Bluegreen Communities Celebrates Grand Opening of First Fred Couples’ Golf Course in Texas At The Bridges at Preston Crossings

(Gunter, TX September 29, 2008) — On October 6th, North Texas will enjoy its first taste of a Fred Couples’ Signature Golf Course experience with the Grand Opening of The Bridges Golf Club. The Bridges Golf Club is Couples’ first North Texas golf course collaboration and is located within The Bridges at Preston Crossings, a 1,587 acre master-planned golf community developed by Bluegreen Communities. Bluegreen Communities is celebrating the grand opening of the golf course with an exclusive new property release of 12 prime golf course homesites October 4-5.

The celebration continues October 6th with the official opening of The Bridges Golf Club, a VIP golf tournament and a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. Also, now through October 6th, Bluegreen is introducing to the public a preview of these new homesites and an offer for a free golf membership with each homesite purchased.*

“The Grand Opening of The Bridges Golf Club is the culmination of Bluegreen’s commitment to deliver a superior lifestyle experience in North Texas at The Bridges at Preston Crossings,” said Skip Davis, Sales Manager of The Bridges. “While we are excited about the golf course opening, we are equally excited about our new property release in which all 12 exceptional homesites are along the prestigious 9th hole of the golf course with incredible views that backs up to a winding creek.”

The course was designed by Jeffrey Brauer, of GolfScapes, in conjunction with Fred Couples and developed by Bluegreen Communities. Brauer describes the course as “throwback and futuristic at the same time.”

“It has a modern length at about 7,600 yards from the championship tees and some other modern features like fairway chipping areas,” he said. “It also features many old-style design characteristics like square cornered tees and smaller steep banked grass bunkers. Many of the greens have great contours while others are protected by sharp banks rather than the traditional sand bunkers.”

The 18-hole championship golf course has five sets of tees and extensive practice range facilities. The club also features a 6,000 square foot clubhouse with a pro shop, locker rooms, bar and grill.

The Bridges Golf Club is Bluegreen Communities’ third Fred Couples’ Designed or Signature Golf Course its has developed.

“Bluegreen is proud to have worked with Fred Couples since 1997 and we have created an outstanding golf course that we successfully maintained and enhanced the natural look of the land, all while offering maximum playability,” said Daniel C. Koscher, President & CEO of Bluegreen Communities. “This exceptional championship golf course is a blend of extraordinary design, artistic creativity and uncompromising sensitivity to the environment.”

The golf course and community are located in Gunter, Texas just north of Dallas on the site of the historic Double M Ranch, which played host to many political fundraisers, polo matches and charity events such as the Dallas Cattle Baron’s Ball. Bluegreen Communities was selected to develop this historic ranch — with sparkling ponds, majestic oaks, and open pastures — because of its long history of developing with sensitivity to the environment and responsible land use.

“We are very excited about The Bridges at Preston Crossings, our first Bluegreen Golf Community in Texas,” said Bluegreen Divisional President, Tom Powers. “We have developed an incredible community with outstanding championship golf at its core. This will be the largest community we’ve developed so we were more generous with our amenities.” Community amenities include an expansive 8-acre family recreation complex with a 1 acre swimming pool, playground, tennis courts and sports courts, paved walk and bike trails and a park and picnic area.

Long Drivers Can Look Forward to Two Challenging New Courses

By MARK KAZLOWSKI / The Dallas Morning News

While the pace of new course construction in North Texas has slowed markedly, it is notable that two new courses scheduled to open this year are about 14 miles apart in Grayson County. Both are centerpieces of master-planned communities.

Sherman Hills Golf Club was designed by California-based architect Cal Olson. It is scheduled to open April 1.

John Stovall, the director of golf at Sherman Hills, said the course, which is visible from U.S. Highway 75 on the eastern edge of the property, has been ready to play since 2006. It features bentgrass greens. A cart barn was under construction in late January, and a temporary clubhouse will follow, Stovall said.

The Bridges at Preston Crossings in Gunter is Bluegreen Communities’ fourth Fred Couples signature course for the company. It was designed by Jeffrey D. Brauer of Arlington’s Golfscapes and is scheduled to open the first week of July.

Both courses will be open to the public and will challenge the longest hitters. Sherman Hills measures 7,428 yards from the tips and 6,833 from the gold tees. The Bridges will be nearly 7,500 yards. Many of those compact tee boxes are a short hike from the gold tees, which will play at 6,921 yards.

This is the first Texas foray for Olson. Brauer has more than a dozen new courses and renovations in North Texas on his résumé, including Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine.

Some of Preston Crossings’ devilishly undulating greens will be familiar to those who have played other Brauer creations. He has included some traditional elements such as rectangular tee boxes.

“Most of these tees are just kind of set there, which is an old-fashioned kind of look,” Brauer said. “It’s very practical. As I get older, the idea of not climbing up to a tee really starts to appeal to me.”

The design also gives players plenty of options in closely mowed areas around the miniverde Bermuda greens.

One of the most unusual holes is No. 6, which plays at 325 yards from the tips and 296 from the gold tees. The green is a reverse of the Road Hole at St. Andrews in Scotland. The pot bunker is on right instead of left, and there is a long bunker on left side of a small green, which features severe undulations.

Bluegreen Communities is developing the 1,597 acres of the former Martin Ranch just east of Gunter. It will have about 2,000 home sites when it is complete. Construction on the first home was to begin early this month. The clubhouse, which will sit above a par-5 18th hole that requires two shots over water, is expected to be completed in the fall.

“We bet the proverbial ranch on the growth continuing,” Tom Powers, president of Bluegreen Golf, said of the corridor north of U.S. Highway 380 between McKinney and Denton.

Dallas-Fort Worth Tops Population Growth

By Catherine Clifford, staff writer

NEW YORK ( — More people moved to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, than to any other metropolitan area in the United States last year. The population there increased by 162,250 between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report. Atlanta, Phoenix and Houston also saw their ranks swell by more than 100,000 people each.

The census measures metro areas with the biggest population increases, as well as the fastest-growing metro areas.

But the survey actually shows slower growth compared to previous years, according to William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

“The big story in these numbers is that they are putting the breaks on the fast growth,” said Frey. The effects of the slowing economy and the housing crunch began to set in during the first half of 2007, and will be more pronounced in the next census.

“When these numbers come out next year, we will see the continuation of this meltdown,” Frey added.

Palm Coast, Fla., was the fastest growing U.S. metropolitan area, expanding at a clip of 7.2%.

St. George, Utah; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; and Gainesville, Ga., were also among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States.

Indeed, eight out of the top ten fastest growing metro areas were located in the South, and the South also accounted for more than half of the 50 fastest growing regions.

The Sunbelt is the fastest growing part of the country because in large part thanks to its lower cost of living – from housing and groceries to taxes. The region has been one of the fastest growing for years now, says Frey and, “growth breeds more growth.” As more people move to an area, there is increasing demand for goods and services, which creates more jobs.

A few cities were among both the fastest growing and the areas with the biggest population jumps. And two of those double-hitters were in North Carolina. Raleigh, N.C., was the third fastest-growing metro area, up 4.7%, and ranked 12th with a population gain of 47,052. Charlotte, N.C., was the 7th fastest-growing metro area, up 4.2%, and ranked 6th with a gain of 66,724.

Raleigh and Charlotte have been growing rapidly for close to 30 years, according to Bill Tillman, state demographer of the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management. Research Triangle Park, a science and technology hub, and the increasing number of national banks based in Charlotte are the area’s biggest draws.

New Orleans was the 8th fastest-growing metro area, with a 4% population gain that meant 39,885 people moved back into the city. The area had seen the largest drop in population for the period between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006, after Hurricane Katrina.

Frey expects to see growth continue in the Southeast – expanding further into the less developed parts of South Carolina and Tennessee – and into the West, particularly in the interior parts of California, Arizona, and Colorado.

The U.S. Census bureau grouped counties into 363 metropolitan areas across the country. Those metropolitan areas contained 251.9 million people, or 83.5% of the nation’s population.

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