For 2010, Garden Valley made the Dallas Morning News "Best High Priced Courses ($56 to $75) list at number #19. Garden Valley is well deserving of the accolades it has received - it's a fun track to play with some great holes and challenging enough to test your skills. The course is very scenic with towering pine trees lining the fairways, blooming azaleas and dogwoods, sparkling lakes, and rolling hills - all of which is why Garden Valley has been dubbed the "Augusta National of Texas."
Garden Valley is one of our favorites and offers a number of challenges that demand good club selection and course management - you'll encounter dog legs, some ups and downs, elevated as well as downhill greens, tight fairways, water, and soft sand bunkers. All four par 3 are outstanding and a little tough with forced carries, water, or elevation changes.
Most likely, you'll find your ball under the 100 foot pines and pine needles that line the fairway, be surprised by some of the blind shots and dog legs, need to blast your way out of the strategically placed bunkers, and watch your ball go for swim in the sparkling water of the lakes and ponds.
The last time we played (July 2010), the rough was cut high and recover shot were challenging and lost balls were not uncommon. All the bunkers had recently been redone with soft thick white sand.
Each time we played Garden Valley, the fairways were in excellent shape and the greens were fast and in near perfect condition. The greens are average size with minor slope and undulation. They aren't that difficult to read and most have a least one bunker protecting them.
The back nine starting on #11 is fantastic - each hole is very different, some required precise drives, others require you to nail the second or third shot to hit the green, and there is something of everything that makes golf fun and challenging - very scenic, strategic shot making, sharp dog legs, blind shots, elevation changes, narrow fairways, berms, water, and bunkers. For example, #11 is a dog leg right 407 yard par four which is downhill with trees, water, and a bunker about where your ball wants to land, #12 is a 212 yard par 3 over water to a well protected green, and #13 is a fun downhill tee shot that has to be precise and a second shot to a small green with water on the left.
Garden Valley offers a variety of Stay and Play packages with accommodations that include A-frame cabins, condos, lake house, , and lakeside cabins next to the clubhouse. Click on the "Stay & Play" link at the top of the page to read more about their Stay & Play packages. You need to add this excellent course to list of "must play courses". Well worth the short drive from the Dallas area.
Rates: $49.00 to $59.00
Service is very good. The practice facilities are good and the pro shop is well stocked. The food is good.
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.