Hall of Fame Golfer Wadkins Completes Black Jack's Crossing at Lajitas, Texas

LAJITAS, Texas – October 7th, 2011 - In his Hall of Fame Golf Career, Dallas’ Lanny Wadkins has reached the heights as a player, champion and now architect, but until he began working on the recently opened Black Jack’s Crossing in the famed West Texas outpost of Lajitas, he had never seen a site so dramatic.

Wadkins, who has played professionally for more than 30 years with dozens of victories and honors, couldn’t believe his good fortune to be able to create the Texas-sized championship layout at the newly reborn Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa.

“It’s the most spectacular site in Texas, I don’t think there’s another a site like this anywhere in the state,” he said.

After a devastating flood wiped out a previous Lajitas design, Wadkins was chosen from a host of big name architects to design the par 72 Black Jack’s Crossing, which opened October 1, and was named for famed U.S. Army General John Perishing who once roamed these parts.

The majestic Rio Grande River comes into view on the final 5 holes of the course, which is full of dramatic twists, turns and elevation drops to the fairway, with the 15th club in most people’s bag a camera to catch all the action.

“I’ve seen a lot of courses, but never one like this in Texas,” Wadkins said. “(Co-owner) Kelcy (Warren) and I went hiking in the area around Lajitas and you won’t believe some of the views we saw from the mountains.

“We had enough land to do two courses because there was so much to work with, but it was just a matter of getting all the holes to fit together for a spectacular sight.”

Wadkins, who has done highly acclaimed courses in Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina (TPC Myrtle Beach) and Texas, said he doesn’t have a specific Wadkins style, taking mainly with what the site gives him.

At the Lajitas project, he was given plenty and was able to move plenty of dirt in the mountains to get the stunningly right look.

“I like to see what’s in front of me off the tee and not have to guess where I am. With the great vision corridors at Lajitas, that wasn’t a problem.

”We have great views, great paspalum greens and great challenges.”

A Virginia native and golf star at Wake Forest University, Wadkins’ career was all about rising above and meeting challenges. He captured 21 PGA Tour titles including the PGA Championship at Pebble Beach, played on eight Ryder Cup teams and captained the 1995 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

With back trouble limiting his play on the Champions Tour, he has turned to golf architecture in a big way, along with watching his sons play golf in college and now professionally.

“I love to do courses,” Wadkins added. “I think it’s a way I can contribute and give back to golf.”

Wadkins made his first visit to Lajitas in 2008 after the West Texas floods had left an open canvas for a spectacular resort golf course.

He was there in early 2009, standing on the steps of the Thirsty Goat saloon, when he got the word of his election into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Between the time he contracted to take the job and finishing Black Jack’s Crossing at Lajitas, he made between 13-15 trips to the site, meeting with Director of Golf Operations Ruffin Moore, the Lajitas staff and the construction crew, so captivated was Wadkins by the opportunity.

“I like to be hands on when I’m doing a course, but this is more time here than I’ve ever spent. This is a unique site, a unique course and one I am very proud of.”   

For more information on Black Jack’s Crossing, or the Lajitas Resort in Texas’s Big Bend, visit www.lajitasgolfresort.com.  

 

 

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