Heath Golf and Yacht Club developer Rob Whittle addresses attendees at the golf course groundbreaking on Monday morning.

Representatives from Whittle Development, investors, the City of Heath, Rockwall County and Rob Whittle’s friends and family gathered early Monday morning to commemorate the official groundbreaking of the Heath Golf and Yacht Resort and Club golf course, an 18-hole course that Whittle promises will be “top-tier.”

The golf course and the subdivision that will surround it will be situated on a sprawling 800-acre property of Whittle’s located along Lake Ray Hubbard on the south side of Heath.

In addition to the golf course and 1,200 homes starting around $300,000, plans for the development also include retail space, a hotel, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and paved running trails.

“We’re really proud and excited about what we’ve got here,” Whittle said. “It’s a beautiful property, we have a world-class golf course planned, and it’s going to be a very special community.”

Whittle voiced special thanks to Heath city officials who helped the project along the way, including Mayor Brian Berry, City Manager Ed Thatcher and others, as well as the gold course’s designer, Roy Bechtol, who Whittle described as “bigger than life.”

“I’ve known (Bechtol) a long time, and when we started planning this, I happened to notice that in a list of the country’s top 100 golf courses, four of the five in Texas were designed by Roy,” Whittle said.

Bechtol briefly spoke as well, giving the audience a walkthrough of the course and some of the design choices made for it, chiefly the choice to balance the distribution of straightaway holes and those that “dogleg” to the left or right, as well as the overall design aesthetic.

Bechtol also emphasized the goal of producing a top-tier course, saying “When Rob approached me about this, he said he didn’t need me to make the best golf course in North Texas, which is probably Dallas National, but he definitely wanted to be second-best. That’s even laid out in my contract – this will be the second-best golf course in North Texas.”

Construction of the golf course and the subdivision’s other recreational features will continue until grass is laid in August, with the course set to open next year.