With temperatures finally on the upswing and the need for fresh air more apparent than ever, golfers are searching for the perfect place to tee off and enjoy a safe day outdoors. Local golf devotees need look no further than Briar Leaf Golf Club in La Porte. Run by PGA Professional Jay Williams, Briar Leaf has been dedicated to giving local golfers the best experience possible for 25 years.
“My favorite part of the job is teaching and coaching, but really I enjoy all the parts of the golf business,” Williams said. “It’s all I’ve done my whole life, and I love the day to day interaction with people and being outside. I would not be a good candidate to sit in an office for eight hours a day.”
Whether you’re looking to play a few casual rounds, host an event, pick up some new gear, or improve your game with the help of top tier coaches, Briar Leaf has it all.
“We host fantastic golf outings that are professionally run, offer complete practice facilities for those looking to improve their game, and run robust coaching and training programs,” Williams said. “We provide anything a golfer would expect and more.”
One of the many perks of Briar Leaf is its fantastic clubhouse restaurant, Portofino Grill.
“Portofino Grill leases the restaurant and banquet space, and through our partnership we’re able to provide our golf outings with top notch food,” Williams said. “We also have a lot of players that finish a round and make a reservation for when they’re done. We’re like a one stop shop, if you will, where players can get in a nice round and then don’t have to leave off site to get a great bite to eat after. A lot of public courses can’t say the same.”
Briar Leaf is also the perfect place for young golfers to get their start in the sport and hone their skills as they grow older.
“We really lead the state in making golf accessible to young people by simply removing the cost factor,” Williams said. “Everyone high school age and under plays free at Briar Leaf. We’re also known for our junior camps held during the summer.”
Williams also runs tournaments for both junior golfers and men’s and women’s leagues.
“I take pride in running those tourneys and golf outings,” Williams said. “A lot of people will never play pro but still love the game, so this is like their own U.S. Open, and I want to make it as nice as possible and take care of everything so they can enjoy it to the fullest.”
At Briar Leaf, every round is a special occasion, and Williams and his staff are dedicated to making every player’s experience memorable.
“Whether they’re here for a reunion, a golf outing, a charity event, or just a couple rounds with friends, we want everyone to be entertained and have a good time,” Williams said. “Every golfer comes out here for the purpose of having fun, and we do everything we can to give them that.”
When COVID-19 came into play, Briar Leaf made no hesitation to adapt its practices and quickly rose to the forefront of keeping customers safe.
“We are part of the National Golf Course Owners Association and they did a fantastic job of coming up with a two-page list of safety procedures to institute for COVID-19,” Williams said. “We immediately put those in place way back in March, sanitizing all touch points like door and faucet handles in restrooms and steering wheels in carts. We have a routine and systematic program for keeping things sanitized.”
Briar Leaf also implemented a “Park and Play” option to minimize contact and make transactions run smoothly and safely.
“Players were not allowed to physically enter the shop to pay, so they wouldcall from the parking lot, we would meet them there, and run their credit cards manually,” Williams said.
Briar Leaf’s impressive efforts to make golf a safe activity for its players has not gone unnoticed, and even earned the club a commendation from the La Porte County Health Department.
“We received a letter from La Porte County Health wanting to know our procedures. I responded to them with our ‘Park and Play’ and sanitation standards and we checked every box,” Williams said. “They got back to us and said what we’re doing far exceeds anything they could have expected.”
“We’re almost two full months into this now, and everybody feels good about what we’ve done,” Williams continued. “Safety and sanitizing of the clubhouse has become the core of our daily operation, making Briar Leaf a safe environment for all our golfers. Everybody has been cooped up for two months, and they’re in need of an outlet for mental health and some sunshine. With us being able to remain open, that’s something we’ve been fortunate to provide for the community. I believe golf is absolutely a safe activity if done correctly, and that’s what we’re striving to do here at Briar Leaf.”
To learn more about Briar Leaf Golf Club, visit their website at https://briarleaf.com/ or give them a follow on Facebook for daily course updates and a bit of humor and entertainment.