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Mahogany Run Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Website
Date Last Played: September 02, 2011

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Mahogany Run Golf Course Review

Tom Fazio did it again - he carved a masterpiece out of a gentle valley that rises and falls from 80 to 200 feet above sea level as it traverses up and down the valley and along a ridge overlooking the clear blue Atlantic Ocean and the mountains of St. Thomas.  Like most Fazio designs, Mahogany Run Golf Course is challenging but fair with a fun layout that puts a premium on accuracy over distance.  The course is not only challenging but it's aesthetically pleasing with colorful tropical foliage, hillsides dotted with beautiful homes and villas, the clear blue water of the Atlanta Ocean lapping up the sheer rocky cliffs, and several islands jutting out of the Ocean.

Mahogany Run Golf Course is a par 70 layout that is short at 6008 yards but is deceptively challenging thanks to elevation changes, strategically placed bunkers, small greens, narrow fairways, and prevailing Caribbean trade winds. To score well here, don't bite off more than you can chew, favor accuracy over distance (leave the driver in the bag on some holes), and focus on precise approach shots. 

The front nine at Mahogany Run Golf Course is regarded as the easier of the two nines, but it's no walk in the park.  You'll need to manage elevated tee shots, sharp dog legs, risk reward opportunities, up hill greens, narrow and tight fairways, challenging approach shots, and some small protected greens.  Each hole is unique and different and a blast to play, for example:

  • #1 is a 414 yard par 4 with an elevated tee shot that requires accuracy to stay in the fairway and position the ball for the dog leg right uphill shot across a creek to the green with a large bunker protecting it's front right side
  • #6 is the toughest hole on the front nine - the #2 handicap is only 376 yards but has a breathtaking elevated tee shot to a tight landing zone or an excellent risk reward opportunity to fly the trees and cut the dogleg right (miss short and you're history) - the prevailing winds will have a significant impact on the tee shot and approach
  • #7 is only 305 yards and it will temp you to try and go for the elevated green - but beware, if you miss right you're gone, if you're short you're in a long bunker, and if you're long it's a tricky approach back to the green

The back nine at Mahogany Run Golf Course has all of the above plus the infamous Devil's Triangle, which if you survive without loosing a ball, you'll get a "I survived the Devil's Triangle Certificate" from the pro shop. These three holes define Mahogany Run and you'll want to play them again as well as drive some extra balls off the towering cliffs into the Atlantic Ocean 200 feet below;:

  • #13 is a fantastic and challenging 327 yard dog leg left that demands an accurate shot off the tee box to stay in the narrow fairway (a steep hill on the right and deep ravine on the left play havoc) and a precise approach shot to the small downhill green protected by a hill, ravine, and a scenic backdrop of the rocks, waves, homes, and clear blue Atlantic Ocean
  • #14 is only 159 yards but it's perched on a cliff 200 feet above a rocky inlet of the Atlantic Ocean and offers an unlimited view of the sea and neighboring U.S. and British Virgin Islands - it's all carry over the cliffs to a small green framed by a steep hill on the right and a sheer drop off to the Atlantic Ocean on the left
  • #15 is the #1 handicap hole - a 564 yarder that requires accuracy all the way - a blind shot off the tee then a downhill second shot followed by a tricky shot across a pond to the green

When we played in early September, the Mahogany Run greens were in excellent condition had just been aerated so it was had to judge their true speed - we were told that they are normally fast, around an 11 or so.  The greens are a variety of shapes and most are very small and challenging to hit and hold.  They all have some minor slope but nothing too severe and they were in excellent condition, soft, and ran true. The greens are all protected by mounds, hills and mountainsides, which means you'll need to be comfortable playing the hills and the wind looking for a soft bounce to the green.

The fairways were also in very good condition and most have some slope so be prepared for lots of uneven lies and make sure you consider and manage the slope as will as the hillsides.  Some of the fairways are very tight and some are short, meaning you best pull something out of the bag that is accurate or you'll find par to be very difficult. 

The bunkers at Mahogany Run were also in near perfect condition with soft thick sand and thin lips.  Most of the bunkers are protecting the greens. 

Bottom line - Mahogany Run is unique and a blast to play and a must play if you are anywhere near St Thomas.  Add it to your bucket list along with a vacation in the Virgin Islands. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,008 70.5 133
White 5,609 68.8 130
Red 4,873 70.9 134

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Fazio
Greens Condition
9.5
Greens Difficulty
8.5
Fairway Condition
8.8
Bunker Condition
9.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
No
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 35 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Beauty:
9.5
Difficulty:
9.3
Variety:
9.0
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
8.5
Condition:
8.8
Front Nine Rating:
9.2
Back Nine Rating:
9.5
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$90.00 to $165.00

Service is very "island" friendly, the pro shop is well stocked, and the range and putting green are adequate. The rental clubs are new Taylor Mades. The bar and grill are well done and the food we sampled was excellent.

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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.