Today@Sam Article

University Golf Course Renamed The Bearkat Course

Oct. 21, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

Bearkat Course Sign on I-45Driving on I-45, you may have noticed a change to the look of Sam Houston State University’s golf course. A new orange sign proudly displays that this month marks the official rebranding of Raven Nest Golf Course to The Bearkat Course. This rebrand of the course will include revitalization projects around the facility and brings name recognition to a wider audience for an already well-established golf course in the community.

“Last year when the university took over the golf course from the City of Huntsville, I wondered how we could leverage this and use it to our full advantage. It became clear that the way to do that was to use the strong brand power of SHSU and change the name of the golf course,” said Rich Ballinger, Director of PGA Golf Management and Golf Course Operations. “We came up with potential names and took those to various golf course, community, and university stakeholders through focus groups. Overwhelmingly, those groups embraced the name Bearkat Course.”

SHSU’s Bearkat Course serves as the home to the SHSU Men’s and Women’s golf teams, the PGA Golf Management Program, and is completely open to public play. Throughout the last two years, golf has seen a resurgence of participation as an outdoor activity. Golf rounds played nationally are up 60 percent, and these same trends are being seen locally as well.

“We are setting records with rounds and revenues,” Ballinger said. “What that is allowing us to do is then reinvest it back in the golf course itself with a new fleet of golf carts, maintenance equipment and on-course restrooms. We will continue to invest that money back into the golf course.”

Course overhead photo
Another reason for record participation is that the Bearkat Course remains one of the best values in golf. The 18-hole public facility is consistently listed among the best courses in Texas including being ranked No. 6 Best Economy Course by the Dallas Morning News, No. 3 Best Value by Avid Golfer Houston, and No. 1 Best Overall Value Under $40 by Avid Golfer Houston.

Bearkat Course TM

“We bring tremendous value to the community by being the only 18-hole public golf course in Walker County,” Ballinger said. “We take pride in being the home golf course to the Huntsville High School golf team, SHSU’s teams and the PGA Management Program. It is a tremendous recreational opportunity for our students at the university as well, because they can play 18 holes for just $9.”

The Bearkat Course amenities also include an expansive practice facility that is ideal to work on all aspects of your game, and the 19th Hole Lounge, located conveniently next to the pro shop on site, offers food and beverages for daily rounds as well as accommodations for any golf event.

The Bearkat Course is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with special discounted daily rates available for SHSU students, SHSU alumni, state employees, and senior golfers. As a way to grow the game of golf with the next generation, junior golfers under the age of 15 can play their rounds for free when an adult pays the general rate. The Bearkat Course is also pleased to offer a great value for the whole family with golfing family memberships or semester memberships for students. For more information, contact the Golf Shop at 936-294-GOLF or visit

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