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Comanche Trace - The Valley Nine Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Private Course · 27 Holes · Par 36
Kerrville
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: July 28, 2012

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Comanche Trace - The Valley Nine Review

Review of Comanche Trace Valley Course

Comanche Trace is home to three fantastic nine hole layouts all within the 1300 acres of the upscale Comanche Trace golf community just a few miles south of Kerrville.  Comanche Trace was voted the "#1 Private Course in the Texas Hill Country"  by Golf Digest.  Each of the nines has it's own unique characteristics and personality:

  • The Creeks, designed by Jay and Carter Morrish, is the newest and hardest of  the nines and is characterized by the meandering creek that twists and turns along and across seven of the fairways - read our review of The Creeks to learn more
  • The Valley Nine at Comanche Trace was designed by Tom Kite along with Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell and opened in 1999 and it plays in the valley and as such it is the most open and flattest of the nines
  • The Hills was part of the original 18 that opened in 1999 and as you would expect it leverages the beautiful Hill Country with plenty of elevation changes and rolling terrain and it is regarded as the easiest of the nines - here is a link to the review of The Hills

Common to all three nines are excellent conditions, challenging Bent grass greens, beautiful scenery and views of the surrounding Hill Country, lots of fun and challenging holes, great service, and an upscale clubhouse.  Everything is very well maintained and manicured from the tee boxes to the pin.  . 

Tom Kite along with Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell designed the original 18 which was the Hills and the Valley nines.  The Valley nine starts off  with a big "WOW" - elevated terraced tee boxes offer a fantastic view of the valley and the surrounding Hill Country and a 390 yard shot to a green guarded by a large bunker and a large pond on the left and trees on the right.  The rest of the holes play through the valley with some huge beautiful homes, clear blue lakes, white sand bunkers, and natural areas.  This nine, when compared to the Creeks, is more traditional and straightforward.  The fairways are more open and forgiving and several holes have a links feel to them and the greens seem a little easier. 

That said, there are still several fun and very demanding holes that are a blast to play, for example:

  • #3 is a challenging 204 yard par 3 with a carry over a pond to a sloping green guarded by 4 bunkers
  • #4, a 523 yard par 5, requires two precise shots to nail the green and miss the trees and stay out of the natural areas and pond
  • #5 has a fairway that is split by a tree and pond and forces you to choice which side to take off the tee box - either side may result in a very tough approach shot
  • #6 is the #2 handicap hole that demands a very accurate approach shot to a green well protected by water, mounds, and trees 
  • you'll want to play #9 again - #1 handicap 447 yard par 4 with a sloping and rolling fairway that heads uphill through a minefield of 11 big bunkers to the green

The fairways were in near perfect condition and in most cases are wide and forgiving.  You'll need to manage the contour and mounding and avoid the trees and bunkers.  If you really spray the ball, you'll be lost in the natural areas.  Some beautiful big homes are dot the rolling hillsides.

The greens on Comanche Trace's Valley nine are large, well guarded, and challenging thanks to tiers, slope, and undulation.  They hold the ball very well, run true if you can figure out the breaks, and are fast at around 11 or so. When we played they were in near perfect condition.

The white sand bunkers need to be avoided.  They range in size from average to huge and some are very steep and deep.  The good news is that the sand is soft and fluffy.  The rough around the bunkers is thick and deep and may be worse than landing in the bunker. 

The Valley nine at Comanche Trace is challenging but don't let that discourage you from playing it - pick the right set of tee boxes (there are six to choose from) and play conservative and you'll have a blast on this scenic and unique nine.  Esthetically, Comanche Trace is a very eye pleasing course - you drive up a long hill to a beautiful clubhouse perched on the top of a hill with 360 degree panoramic views, the cascading creeks and ponds are clear blue water, and the contrast of the natural areas, white sand bunkers, and green fairways is stunning.  Comanche Trace is a private club but Reciprocal play as well Stay & Play is allowed.

The slope and rating are based on playing the Creeks and Valley nine which is the hardest combo of nines by a stroke or two.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 3,541 76.9 140
Gold 3,309 74.2 135
Blue 3,128 71.9 134
White 2,861 68.9 135
Red 2,555 72.6 129

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Kite
Greens Type:
Bent
Greens Condition
9.8
Greens Difficulty
9.0
Fairway Condition
9.8
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Hilly
Beware of water on 5 holes and the 32 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Beauty:
9.5
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
9.0
Fun to Play:
9.3
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.8
Front Nine Rating:
9.3
Back Nine Rating:
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FEES & AMENITIES

Initiation Fees: $25,001 to $40,000
Monthly Dues: $401 to $600

The drive up to the club house is as impressive as the clubhouse itself. The pro shop is well stocked and the bar and grill are great - don't miss an opportunity to enjoy some good food or a drink on the patio with a stunning panaramic view. The practice facilites are very good.

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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.