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Tom Dunne

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El Boqueron Update
« on: March 05, 2009, 11:43:51 PM »
Hi All,

I noticed recently that one of the old topics related to El Boqueron had resurfaced and thought some on the site might be interested in an update. (For those new to the forum, El Boqueron is a 1930 Alister MacKenzie routing plan for an Argentine estate course. The back story can be found here:

http://www.travelandleisure.com/tlgolf/articles/golf-the-lost-mackenzie/

The plans themselves have been posted on GCA in the past--unfortunately, the above link does not include them--it would be great if someone could post them as they're quite a unique topic of conversation.

Anyway, I thought I would just keep this simple and pass along some of the relevant details. By way of disclosure, I am no longer employed by T+L Golf and since my departure from the magazine, I have served on occasion as an advisor to this project. Ran has extended a login to David Edel, so I'm sure he and other GCAers involved in the project will be able to contribute their thoughts, add some more of the details, and answer some questions as well.

So:

*Mike DeVries will be the architect.
*Edel has partnered with a Tacoma-based developer, Metropolitan RED, for the project.
*The working model is one of a private club with a mix of local, regional and national members.
*A site has been chosen, 30-40 minutes northwest of Austin, Texas. It is roughly 260 acres and includes an airstrip. (The property had once been considered for development as an airpark.)
*As I haven't seen it myself, Joe Hancock recently emailed me a quick description of the site (hope you don't mind, Joe, that I'm posting this): "The property is a really cool mix of subdued and dramatic. There's some neat dry washes that run through the property...some small, some pretty big. The vegetation is sort of "high chaparral"...nice mix of live oaks, arborvitae/ cedar-ish trees and small scrub/ native grasses and wildflowers."
*Recent on-site soil analysis yielded encouraging results (sorry, don't know the technical details here).
*Mike has completed a preliminary routing that aims to be as faithful to MacKenzie as possible, while  allowing for the intricacies of the site to find their way into the design and meld it to the ground.
*Ground breaks this spring.



PPallotta

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2009, 08:26:08 AM »
Tom - thanks much for this.

That's really good news. Congratulations to Mike, Joe, David et al!

I enjoyed your article the first time around, and again this time. I'm on-line via a very slow connection today, and can't search the back pages for the plans. 

More discussion please...

Peter

Mike_DeVries

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 11:04:44 AM »
Tom,

Thanks for posting the info and I will try to get on to GCA more often to answer any questions that people may have.

I have been in Austin the last couple of days to stake the tees, greens, and landing areas of the holes and gather more info on site.  Joe's description is accurate of the vegetation and the cedars can serve in a similar fashion as the curros that were in Argentina, although not as severely disfiguring as the curros or gorse might be.  The soils are very encouraging, as there is a lot of rock in the area, but the limestone is fracturable and not that prevalent as we initially thought -- good deep topsoil over most of the site and areas that are quite easy to borrow from for the few places where it is a little bony and thin.

The ground here in Austin is very similar to the land where the golf course was to be in Argentina and the original routing is being faithfully kept intact, with the exception of the 3rd and 15th green, which would have been in the bottom of the big dry wash -- I pushed the green out so both holes will now play over that feature and it gives some options for the drive on the 16th to be a long or short par four.  Between holes 8 and 11 is where the dry wash turns into a pond and that will be our irrigation source -- this is certainly different than the narrow corridor with curros on the right side of 11, but what is special about it is the side of the pond on hole 11 is a dramatic limestone ledge 10-15 feet high  :o and this will provide for a beautiful drive that entices the player to bite off more of the hole over the water.  The other switch is the location of the clubhouse to the 1st and 17th greens -- this allows for a better siting of the clubhouse, with the range immediately to its side (right of the 17th as you look at the plan) and a beautiful view over the golf in front of you and to the hills beyond to the south of the property.  It is an amazing project and I am honored to be a part of it.  I will let David Edel post the plan drawing.

Gotta catch a plane!
Mike
« Last Edit: March 07, 2009, 02:27:35 PM by Mike_DeVries »

Bill_McBride

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2009, 11:15:30 AM »
This is sort of like a dream, hearing of a new "Mackenzie" course.  It's astonishing that (1) there is a piece of land close enough to the Argentine site to recreate the look and feel in Texas, and (2) that someone is willing in these hard times to step up and fund such a project.  Great stuff!

After seeing Mike's work at the Meadow Club and Kingsley Club, and finally playing Crystal Downs in 2007, he's a great choice to do this work.  The plans for Argentina looked very interesting and it will be great to see photos of the Texas project.

Finally, after seeing the modern Riviera couple of weeks and thinking what it would be like if the barrancas today could be restored to the dry wash of 1929, it's even more exciting to think about this Texas Mackenzie/DeVries course coming to life.

I'm planning to be at Barton Creek in Austin for a week in the fall and would love to get a look at the work then if possible.

Congratulations to everyone involved, this is very exciting.

Alfonso Erhardt

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009, 11:33:23 AM »
Mike, Tom,

I enclose a picture of the green of the 2nd hole in the original Boqueron. It was taken in December 1940 when Javier Arana, the Spanish golfer and architect toured Argentina.

Regards,



Michael Dugger

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2009, 12:16:34 PM »
This project sounds awesome! 

So is Devries elbowing his way in as THE Mackenzie guy now ;)
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

Tom Dunne

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2009, 12:43:48 PM »
Alfonso Erhardt,

That is a tremendous photo--one I've never seen before. Are you able to identify any of the men in this picture? Jaime Zuberbuhler, Enrique Anchorena's grandson, might be able to recognize a few people as well, so I will send him a link to this topic.

A couple of points to make about this photo: a.) As the magazine feature points out, the course at El Boqueron was never built to MacKenzie's specs. What we're looking at is the work of Juan Dentone, an Argentine professional and gca, who designed a course for the Anchorena family loosely based on the MacKenzie plan. And b.) To Bill McBride's point, the piece of land for which MacKenzie was designing was not exactly Cypress Point in terms of features that would be impossible to reproduce.

Thanks for posting that, Alfonso. Would love to know, obviously, if Arana set down his thoughts on this or other courses during his trip to Argentina.

Alfonso Erhardt

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2009, 01:10:34 PM »
Tom,

Arana is the guy to the far left and I believe that José Vallejo (also from Spain) is the third guy from the left. No idea about who the others are.

I have a couple more photos with Arana and other people having a drink that I can send you via PM if you are interested in identifying the other gentlemen. I also have photos of them playing in what seems another course in another of Anchorena's properties, La Azucena, where I guess there was another course. However, the pictures could be from El Boquerón. I am not quite sure and I would appreciate if you could check with Jaime Zuberbuhler if this second course existed.

In Argentina, Arana played Jockey and a couple of other clubs, and he started reconstructing courses in 1941, so I guess he must have been influenced by what he saw but I couldn't say for sure. I would say that the extra-large greens (over 40m) could be a feature he learned overseas. But I have never played a Mackenzie course so I can't say....


Joe Hancock

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 02:55:20 PM »
Here's a few general pictures just to show what the feel of the property is, and to help illustrate what each and every project starts with...land without a golf course on it. I'll try to post occasionally, with pictures, to depict the progress of El Boqueron.









Our project mascot, I presume...no one knows who the owner is. A fine caddy she'd make.....


Joe
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

George_Williams

Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 04:13:02 PM »
Joe-

If it's Northwest of Austin, don't you think it's limestone instead of sandstone?  Also, we call those scrubby evergreens "cedars" but, they're really junipers of some kind...

Joe Hancock

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2009, 04:24:54 PM »
Joe-

If it's Northwest of Austin, don't you think it's limestone instead of sandstone?  Also, we call those scrubby evergreens "cedars" but, they're really junipers of some kind...

George,

Yes, it's predominantly limestone...not sure where I said it was sandstone, but if I did, I misspoke.

I also described(not identified) the small shrubs as "cedar-ish".... :)

Thanks for the corrections,

Joe
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Neil_Crafter

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2009, 01:11:16 AM »
Good luck with the project Mike.
I'm interested to know how much 'latitude' you are allowing yourselves to vary from Mac's plan? Naturally one would expect a little just to fit the holes to the different site. Look forward to your comments.
Neil

Bart Bradley

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2009, 07:56:56 AM »
Wow..congratulations.

This seems to be very rare news at the moment..plans for a new golf course to begin construction.  Joe, can you share the basics of the business model that this course is pursuing.  Is it a destination club, high end public course, local private club? 

In the current economy, so many projects have stalled or even stopped.  Here's rooting for a successful venture.

Bart

PPallotta

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2009, 11:47:53 AM »
David E - I don't know how hard it is to do, but if you could post the plans on here that would be just terrific.

Thanks - and congratulations again...a labour of love (but done with all the ducks lined up) getting off the ground in this economic climate is really wonderful news...

Peter

David Edel

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2009, 12:05:19 PM »
Bart,

David Edel here, just thought I would answer this question.  First off, it has been an honor to know and become friends with Jaime Zuberbuhler, and Enrique Anchorena III.  I am proud that they entrusted me to this task.  Believe me it is no small responsibility, and I take great caution to ensure that my tombstone does not read "Here Lays and Idiot".   

I would hope to have the guidance and support of those who love the Doc's work to become involved in the creation of this course.  In Mike DeVries, I have not only found a great friend, but a expert architect to ensure that course plays as it should. He has assembled a great cast of experts to aid him in developing the project.

As for the structure of the club, we want to use the old models of why a club was developed.  This is not going to be a real estate development, but a golf club.  I want the facility to feel like you are going back to 1930.  No paved roads, or monster club houses.  We will create 30 or so cabins for members to purchase is shares or out right ownership.  We will use the original employee building from the Boqueron as our clubhouse.  This building was set up a dormie lodge, and was designed by the famous Argentine architect Alegandro Bustillo.  Therefore, the clubhouse will have rooms for rent to members and guests.  This building is a cross between Cypress Point and the Olympic Club, and suits the Texas environment well.  The property also has a 3100 ft air field with 3 large hangars and fuel dock.   

We intend to allow some outside play, so those who have not experienced a course designed by Mackenzie can do so.  We intend to develop a salon were all the Doctors work can be viewed in one location.  I would hope that we gain the support from all involved to make it as accurate as possible. 

My good friends Enrique Hernandez, Mark Risley, and I have acquired the rights to two other Mackenzie routings that were never executed.  The two plans were also from Argentina.  Mar del Plata Golf Club and El Nautico San Isidro have graciously sold the rights to the plans that were drawn by Mackenzie on his trip to Argentina and Uruguay in 1930.  The El Nautico plan has the famed 1914 Country Life award hole (Lido) on it.  So we are looking well beyond El Boqueron for authenticity and attention to the correct details.

In conclusion, we are very proud to be involved in this project.   We took a while to find the right partners who wanted to do it right.  I was worried in the begining that the only way to get this going was to make it part of a real estate project.  What a relief to have it as it should be.  I would love any input, both critical and positive.  We have the embodiment of the Doctors work to study, and the right people involved to make sure it done correctly.   We are building this with the knowledge of the economy, and that other clubs are getting hit hard.  This course will be built around the same principles that clubs were built in the 1930's.  Kind of funny how th ecurrent times parallel the atmosphere of the 1930's.  A lot of great golf was created in that era.

Let me know what you think,

David Edel

Joe Hancock

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2009, 12:20:16 PM »




" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Mark Bourgeois

Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2009, 12:28:51 PM »
Oh my, David, that's incredible -- particularly the idea of a Mackenzie salon. I believe you have been in touch with Nick Leefe; there is a trove of information which Nick, Neil C, Sean T, and others have unearthed in recent years.

Would it be possible for you to post images of those Mackenzie South Am routings?

Regards,
Mark

Bart Bradley

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2009, 12:43:02 PM »
David:

Thank you for your kind response.  I certainly would congratulate you on choosing Mike DeVries.  His work certainly has my respect and admiration.  I love the idea of a pure golf-only setting.  Many of us are huge fans of MacKenzie's work, writings and ideas.  Seeing more of his ideas translated into actuality is very exciting.  In today's environment, I am completely unsure which business model will most likely lead to financial success...but based on your reply,  I certainly believe you will have a heavenly place to spend time.  Please keep us updated on your progress.

Best wishes,

Bart

David Edel

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2009, 12:47:21 PM »
Alfonso,

It never seems to amaze me, how many worlds away and from a different time, that information like the picture come about.  El Boqueron was a family estate course, so it was not open to the public.  To have a picture from 1940 is just great.  Can you send that photo and the story of Senor Arana for our archives.  My email is david@edelgolf.com.  I would greatly appreciate it.

As for the other course in your photos, to my knowledge El Boqueron did not have another course.  The course could be Sierra de la Ventana, which is near by.  It has more broken shelf land with hills, which are rare for this region of La Pampa.  It could also be Miramar, which is a little south of Mar Del Plata.  This course was designed by Aubrey and Percy Boomer in 1927.

As you can see in the EL Boqueron photo, the land is very simple and could be just about anywhere, which makes this plan adaptable to the Texas property.  I will allow Mike to expound on the placement to the new sight.  We do not have many photo's that show the course.  Most of what we have are near the small clubhouse and are social event photos.  Really cool to see shots of the course.  As can be seen, the greens look nothing like the plans and are simple push ups.  The 9 hole routing was used, but the greens were never done with the double green features.  By the 50's apart from several holes near the clubhouse, the course was gone.  

Jaime, was able to play golf with his Grandfather  Enrique on the course for the first time, and he died the next day.  A special memory for him.

Special photo,

David


Mike_DeVries

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2009, 02:25:44 PM »
Joe-

If it's Northwest of Austin, don't you think it's limestone instead of sandstone?  Also, we call those scrubby evergreens "cedars" but, they're really junipers of some kind...

George,

Yes, it's predominantly limestone...not sure where I said it was sandstone, but if I did, I misspoke.

I also described(not identified) the small shrubs as "cedar-ish".... :)

Thanks for the corrections,

Joe

George,
My mistake -- limestone it is.  Just to reinforce my previous point, the rock is not substantial like it can be on some jobs.  It will not be an impediment to irrigation or other digging of utilities on the site and that will be a big savings.
Mike

Mike_DeVries

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2009, 02:44:09 PM »
Good luck with the project Mike.
I'm interested to know how much 'latitude' you are allowing yourselves to vary from Mac's plan? Naturally one would expect a little just to fit the holes to the different site. Look forward to your comments.
Neil

Neil,
There is minimal need to vary from the plan -- the only real changes to it I stated above in reply #2.  The tweaking of a hole to accommodate the dry wash or a specimen oak will be neglible and not that different from the original drawing -- certainly, if the tree is in the way, it will be removed.  The original site was very "plain-Jane" with not a lot of character and the site in Texas does have quite a bit more going for it in that regard with the dry wash, good trees and cedars (not just curros), but not so much movement that it is radically different. 

One aspect that will be different is MacKenzie indicated only one teeing location but there is lots of space around the tees that is short grass and we will provide for multiple options for players, not just to have a regulation set of tees, but for variety.  The club will be about playing the game and its camaderie, so what's to say that the next hole's tee selection isn't upon the winner of the previous hole?  Or alternate who chooses the next tee?  We will have some options just through tight mown turf to have a tee very close to the green and maybe making the hole/course quite a bit longer for certain events.  This is not totally figured out, but the concept is to have multiple options and we could easily have a "strict original scorecard" but also lots of flexibility for different reasons.

The greens are HUGE and we are looking at how that will influence play and maintenance and will lead us towards some grasses and away from others, but that is not fully determined yet. 

Cheers,
Mike

PPallotta

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2009, 03:06:09 PM »
"We have the embodiment of the Doctors work to study, and the right people involved to make sure it done correctly.   We are building this with the knowledge of the economy, and that other clubs are getting hit hard.  This course will be built around the same principles that clubs were built in the 1930's."

David - That says it all, it seems to me.

"The greens are HUGE and we are looking at how that will influence play and maintenance and will lead us towards some grasses and away from others, but that is not fully determined yet."

Mike -That also says it all, it seems to me -- i.e.  making the design and maintenance and playability choices/decisions all together like that, especially in the case of huge double greens. 

Peter

Neil_Crafter

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2009, 04:30:48 PM »
Joe
Thanks for posting the additional photos. They add nicely to the ones you posted earlier and it certainly looks like a most pleasant and gentle site that would seem very nicely suited to this particular project.

Mike
That is terrific that the land lends itself to the building of Mac's plan for El Boqueron - some 80 years in the pre-construction phase - with very little modifications needed. Presumably you have visited El Boqueron property to understand the original site for the course? The idea for the teeing grounds sounds very nice indeed and should fit well. If I'm right I think Mike Nuzzo did something similar on his 9 hole private course in Texas.

David
The idea of a Mackenzie salon sounds fascinating and I'm sure Mac would approve provided there was a bar included so you could inspect with scotch in hand!

I was very pleasantly surprised (and shocked!) to read David that there are two other Mackenzie plans from his 1930 trip to South America that exist, apart from the El Boqueron and Club de Golf Uruguay plans which are well known. You mention these are Mar del Plata and El Nautico San Isidro.

The Mar del Plata course is listed in Doak Scott Haddock's book as being a course incorrectly attributed to Mackenzie, but I did note in Tom Dunne's article in T&L a mention of Mar del Plata as a course Mac did a redesign plan for, but I certainly did not expect there was a surviving plan. So it would certainly seem that the DSH reference is not correct.

El Nautico San Isidro is not a name we have come across in our research before - presumably this was a plan for a new course in the San Isidro area of BA? I know TAMS would greatly appreciate any further information on these two courses you could provide to us, and of course we would love to see the plans!

Mackenzie's trips to New Zealand in 1927 and to South America in 1930 are probably the two least documented and understood of his overseas design tours, but it would seem you are uncovering a good deal more about the Argentine part of that tour - but I think there are many questions also about his side trip to Uruguay as well. I plan to start a thread on Mackenzie's 1930 South American trip and would appreciate any input you could give.

cheers Neil

David Edel

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2009, 10:57:44 PM »
Neil,

Yes, scotch is manditory! Think of all that was done in Australia in the short time he was there.  Mackenzie was in Argentina from January to middle May.  Until recently, the Jockey and the Golf CLub of Uruguay were the only two confirmed Mac's down there.  It was known from The Spirit of St Andrews that he gave credit to work at Mar Del Plata.  The truth about Mar Del Plata is that he was asked to look over and consult on the 18 nearly complete redesign by Juan Dentone. 

Juan Dentone had just enlarged the course from 9 to 18, were he was the original architect designing Mar Del Plata in the late 1890's.  Juan Dentone is regarded as the father of Argentine golf pros, so having Mackenzie show up and provide his 2 cents must have been difficult.
Mackenzie went in and not only gave his 2 cents, but disregarded Dentone's 18 hole revision and totally redesigned the course.  I have all the minutes from the club ledger and in light of the crash of 1930 starting to show up in Argentina, they decided not to impliment the Doc'swork.  Also, the Dentone routing is quite good and they didn't see the reason to take his advice.  Besides, at the time he was not as well known, especially in Argentina.  So, he did a plan, but he deserves no connection to the existing Mar Del Plata Golf Club. 

As for El Nautico, that was a find.  I was looking through 30 years of the Golfer Argentino that I had recently purchased in Argentina.  From 1931 to 1960.  In the early book, I saw an article with the plans on the page for the future plan for the El Nautico San Isidro by Dr. Alister Mackenzie.  My jaw hit the book.  This plan was off the charts with the Lido hole, Redan, Cypress #16 & 15, first green complex at St Andrews.  I am sure a better eye could find other excellent attributes.  The reason I state that the holes resemble these fine holes, is that is exactly what the club wanted.  The great holes from around the world.  We have a news paper article from 1927,  with H. Cotton and Aubrey Boomer consulting for the club to create a course with great holes from around the world. 

This plan is very unique in that when Mackenzie drew it, the land did not exist.  Meaning it was swamp land and that only a small portion existed.  Mac drew a preliminary 9 hole routing that would evolve into the the 18.  They did build the 9 hole routing and it evolved into a different beast.  The land was prone to high winds that in the winter swamped the course and flood it for months.  A large dike was built and the features that made the course special were gone.   Carlos Blasi, the pro at the club, became the new architect and the current golf course has no Mackenzie traits or flare.  So, with the El Nautico, we have the 9 hole early plan, and the 18 hole plan. 

Nautico is neat because there was no land, and to boot it was dead flat.  The features were added from dredge spoils.  The Mar Del Plata plot has gentle slope and is maybe more sight specific, but would not be difficult to reproduce, in my humble opinion. 

Very exciting stuff, glad to see the interest.  I know how passionate we are about Mackenzie's work, so alot of details to fill in and execute correctly.  Any help is well appreciated. 

David

mike_beene

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Re: El Boqueron Update
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2009, 11:29:49 PM »
This is all very interesting to a Dallas guy with a sister in Austin.I assume it is on the opposite side of the river from Austin Golf Club,Lakeway,etc.Is it close to one of the new toll roads?A lot of people up here go to AGC and Horseshoe Bay.This sounds an hour closer.Plus,winter is almost nonexistent down there.Watch out,snakes ,centepedes,scorpions,snakes and snakes enjoy the hill country.

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