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Sugar Creek Country Club Reinvents Itself for 21st Century Demographics

One of Sugar Creek’s signature holes is Trent #3.

One of Sugar Creek’s signature holes is Trent #3.

Emphasis On Younger Professionals And Families Pays Off In Increased Membership

By Anna Saikin

When Sugar Creek Country Club opened its traditional 27-hole golf course in 1972, it quickly became a popular location for local golfers. Over the past few years, members have shown their love for the sport and SCCC by recommending and implementing a series of successful renovations to SCCC’s golf course and facilities. As Sugar Land’s population of young families continues to grow, Sugar Creek aims to encourage more of them to consider practicing their drive on its newly renovated courses.

Originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., a World Gold Hall of Fame member who designed more than 500 courses over his career, the original Sugar Creek Country Club golf courses featured the Robert Course, Trent Course and Jones Course, each with nine holes. The newly renovated golf courses, pool complex and clubhouse are designed for traditional golfers and new members alike, with many features available to introduce families and young golfers to the golf community.

Golfers will encounter added yardage and longer holes when they return to an improved SCCC that is more suited for modern equipment and tastes. Jeffrey D. Blume Ltd. created the master plan for a sweeping series of updates, which were completed nine holes at a time so that 18 holes were continuously playable. As Gordon Wagner, CEO and general manager, notes, “The overall layout is similar to what it was in 1970s, but the added length and higher level of conditioning make the courses more challenging and fun to play.” While the new water features and greens continue to appeal to traditional golfers, each 9-hole round provides excitement for experienced and new golfers.

In addition to the added length, the renovations included a new set of short tees that allow members to play a 9-hole executive-style course in 75-90 minutes. The shorter time appeals to younger golfers and has contributed to Sugar Creek’s growing membership base. Executive courses are an ideal option for all levels of players because they allow new players to become familiar with the game and veteran players to improve their short game.

Plans for renovations to Sugar Creek began in 2011 when club members expressed interest in improvements to the facilities. A strategic capital improvement plan was initiated that the membership overwhelmingly approved in 2012. Financing was secured a year later by coordinating public and private revenue sources. Part of the funds for the renovations were secured through refinancing, and a group of members who formed the Partners in Preserving Sugar Creek, LLC, a private investment group that provided a loan for $2.5 million that the club repaid within five years. All told, the improvements to the course and clubhouse cost $4 million.

The renovations have not been limited to the golf course but also include expanded dining and entertainment facilities in the clubhouse. Jill Stickels, membership director, notes the overall seating capacity has expanded from 80 to about 175 seats spread across various restaurants and bars including Bistro72, the Hickory Stick Bar and Grill and a snack café. Cabana service has been ex­panded in the pool area, and the Hickory Stick Bar has an expansive outdoor patio. Also updated are the ladies locker room and the men’s locker room lounge. The kitchen underwent a major expansion to accommodate the increased dining capacity.

Since all changes to Sugar Creek’s facilities have been made with the approval of membership, the focus has expanded with an eye to the club’s future and family-oriented programming for members and guests has increased. Friday Family Fun was launched a year ago, and youth activities and live music have drawn large crowds. Other events have included interactive cooking demonstrations, parties and seasonal hay rides. At the soft opening for the recently completed Robert course held on May 26, attendees played 9-hole shotgun events and competed in a hole-in-one contest.

Stickels notes that young families are essential to maintaining the club’s vitality. Thus far, the improvements have encouraged younger members to join. Family memberships have grown significantly, with only 12 members who were under 36 before the renovations began, to over 100 young professionals now that the renovations have been completed. Sugar Creek’s emphasis on families echoes the changing surrounding community. As more young professionals and families move to Fort Bend, Sugar Creek hopes to provide them with a place where everyone can enjoy a day on the greens.

While the golf course is limited to Sugar Creek Country Club members, those interested in learning more about upcoming events and competitions may contact Jill Stickels at 281-494-9131 or visit its website, thesugarcreek.com.

The Hickory Stick Bar is a new addition to the Clubhouse.

The Hickory Stick Bar is a new addition to the Clubhouse.


The pool area now features cabana-side service.


The Hickory Stick patio after renovation.


Renovations for the Robert Course were the last to be completed.


All courses received new sod during the renovation.


Construction on the final course was unveiled during a soft opening on May 26.

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