by: Brian Sanders
BRIARCLIFF, Texas (KXAN) – Say this for Willie Nelson: He never seems to be in much of a hurry.
And the country music legend’s latest business venture is a case in point. After 33 years of owning a nine-hole golf course on the property in the village of Briarcliff that he calls his “World Headquarters,” Nelson is finally opening up the greens to the public.
But not necessarily the serious-golfing public. Like just about everything else he does, Willie plays golf by his own rules.
“If you are a real good golfer, and really concerned about how you score, you might want to go to another course,” Nelson told KXAN this week in an exclusive tour of his World Headquarters.
He described the course as “cooler friendly.” And if you’re wondering about the dress code, there is none.
“Bikinis only,” he laughed. “No more than 12 in a foursome. And if you never have a bad lie then you never have to tell a bad lie.”
The gateway to the course is a piece of ground Nelson named Luck, Texas. And a visit there is like walking on to a movie set. In fact, it was. it was built for Nelson’s move, “Red Headed Stranger” then then used again in the TV miniseries “Lonesome Dove”.
Inside though, is a snapshot of Willie’s music career, complete with a recording studio and countless memories hanging on the walls.
Nelson bought the Cut-N-Putt Golf Course out of bankruptcy in 1979. The the idea for opening the golf course is to offset the expense of keeping up Luck.
“Well, I started looking at all my bills and things and decided, better have something make money,” Nelson said. “I’ve got a bunch of horses over here that cost a lot of money, I’ve got a golf course that costs a lot of money.
“I thought, well let see if we can make enough money on the golf course to pay for the horses.”
On Saturday, Nelson will round up a few friends for his first “Celebrity Golf Tournament” to officially open the course to the public.
He said “officially” because, “I never barred people from playing.”
“Anybody that showed up over there could rent a cart, pay your green fees and play,” he said. “So, this is just our way of letting them know, ‘C’mon and play if you want to.’”
Saturday’s will have it’s own set of rules – like speed golf, six-man scrambles, live music all day and a round of night golf.
“You just get one of those balls that glows in the dark,” he said, “and hit it that way.”