The History of Mustang Creek Golf Course in Taylor
Grand Opening of the Pro Shop, Feb 1st. 1990 Board Members Gillis Conoley, Tim Mikeska, Paul Pokorney, Dale Cummings, Eddie Pate
100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Ribbon Cutting. Board President Tim Mikeska cuts the ribbon on the golf course's 100th Anniversary
City, County and Chamber dignitaries along with Pro Shop Manager, Jimmy Campbell, Director Bill Mikulencak, Director Ronnie Kruse
on the far right is Timothy Mikeska, the 4th generation of his family to play this historic golf course.
The History of Mustang Creek Golf Course is very unique. In 1914, The Presidents of 2 local competing banks decided Taylor needed a golf course. They purchased 60 acres of the John R. Hoxie Ranch overlooking Taylor Texas. This area was later to be called Washington Heights. Mustang Creek flowed gently on the adjoining ranch. They noticed the open plains and gently rolling hills looked similar to the historic courses in Scotland. The Golf Course first had oiled sand greens and was very primitive. This was the 1st golf course in Williamson County and only the 2nd in Central Texas behind the old original Austin Country Club later called Hancock Golf Course. Taylor Country Club was the 14th golf course in Texas. Originally, the club consisted of only a 9 hole golf course and a beautiful covered spring fed concrete pool. A pavilion was built to hold events up until the building of the new Club House in 1924. To coincide with the opening of the newly charted Taylor Country Club, the golf course was refined and real bermuda grass greens were created in 1924.
The beautiful 2 story Country Club had an upstairs ballroom, 2 dining rooms, 3 full service bars, 3 fire places, formal entry/social room, covered driveway entrance, 2 kitchens, poker room, slot machines, men’s locker room, golf pro shop, and a beautiful covered Olympic size swimming pool with multiple diving platforms. From the early 1920’s until the Great Depression, The Country Club thrived with over 300 members. .
When the depression finally hit Central Texas, the directors of the Club hired the Marshall Family from the Jonah area. In 1926, a Board Member from the Taylor Country Club met Dan Marshall at the annual Match Play Championship at the Austin Country Club. Dan Marshall was a young dairy farmer that also loved golf. As a young boy, he made his own clubs from ax handles and hit balls on their family farm. Bessie Hood was a young woman who’s family managed the large Easley Farm in Jonah. The Hood family were early settlers of Williamson County. Dan Marshall married Bessie Hood and they continued to farm and together they loved the game of golf. Bessie Marshall’s cooking was well-known since the Easley’s were powerful land owners who entertained often. In 1927, the Marshall’s moved to a small 3 room house north of the Taylor Country Club. They raised 2 girls there. Every morning Dan would hand mow the greens and Bessie would prepare food for the members. Since the depression had hurt the Club financially, Dan used the golf course to raise cattle. Certain areas were pinned off and golfers had to dodge the occasional stray cow. Horses were kept in a stable near old hole #3. Caddies had their own covered waiting area near hole #1. Many successful young businessmen got their start as caddies at the Taylor Country Club. Horses were even used as the first mode of transportation for golfers until to many wondered on to the greens.
In the late 1930’s when the County Club started to thrive again, Dan Marshall purchased the very first mechanical greens mower. The County Club was the key social meeting place for Williamson County. Taylor was the largest city in the county with a population over 10,000. Politicians always stopped by the Club. Congressman Lyndon Johnson, US Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, Senator John Tower, Texas Governors Ferguson, Moody, O’Daniel, and John Connally. The Marshall Family’s good food and service along with the beautiful surroundings of the Country Club and Golf Course attracted many new members. Dan and Bessie’s daughter Joy grew up on the course playing golf almost every day. She started working in the kitchen at age 10 as a dishwasher. She watched her mother cook fabulous dishes and fell in love with art of cooking. She was playing the final hole at the Country Club one day in 1935 when she noticed a young man and his brothers and sisters walking by. She realized he lived south of Taylor and walked by the golf course on his way to school. She would wait to meet him after school and then walk with him to the end of the Country Club property. In 1941, Joy married this young man named Rudy Mikeska. Rudy’s family had immigrated from Czechoslovakia. The 11 members of the Mikeska Family lived on a farm south of Taylor. They farmed and raised livestock. Their specialty was butchering. Joy and Rudy’s honeymoon was short lived because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Rudy enlisted in the Army and Joy followed him to California. Rudy served his country until 1946 as an Inspector with the US Army’s Meat and Dairy Inspection Services at Camp Pinedale California.
In 1945 without a job and very little money, Joy and Rudy were invited home to the Country Club to help Joy’s parents. In 1946 Rudy Mikeska was named manager of the Taylor County Club. This was the start of his celebrated career in the food industry. Rudy and Joy Mikeska raised 3 children in that small home near the tee box on #3. These years were considered the "glory years" of the Taylor Country Club. Membership was over 300 and the food and beverage operations produced large profits. A famous weekly poker game was started and continued uninterrupted for 35 years. It was "interrupted" in the 1980’s!
The Taylor County Club Golf Course saw many changes in the 1950’s. Drought conditions caused the Club to run water lines to maintain the greens. In the late 1950's, Tiflawn Bermuda hybrid grass was tested on the new putting green and hole # 8. One of the 1st applications of Tiflawn grass in the United States. The Golf Course became semi private which let anyone pay a green fee. Skillful young players by the name of Conoley, Livingston, Clark, Hammack, Stern, Nobles, Wheeless, Fondren, Twitty, Zizinia, Oliphint, Prewitt and Stried. Their golf clubs were stored in their own locker downstairs in the men’s locker room. The players would play 9 holes before noon, then have lunch in the Clubs dining room. The last 9 holes were followed by an afternoon in the bar and then dinner in the main dining room. In the mid 1950’s the Club was forced to remove their slot machines. The members also complained about the lack of sun at the pool, so they removed 3/4ths of the covered awning. The high diving platforms were also removed. While the men played golf or poker, their kids enjoyed the pool’s food and beverage service delivered to them by many young waiters and waitresses. One young Taylor High School Student who bussed tables was a young Elmore "Rip" Torn. He would later become a famous actor and celebrity who often came home to enjoy the Club’s food with his mother who still lived in Taylor.
Bessie Marshall died of cancer in 1954 still residing at the Country Club. Dan continued on until his retirement in 1963. Rudy Mikeska owned 6 restaurants while still managing the Club. 4 BBQ joints in Taylor and 1 in Temple Texas, along with the famous L&M Cafe in Georgetown Texas. He left the Taylor Country Club in 1964 to run his restaurant and catering operation.
By the early 1960’s, members who could afford golf carts kept them chained to a large hackberry tree by #9 green. The green fees were paid by placing your $ 1.00 in a locked canister by the first tee box. Membership to the Club was not expensive, but required 3 members to attest your application and then was posted for 30 days at which time any member could question your reputation in the community. Dan Marshall died peacefully in 1969.
The Golf Course began to suffer from lack of skilled maintenance and lack of water on the tee boxes and fairways. A fire in the Club kitchen caused a major renovation. Funds to maintain the Course were diverted to pay for expansions and upkeep of the facility. The Marshall home was eventually torn down to make way for the Clubs first golf cart sheds. The Club managers continued to reside in the old Mikeska home until 1985.
In 1985, Gillis Conoley, Tim Mikeska, Paul Pokorney, Dr. Dale Cummings and Bill Mikulencak approached the Taylor Country Club to see if they could purchase the Golf Course. Since the Club was still carrying debt on the remodeling, they agreed to sell the Course. Taylor Golf Course Inc. was formed and Capital Stock was sold to finance the purchase. The new Board of Directors led by a very generous Gillis Conoley enhanced the Course by first adding irrigation to the greens, tee boxes and fairway landing areas. This was followed by new tee boxes, greens and additional cart storage. New modern golf course equipment was purchased along with rental golf carts. The Board of Directors of Taylor Golf Course Inc. also believed it was time for a name change. Since Mustang Creek flowed within 100 feet, they named their venture "Mustang Creek Golf Course." Again with the generous help of Gillis Conoley, Mustang Creek added a beautiful Pro Shop. Board member Tim Mikeska soon saw his old home torn down but the new Pro Shop was placed under the trees that were in his grandparents back yard. Many of the pecan trees and oak trees at Mustang Creek Golf Course were planted by his grandfather. Tim’s grandparents Dan and Bessie Marshall, left him something very important, the love of food service and the love of the game of golf.
Mustang Creek Golf Course has continued to evolve into a tough, challenging course that has been named by Golf USA Tour Magazine as: "One of the finest and most challenging 9 hole courses in the USA" In the 1990’s through the dedication of Board Members, Dale Cummings, Paul Pokorney, Ronnie Sladek, and Keith Repa, a new course layout was created to remove 1 of the par 3’s and add 1 par 4. A new layout required Mustang Creek to rename the holes. 3 additional water hazards were installed and a professional water hydraulic pumping system meant the Course had access to plentiful water.
In the summer of 2000, Mustang Creek lost a great friend and patron. Board Chairman Gillis Conoley passed away.
New Course sponsored tournaments brought players from all over Central Texas. Mustang Creek is being recognized as having very competitive home course players that possessed a unique skill that others could not comprehend. They could play in the wind, with unique stances and difficult lies. They knew how to maneuver the course. That’s what makes Mustang Creek Golf Course challenging. Many first time players return to attempt to conquer "The Creek". Another feature of Mustang Creek is the inexpensive family memberships, green fees and cart rentals. Mustang Creek also has a great social atmosphere that always has friends gathering to tell tales of their round.
In 2014, Mustang Creek celebrated it's 100th Anniversary. I ribbon cutting was held in conjunction with the annual City Championship Golf Tournament.
The dedication of the Stockholders, Members, Players and Board Members continues at Mustang Creek. We have a great staff that operates the Pro Shop. Tour quality equipment and golf lessons are available.
The current Board of Directors are:
President, Tim Mikeska
Secretary, Bill Mikulencak
Director, Ronnie Kruse
Director, Adam Stover
Director, Charlie Stover
Pro Shop Manager Jimmy Campbell
Course Superintendent Rogelio Denova
Recent Board Members who contributed to the development of Mustang Creek are....Paul Pokorney, Eddie Pate, Willie Gore, Keith Repa, Neil Weise.
Mustang Creek also appreciates the dedication of Wesley Miller who directed our sales in the pro shop until his recent retirement.
Please Click here to read the Community Impact Story on the Country Club
Please Click here to read the Community Impact Story on the Golf Course
100 years of golf in Taylor Texas continues…………