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Canongate at Magnolia Creek - England Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Resort Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 72
League City
Website · Locate This Course
Date Last Played: November 27, 2012

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Canongate at Magnolia Creek - England Golf Course Review

Review of Canongate at Magnolia Creek - England Golf Course

Canongate at Magnolia Creek in League City is home to three 9 hole courses that were designed by Thomas E Clark and are about as similar and authentic as you can get to St. Andrews, North Berwick, and Royal County Down.  Each of the three nines - England, Scotland, and Ireland - are truly unique to Texas and they capture the best of the British Isles.  Even the flag poles are wooden like you'll find across the pond.  The Magnolia Creek Courses are characterized by dramatic mounding, deep entrenched bunkers, spacious rolling contoured fairways, native grasses, challenging green complexes, and at times, strong winds. 

Canongate at Magnolia Creek is a private club and part of a portfolio of 4 other excellent Canongate Golf Club courses in Texas - read our review of Lake WindcrestOaks, Panther Trails, Magnolia Creek's Scotland Course (we haven't played the Ireland nine yet), and South Shore Harbour's Shore Course, also one nine of three nines.  All courses are private and available for play at a reasonable monthly and one time initiation fee.  Or you can play the courses as part of a stay and play package at two different resorts - read our review of Woodlands Resort Stay & Play and South Shore Harbour Stay & Play Package to learn more. 

Magnolia Creek's England Course is outstanding and a real joy to play - if you like links style courses this is as good as it gets!  Excellent conditions, unique and fun holes each of which is different, dramatic mounding, roller coaster fairways, lots of bunkers, and very challenging green complexes. 

Some of our favorite holes on the England Nine included:

  • #2 is a 417 yard dog leg right that offers your first risk reward shot to try and fly some tall mounds and three bunkers to shorten the hole
  • pull out the big dog and see if you can stuff it on the green on the shortest par 4 on this nine at 331 yards - but watch out for 6 bunkers and the two tier skinny green that horseshoes around a big bunker
  • #5 is a minefield of tall mounds and bunkers - one of which splits the roller coaster fairway and 4 more nasty bunkers that guard the two tier heart shaped sloping green
  • #8 looks easy from the tee box - but it's a 192 yards from the tips and the green has 3 bunkers in front and three more in back of the green which you can't see but will find if you're long

When we played Canongate at Magnolia Creek's England Course it was just starting to go dormant but the fairways were in very good condition.  They are firm and range from ample to tight and somewhat flat to mini roller coasters.  All have lots of strategically placed bunkers and tall tough mounds that you want to avoid.  The rough is ample and ranges from playable to pretty thick. 

The greens were also in excellent shape and ranged from small to about average and all have some slope which ranges from manageable to a steep roll back down to the fairway or rough.  The fringe is wide and puttable.  The England Course Greens were running at a great speed of around 11, were very true, and some of the tiers and breaks can cause three putts.  All the greens are well guarded, most are raised, and bump and runs work well if you can run around or through the bunkers.

The bunkers seem to be everywhere, but most of them are easy to avoid if you play smart and can hit the ball fairly straight.  Most are oval pot type bunkers with some steep faces.  The sand is excellent - soft, thick, and fluffy. 

Bottom line - one of the best, if not the best, links courses in Texas and a must play if you're in the Houston area.

Slope and rating are based on playing the England and Scotland nines. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 3,582 74.5 128
Blue 3,262 71.3 121
White 3,015 68.8 116
Red 2,626 71.9 120

Course Information

Course Architect:
Thomas Clark
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
9.8
Greens Difficulty
9.0
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Beware of water on 2 holes and the 50 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Beauty:
8.5
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
9.3
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
9.5
Condition:
9.5
Front Nine Rating:
9.3
Back Nine Rating:
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The service is good, the pro shop is well stocked, and the 22 acre practice facilities are excellent. The grill has a wide variety of choices and a pint of Irish ale waiting for you after your round.

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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! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

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.