Wow! This course is quite an experience and is the pinnacle of "desert" and target golf. When we played in November 2008, the course was in very rough condition, in fact all of the fairways were mostly dirt or dead grass and it was hard to distinguish the fairway from the desert. The only difference between the desert and the fairway was the fairways had no sage brush, rocks, or cactus but they also had limited to no grass. It was however easy to spot the greens amongst all of the brown desert, but hitting them was a different story.
The course has been neglected over the last few years, but in mid 2008 the Big Bend Motor Inn and Quicksilver Challenge Golf Club was purchased by Forever Resorts. Their plan is to restore the golf course to mint condition and we hope they follow through with their plans because with some tender loving care and lots of water and grass seed, this could be one of the most fun, scenic, and challenging courses in Texas.
Quicksilver Challenge is a short 2779 yard nine hole course that plays differently based which set of two tee boxes you play. The course is literally carved out of the Chihuahuan Desert with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. The natural landscape of sage brush, arroyos, rolling hills, cactus, rocks, abandoned wells, and more serves as the rough and somewhere between the tee box and the green are the small fairways.
When we played, the first challenge was to find the first tee box (we finally ask directions and got "turn left on that thar dirt road, then right, and it's out younder) and on all the other holes it was a challenge to find the fairway, accurately judge the distance, and then try to hit what you hoped was the fairway - which we seldom hit. In fact, the slogan for the course is "The toughest mile of golf in Texas!"
Besides all of those challenges, we couldn't believe it when in the middle of the desert, our ball would find a sand trap or a small pond! After the first hole and quite a few lost balls, we gave up keeping score and just played Bingo, Bango, Bongo.
Quicksilver Challenge is is target golf at it's best - the fairways are narrow, the landing zones are short, and the greens are small. Plus on most of the holes you have to carry at least one section of desert or an arroyo before you get to the small fairway or the green. For example, hole #7 is the #1 handicap at 407 yards and it requires an uphill shot over the desert to a dog leg left green. The tee shot landing zone is small and easy to miss if you shot is right. If your shot is left and not long enough, then you have at least a 180 yard target shot over an arroyo to a very small green that is surrounded by desert and a deep dry creek bed. In addition to dog legs and blind shots, you have some elevated tee boxes and elevated greens to keep you on your game.
The greens were actually green but bumpy and slow, but a welcome relief to the dry desert. Also don't expect the cart lady to show up with cold drinks, after all this is the desert! And watch out for all the wildlife - roadrunners, quail coveys, hundreds of species of birds, bunnys, lizards, snakes, and more. With all that said, we really had a unique, very challenging, long (it took us over 3 hours to play nine holes because of the time spent looking for balls, fairways, and wildlife), and fun experience playing Quicksilver Challenge and it was well worth the $30! If Forever Resorts puts some money into this course, it could be a fantastic course and make our Top 20 list.
Rates: $18.00 to $18.00
The service when you register and when they bring you the cart is fine, after that, you're on your own. Make sure you stop by the driving range and practice your accuracy.
Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating
The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this: links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses!
All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course. In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40. We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.