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Houston Open picks 2024: A betting cheat sheet for Memorial Park

Editor's Note: This article is published in partnership with Read The Line, a Golf Digest content partner.

March 27, 2024

Keyur Khamar

The last Texas Children’s Houston Open took place in November of 2022. In fact, Memorial Park Golf Course has hosted the last three Houston Opens and they were all played in November. A fantastic public layout renovated by Tom Doak and Brooks Koepka in 2019, the move to March is a great warm-up for the Masters.

Before you bet, do you know the secret difference between a November date and the current spring spot on the schedule? This quick course conditions preview will definitely change the profitability of your wagers!

Memorial Park Golf Course
Memorial Park Golf Course
Houston, TX
34 Panelists
A significant renovation was completed by Tom Doak (in collaboration with Brooks Koepka) to transform the old municipal course at Memorial Park—which hosted the first Houston Open in 1947 and then again from 1951 through 1965—into a layout worthy of being a PGA Tour venue. Originally built in 1912 at a hospital near Camp Logan for recovering soldiers to use, architect John Bredemus redesigned the course in 1935 and added a second nine. Now with signature Doak green complexes and tour-level conditioning, Memorial Park is once again a must-play in the state and averages 60,000 rounds a year.
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Most betting previews only cover the numbers. Prior to studying the strokes-gained analytics, you must understand HOW the golf course will be played by the pros to know how to properly apply the data. The November version of this championship was played on a completely different grass surface than what we will see this week. In the fall, Memorial Park was covered in Bermudagrass. The green surfaces, rough, fairways and collars were seeded with that southern strain of turf.

When Doak was brought in to enhance the playability, he created playing corridors that were intended to be firm and fast. The sticky Bermudagrass never created the desired turf conditions. By changing to March, the agronomy is completely different. The greens are overseeded with Poa Trivialis, the same firm blade we have seen the past two weeks at The Players and the Valspar. The fairways and rough are overseeded with Rye, and the collars and approaches have a Poa-Rye blend.

What this all means is that the ball will bounce in March. Now the course will play as the architect intended. Fairways will be tougher to hold causing contenders to be more accurate off the tee. It will be tougher to hold the green on approaches, and the resulting rolls will tumble into the chipping surrounds. Those areas will be firmer to play from creating a stronger need for around the green acumen. The putting surfaces will also be smoother causing more putts to go in.

That statement alone is significant since strokes gained putting has shown to be the strongest influence on success by those at the top of the leaderboard. All in all, be careful analyzing the data this week. Make sure you apply this change to the course conditions before you place your bets. The numbers are very important, but even more valuable when applied through a PGA lens.

Here were some initial thoughts on the odds for the 2024 Texas Children's Houston Open from myself and Golf Digest editors Stephen Hennessey and Christopher Powers:

Here's all of our 2024 Houston Open betting content for the week:

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor and content partner with Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.