New Chet Williams design to open at Big Easy Ranch

  • Big Easy
    Hugh Hargrave

    Construction of a new golf course by Chet Williams is approaching completion at Big Easy Ranch in Columbus, Texas

  • Big Easy
    Hugh Hargrave

    A creek divides the eighth hole’s left and right fairways, before splitting in front of the green

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Construction of a new golf course by former Nicklaus Design associate Chet Williams is approaching completion at Big Easy Ranch in Columbus, Texas.

‘The Covey’ course is the vision of Big Easy Ranch owner Billy Brown, who personally hired Williams, director of golf Casey Russell, general manager Chad McCormick, director of agronomy Ben Lauber and course superintendent Garrett Barnes to oversee the expansion of golf at the resort, which already has a nine-hole par three course.

Sanders Golf began construction in September 2021 and the course is expected to be complete by mid-November 2022, ahead of a grand opening in spring 2023.

The layout will play as a par 72 that extends over 7,500 yards and features elevation changes of over 80 feet throughout the property, tree-lined fairways, with natural creeks and waterfalls flowing through the landscape.

“The completed course is going to be outstanding,” said Russell. “The initial design brief and goal for The Covey was always to build a layout that can compete against the best in the state and country. We wanted a fun course that can give golfers many options of how to play the holes, be challenging, and provide enjoyment to players of all abilities.

“We went into the project wanting to highlight the elevation changes and creeks on the property. The creeks will be an integral part of the playing experience, not only as you try to keep your ball out of them but the added visual and audio experience they will bring.”

“There are some holes where you will get an added bonus of elevation to help with the tee shot but there are also a few where you will have to take the added yardage on for your shots,” continued Russell. “Chet has used the elevation to his advantage to highlight the property and give the golfer great views and fun challenging shots.”

Zeon Zoysia was selected for fairways and rough, with greens grassed with TifEagle.

“I have fallen in love with all the strategy on the course,” said Russell. “Chet’s design has given the golfer many options and opportunities to play the course from one day to the next.

“One hole that jumps out at me is our eighth that is a par four we call ‘Split Decision’. There is a creek that divides the hole’s left and right fairways. The creek then splits before the green, so water runs by the left and right of the putting surface. On the tee players must decide to go for the left or right fairway, depending on the pin’s location that day. For the bigger hitters, they might elect to go for the reachable green.”