in November of 2022.

Seasonal Change at Memorial Park

As a result of the seasonal change from November to March, the GCSAA notes that the Poa Trivialis overseed on the greens this week will produce a might tighter surface than the tournament had the last time here on Bermudagrass in 2022. This will emphasize the shortgrass runoffs near the greens, but shorter rough (from 2.5-inch Bermudagrass to 1.25-inch Ryegrass) will also allow more aggressive approaches.

Because of the penal runoff areas and challenging Doak green complexes, both Strokes Gained (SG): Around the Green and SG: Approach have had a higher correlation with SG: Total at Memorial Park than at the average course on the PGA Tour.

Like Copperhead last week, Memorial Park also features five par-3s, but the course also features one fewer par-5 with just three on the course. Eight of the 10 par-4s on the course are listed as at least 440 yards, and five of the 10 are at least 496 yards.

Given the five par-3s and a myriad of longer par-4s, it is not surprising that just under two-thirds of approach shots at Memorial Park come from at least 150 yards.

Approach YardagePercentage of Approaches in 2022

The fairway widths in the landing areas average a wide 30-40 yards, and golfers will hit into relatively large greens at an average of 7,000 square feet.

PGA Tour players have noted that the rough is much less penal than it has been at Memorial Park in past Novembers, so the course may play easier than it has in past years. The course also features water on only four holes, and there are relatively few bunkers on the course with 21 in total. Consequently, the few penal areas outside the fairway along with shortened rough should result in golfers bombing drivers off the tee frequently this week.

Key Metrics for Memorial Park

Here are some key metrics that I recommend including if you run a model for this week's Houston Open:

  • Bogey Avoidance
  • SG: Approach (with an emphasis on over 150 yards)
  • Total Driving (with 65% Driving Distance and 35% Driving Accuracy)
  • SG: Total on Difficult Courses
  • Birdie or Better Percentage
  • SG: Around the Green
  • SG: Putting on Poa Trivialis (Dormant Bermuda)

Past Winners at Memorial Park

During the last three years as the host course, Memorial Park has only seen two golfers shoot better than -12: Tony Finau at -16 in 2022 and Carlos Ortiz at -13 in 2020. Of the past winners at Memorial Park in recent memory, only Finau is in the field this week as Jason Kokrak and Carlos Ortiz have fled the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.

Here are the three past winners of the Houston Open at Memorial Park since the PGA Tour returned here in 2020:

YearPast WinnerWinning Score
2022Tony Finau-16
2021Jason Kokrak-10
2020Carlos Ortiz-13

Finau holds both the 72-hole scoring record at 16-under par (264) and shares the 18-hole scoring record at 8-under 62 from his second round in 2022. Scottie Scheffler, the betting favorite this week at +250 to +300 depending on where you shop, also shares the course record with Finau after shooting a 62 in the second round of the 2021 Houston Open, and the Texas Longhorn went on to tie for second that week behind Kokrak.

Before Memorial Park's renovation in 2019, it had previously hosted the Houston Open on 14 different occasions from 1947 to 1963. 

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