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Golf Trails of The Woodlands - Oaks Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.7

Golf - Resort Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
The Woodlands
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: October 24, 2012

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Golf Trails of The Woodlands - Oaks Course Review

Review of Golf Trails of The Woodlands Oaks Course - The Woodlands 

Oaks was one of five courses in the Canongate Golf Club family of courses in Texas. In August 2014, Dallas based ClubCorp, a well respected publicly- traded company which is a leading owner/operator of over 3400 holes of golf at numerous public and private courses across the United States - acquired Panther Trail, Oaks, and Lake Windcrest.  

The Oaks is a private course but as a guest of The Woodlands Resort you can play the Oaks and Panther course - and the Woodlands has a fantastic Stay & Play.  Here is a  link to our review of The Woodlands Resort.

Oaks Course was designed by Joe Lee and Robert von Hagge in 1975 and Jay Morrish & Associates redesigned the course in 1999 and turned it into the beautiful track that it is today.  It won't take you long to understand where the course got it's name and in addition to the towering oaks, some of which are covered with that eerie draping gray moss, you'll find excellent conditions from tee to cup, water on 10 holes, large undulating greens, huge greenside bunkers, and generous fairways lined with oaks and beautiful homes sitting back under the trees. 

The Oaks Course is a very traditional 18 holes of golf - no trick shots, challenging but fair, and a relatively straight forward layout that is a real joy to play.  The fairways are generous but if you spray the ball you've got some trouble - the rough is thick and challenging and if you miss the rough you're under the trees or lost in a dense forest.   With four sets of tee boxes and yardages of 5318 to 7044, if you don't bite off more than you can chew you'll have a relaxing, fun, and low scoring round.  

What makes Oaks Course challenging are the huge fairway bunkers, thick rough, a couple dog legs, lakes and ponds, and the two to four large bunkers that protect each green - all of which can easily be avoided if you deploy some course management skills.  The greens are huge and relatively easy to hit and hold but they run fast, are undulating, and since they average 4500 square feet, if your approach shot isn't dead on, you may two or three putt. 

Some of the holes we really liked include:

  • all of the par 3's are great - long, scenic, and require an accurate tee shot for a par
  • #7, the par 5 535 yard #1 handicap hole, is a blast to play and requires course management and some precise shots - the fairway narrows as it approaches and turns right along a lake offering a good risk reward shot to carry the lake and try to stuff it on the green on your second or third shot
  • #13 is a 573 yard par 5 that looks easy until you realize you need to miss the fairway bunkers and have a very accurate approach shot to stay dry and out of the sand guarding the green
  • #16 is fun with a carry over the lake from the back tees, a creek that crosses the fairway, and green that has water along the front and right side plus two big bunkers
  • #18 will make you want to play the Oaks Course again - fun, scenic, and demanding with a huge lake from tee to green, trees, and bunkers to contend with

In addition to the fun holes, what makes playing Oaks Course enjoyable is that the course is very well maintained and manicured, the service is top notch, and the conditions are near perfect.  The fairways are lush and plush (I felt guilty taking a divot), the rough is thick but perfect, the bunkers are full of soft thick sand, and the greens couldn't be much better. . 

The greens are huge and a tad difficult to read thanks to undulation and subtle breaks.  Each time we've played the Oaks, the greens have been in perfect condition, fast at around 10 to 11, soft, smooth, and true.  But the breaks and size of the greens may result in some extra putts - the good news is you might get on easier. 

The bunkers range is size and shape and most are also huge.  The sand is soft and thick and the lips are manageable.

Bottom line, Oak Course is a very fun, relaxing, and enjoyable round of golf where you have the opportunity to score well. Plus the service is excellent and the Pro Shop offers clinics, instruction, and player development programs. The Woodlands Resort is a fantastic place to host a meeting (with a golf tournament) or stay for a fun golf weekend. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 7,044 73.3 131
Blue 6,628 71.4 128
White 6,127 69.2 123
Red 5,318 70.6 120

Course Information

Course Architect:
Joe Lee & Robert von Hagge
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
10.0
Greens Difficulty
8.0
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Beware of water on 10 holes and the 54 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.7 out of 10
Beauty:
8.7
Difficulty:
7.5
Variety:
8.0
Fun to Play:
9.5
Value:
8.5
Condition:
10.0
Front Nine Rating:
8.5
Back Nine Rating:
8.7
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FEES & AMENITIES

Initiation Fees: Under $10,000
Monthly Dues: $1 to $200

Service is outstanding, the Pro Shop is very well stocked, and the restaurant above the Pro Shop is excellent and offers a great view of the 1st and 18th hole.

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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.