b'The Coore-Crenshaw team roughed out 11 holes, including greens, when work halted. Hampered by the oil slump, the onset of the savings and loan crisis and an overall recession, Blake stopped work on the project in December 1988.Coore was profoundly disappointed. It was an extraordinary property for that part of Texas, he said.Ben and I both loved it. The site was beautiful andUnfortunately, Thomas Blake Sr. never got toClockwise from top left: Sprigging the green naturally conducive to golf in an interesting fashion. play his dream course, or even see it completed.of No. 9; watering the newly planted Mr. Blake was excited, and we got along great. He just wasA fall early in 2001 left him wheelchair-bound. Hesurface; No. 18 under very conservative about spending his own money on it. died in mid-September that same year. His familyconstruction; No. 1.struggled with how to proceed, but his son Thomas THE AUGUSTA OF TEXAS chose to honor his fathers vision and finish the By the 1990s, Blake had resumed work on the course, withcourse. In October 2001, the 7,196-yard, par-71 his own crew. He utilized the original Coore-Crenshawcourse opened quietlyas a public facility.routing, but finished many holes as only he could, withCuriosity drove many daily-fee golfers to seek eccentric, dramatic flourishes. He loved lakes, and addedout this Augusta wanna-be, but not enough of several of them, often in awkward places, creating beauty,them came. In 2005, Blaketree National shut down challenge, and occasionally frustration. He planted azaleas,again. Between the summer of 2005 and October camellias, and magnolias. Blended with the 100-foot pines2006, Blaketree lay fallow, its fairways and greens and tumbling terrain, it was a gorgeous homage to Augustatouched only by wild hogs.National. Late in his life, Blake cherished his walks aroundIn October 2007, hope returned in the form his soon-to-be finished golf course. He also cherishedof Duggan Realty Advisors, which purchased the driving around it. property, revived the golf course and promulgated My father always drove a 20-year-old car, recalledplans for an ambitious future. The public flocked Blakes son Thomas. Its just the way he was. He wouldback, especially given the $40 green fee ($50 on drive that 20-year-old Cadillac onto the course. Hethe weekend). The Dallas Morning News ranked couldnt see out of one eye and he was practically deaf.Blaketree National as the second best mid-priced So, he could hardly see, and hed wind up in a sand trappublic course in the state. Then the economic somewhere and Bobby, our foreman, would have to comecrash of 2008 shattered everyones plansand pull him out with a tractor. eventually shuttered Blaketree National for good.bluejacknational.com 13'