Review of Canongate at South Shore Harbour's Harbour Nine Holes
Canongate at South Shore Harbour is home to three nines, each of which has it’s own unique characteristics and personality but common to all is a fairly traditional layout with flat to gently rolling fairways, water hazards, plenty of bunkers, challenging greens, and a steady wind that beats off the bay. Each of the nines was originally designed by Dave Marr and Jay Riviere and was renovated and augmented by Jeffery Blume in the late 1990s.
The Shore Nine is regarded as the most challenging thanks to tough greens, thicker roughs, and tighter fairways. The Harbour Nine has water on 7 holes but it’s a little shorter and more forgiving from tee to green. South plays the longest and has the highest slope and rating, but plays easier than the Shore Nine and harder than the Harbour nine. Read our review of Canongate at South Shore Harbour's Shore Course.
Canongateat South Shore Harbour is a private club and part of a portfolio of 4 other excellent Canongate Golf Club courses in Texas - read our review of Lake Windcrest, Oaks, Panther Trail, and Magnolia Creek which has three nine hole courses. All of the courses are private and available for play by members 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 - to learn more, read our review of the Woodlands Resort’s Stay & Play (adjacent to Oaks and Panther Trail in The Woodlands) and South Shore Harbour’s Stay & Play which is within minutes of Canongate at South Shore Harbour’s three courses.
The Harbour Nine at Canongate at South Shore is fairly straightforward and traditional with water coming into play on 7 holes (including the island green on #9), strategically placed bunkers, and fast sloping and tiered greens. The Harbour nine is generally regarded as the easiest of the nines – in most cases you can see the pin and what you’re up against (except for the water guarding the green on #5), the fairways are ample, it plays a little shorter than the stated yardage, and you need to really spray the ball to be in someone’s back yard or lost in the woods. Wind, which is typical, can cause some trouble and require you to club up or down or adjust your aim left or right to compensate for it.
The Harbour nine has some great holes that are fun and challenging but fair. In several cases the holes look easy but may have a surprise waiting for you which can make par tough, for example:
When we played the conditions were good but not quite as good as the Shore nine – some of the fairways and roughs were showing some bare spots. Also, the cart paths and restrooms were showing some signs of age and could use some TLC. The bunkers were in very good condition as were the greens.
Most of the fairways are generous and you can let it rip from the tee box and won’t have any trouble unless you really spray the ball. The fairways range from flat to gently rolling with little to no contour. They are firm and give you a lot of extra roll. The rough was wide and cut thin and very playable.
The greens at Canongate at South Shore Harbour’s Harbour nine were in very good condition and very challenging with a mixture of tiers and significant slope. The greens range in size and shape with most being about average and they run true and fast at 11 to 12. In some cases, the slope is so severe, you’ll watch your ball run back down the green to the fairway or to the rough surrounding the green.
The bunkers were well maintained and in good shape but the sand was wet thanks to a recent shower – I would image that when they dry out the sand is soft, thick, and a pleasure to hit out of. The bunkers at the Harbour golf course range in size from big to downright monsters.
The slope and rating are based on playing the Shore and Harbour Nines.
Initiation Fees: Under $10,000
Monthly Dues: $201 to $400
Service is good, the practice facilities are adequate, and the pro shop is well stocked. The members seemed overly friendly and enthusiastic about their home course. We didn’t have a chance to try the grill.
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.