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Diamond in the rough
What a wonderful golf course ! If you are fortunate enough to get an invitation to play this course, by all means go play it. The best bermuda grass greens you have ever seen, some opportunities to play in tournaments, very private course, lot's of play, Jr. golfer's are welcome to play with members. The staff is very cordial and your experience will be enjoyable !
Excellent Public Course
This is an excellent course in central Arkansas, $ 35 fee, great greens, the course is reminiscent of a course in Ireland, wind can be a factor. Wonderful learning center and practice facility with a level range, 8000 sq. foot putting green with a bunker for practice.
There are homes on the course as this is a part of a development, they do not interfere with the golf, this is also an alcohol free establishment, but they have "giant" hot dogs with all the fixin's and mighty good iced tea !
Decent course, terrible experience
Three consecutive rounds on a recent golf trip: behind four extremely elderly gentlemen who looked lucky to survive the round, behind foursome of novice golfers completely naive to golf etiquette (we were a twosome), and then behind a group of elderly women who played as though they thought the round was for US Open qualifying... Not a single round under 5 hours... Tee times too tightly bunched and no martials on the course,
Nice Collegiate Course
This is the home course for The University of Virginia golf team. It is also part of The Boars Head Inn resort so there is lodging, dining, and other facilities nearby. I played the course several times in early winter so course conditions weren't prime but overall in good shape. Front nine played a bit easier, back nine had tighter fairways and more elevation change. There are some challenging par 3's, most over water including an island green on the back. There is a large practice range and putting green on site. Overall a nice course that challenging for better golfers but playable for high handicappers. I found the staff was very accommodating during my stay.
Worth it if you get a discounted rate
Unfulfilled potential is what I always see when I play this course. Let's start with the positives. The layout of this course is very, very good, in my opinion. It sits below the bluffs of the San Joaquin River and sprawls out nicely amidst mature sycamores and oaks. There are many natural areas preserved for wildlife and the setting is really quite beautiful. If you've played Stevinson Ranch, it's similar in look and topography, just not nearly as nicely kept. The practice areas are nice, the pro-shop, while very limited in what is stocked, is nice as well. The staff is OK, not great, in my experiences. The standard rates are asinine. $50 walking rate any day of the week? Crazy for a public course in this area. Speaking of walking, it's a longer course with some distance between some of the holes, but it's relatively flat, so it's very walkable. I did it a couple Sundays in a row recently. It's a shade under 6 miles total, but no big climbs.
The sad part is that it feels like something is dying when you go out there. The pro shop is empty and the course maintenance has been scaled back, presumably due to budget issues. This was a hot course when it opened, but I really believe that the high green fees have kept it from booming. The fairways are dead in winter (not a big deal to me), but the greens are a bigger problem. Some are very nice, while others seem to be retaining way to much water and plugging, even when there hasn't been rain for weeks. The inconsistency can be frustrating. The course is well bunkered, the rough is very challenging and there is water in play on several holes as well.
I can't stress enough how I don't understand the prices this course tries to charge for what it's offering. I'd be willing to pay rates competitive with the other public courses in this area, even slightly more, but not $50 to walk. I'll go pay the same for guest-rate at a private club instead. Fortunately, I've gotten some sweet deals online to play this course for as low as $12 at noon on a Sunday and up to $20. I'll do it any day for that price. The one upside to this course not being as popular is that you can play a 4-hour or even quicker round here on a weekend afternoon, at least lately.
Excellent Golf Experience
This is a wonderful golf course for anyone to play. It's one of the few courses old enough in the area to have truly mature trees lining the fairways. It's not long, but position and quality ball striking are a must to navigate small but very well maintained greens
Best greens I have been on in a long long time. Very fun course, lots of severe elevation changes. Need to know how to control spin on your approaches, or you literally may hit the green and have a 50 yard pitch shot. Par 5's are all reachable, but you better hit a very good second shot. Better have your short game in order. Very easy to make bogeys. Would play again in a heartbeat.
Gem in the Hill Country
I've played this course three times and this is a fairly good challenge even for the low handicapper. The course is layed out in a links style setup with a couple of holes that utilize higher tree lines that make it difficult to determine wind direction if you're playing from the tips. The greens roll true and fast (possibly at a 10 on the stimp meter, if I'm correct) for bermuda. Not as lush as bent grass, but they roll similar due to how close they cut them. The course measures out to 6590 yards from the tips, a somewhat long course even for long hitters; but you'll still have to hit drives off the tee accurately to not give away strokes.
Their score card from the Championship tees (blue tees) is rated at a CR / Slope of 70.7 / 114, respectively; but I found out through the TGA that the golf course is still using outdated scorecards. The CR / Slope is now rated at 71.7 / 139 which makes sense due to it seemed like approach shots off the fairway were almost never on a level playing surface.
The greens fee are very affordable and competitive with other public courses in the area. Overall this is a great way to spend a day out on the links as each hole is somewhat different than the next.
Trevino is a course designer?
When I played a golf course this week that was designed by Lee Trevino, I had to think back to one of my best memories of Merry Mex. It was that celebratory moment when he kissed his putter on the final green at Shoal Creek in the 1984 PGA Championship.
Everything about his victory was so quintessential Trevino. The Mexican kid who grew up sneaking onto golf courses in segregated Dallas, Trevino won on a golf course whose membership, to that time, institutionally believed that a man of Trevino’s color should be shining the silver -- and not hoisting it -- during the post-round ceremony. He won on a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, a rival he could out-golf and out-think face-to-face on the course.
But for all the wet smooches Trevino would slobber on that putter, Gary Player looked beyond the performances on the greens that week to the reason why Trevino was the winner and Player was the runnerup: “If all the golf courses required that you drive the ball in the fairway, Lee Trevino would win all the tournaments.”
So as my round progressed this week at the Golf Club of Texas outside San Antonio, I quickly began thinking that if I didn’t start hitting the fairway, my score would end up in triple digits. The Golf Club of Texas is closer to the beautiful little Alsatian-founded burg of Castroville than San Antonio, so this is gnarly South Texas. Think of cactus, thorny bushes and mesquite trees, and that’s the sort of stuff you’ve got to contend with if you miss the fairway. Wander in there and try to find your ball -- if the sign in the clubhouse warning you about rattlers, and not the thing your kid shakes -- doesn’t scare you off.
I haven’t run into such impossible lies sitting a few yards off the fairway since I played in Scotland.
Despite the inhospitable native lush, this is becoming a good area for golf. Briggs Ranch Golf Club is across the street, and it was designed by Tom Fazio and will be the site of the U.S. Women’s Mid Amateur this fall. But it’s exclusive, so I have to look at the left side of the menu and stick with the Golf Club of Texas. I would not have come out here except for a deal offered on social media. And that’s what it will take to get me back, because despite Trevino’s sensible design, the condition of the course is not what I would find at places that charge everyday almost what I paid for the special.
There were flashes of good conditioning, but the maintenance was inconsistent. The good putting surfaces, mostly on the back side, couldn’t erase the memory of the trampled texture of the green at No. 3. And then there was something I’ve never seen before: a cup cut in the portion of replacement sod from a cup position from a day or two prior. That was at No. 5, and I was cross-eyed trying to read that putt.
Don’t even talk about the bunkers. It’s not often that I’ve seen raked mud clods, and many of the traps weren’t raked. They were forgotten, like the yardage markers in many of the fairways and the par 3s. I finally found them when I circled those tee boxes and pulled back the hairy Bermuda covering them.
There are other problems, but I’ll let them glare out there and turn to, as I say, Trevino’s sensible design work. It saves this course as being a place you’d entertain thoughts of returning to if the managers ever go the coupon route again. It’s 7,000 yards from the tips, and many of the holes are like the ones on the Tenison Park layout where Trevino grew up in inner-city Dallas -- straightaway. There are even some partially blind shots into fairways, notably at the downhill 10th, the second shot at the par-5 14th and again off the tees at the straight eighth and 16th.
Trevino’s greens are big -- huge, even -- where they need to be (long par-3s and long par-4s) and scrunch up at the proper places (the short par-4, risk-reward fifth being a good example).
That fifth hole, in fact, would be my choice as most memorable. It’s 337 yards from the tips, and there’s a chance a big hitter could drive the green if he’s willing to cut the corner and take a route right of the bunker plopped down in the middle of the fairway. Problem is, the lake that must be carried off the tee hugs close to the path to the green, and there’s another bunker lapping off to the right of the putting surface. Play it too safe by teeing over the least amount of carry, further left, and there’s a good chance the drive will bounce through the fairway and climb the mounding where uneven stances live.
The fifth hole offers good design, but also the sort of work that I’ve seen come from Greg Norman (Doral Tesoro at the Texas Motor Speedway, where the course was so difficult that they spent $2 million on Jay Morrish to come in re-do it) and Keith Foster (Quarry in San Antonio). In other words, the Trevino name looks good -- and he did a good job -- but the design at the Golf Club of Texas could have been similarly performed by lesser known names.
Trevino does hold to his design philosophy to keep golf from being so difficult: You’ll find hardly a carry over a green-fronting bunker unless you misplace your tee shot. My best shots here were run-ups over mostly flat aprons to gentle greens. But the misplayed tee shot makes up for that, severely, and the course rating of 73.1 and 135 on the slope are justified. If that doesn’t bite you, maybe the snakes will.
Greatest instruction book ever!!!
There is not much to say about 5 Lessons. It is not always the case that popular opinion is inherently correct. In the case of Ben Hogan's 5 Lessons- The Modern Fundamentals of Golf we have the best selling golf instruction book of all time before us and also a case where quality and popularity are perfectly in synch. It is the all time best selling golf instruction book because it is in fact the best instruction on the full swing ever put to print. If you don't own it, and have not read it I dare say you should not call yourself a golfers.
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