Moody Gardens Golf Course Review
Moody Gardens Golf Course Review
view of Moody Gardens Golf Course
Moody Gardens took over the management of what was previously called Galveston Island Municipal Golf Course and the course was renamed Moody Gardens Golf Course, which is still owned by the City of Galveston. Shortly after Moody Gardens took over in 2008, Hurricane Ike hit in September and the course suffered significant damage - the entire golf course was under 5 feet of water plus littered with tons of debris including a 30' shrimp boat, swing set, a back porch, and lots of other interesting debris.
Moody Gardens put $16 million into redesigning the course which included adding some undulation and slope to the greens and fairways, changing the layout of a number of holes, adding and redoing bunkers, renovation of the clubhouse, plus a new irrigation system for the new sea spray paspalum grass on the greens and fairways. When we played in May 2012, the course was in excellent condition from tee box to cup, was perfectly maintained and manicured, and landscaped with a wide variety of colorful plants and shrubs.
Moody Gardens Golf Course plays around Sydnor Bayou and as such you'll find upland and lowland native areas, shorebird habitat, and water coming into play on 17 holes. The terrain is flat but the course takes advantage of the natural landscape of water, brush, and sand. The colorful landscaping, the bay views, and over 500 palm trees swaying in the gentle Gulf breeze make for a very scenic and peaceful round.
The layout has a links look and feel and with 5 sets of tee boxes and yardages from 6816 to 4549 yards, Moody Gardens is both challenging and playable for all skill levels. The front nine seems more traditional and straightforward with 3 par 3s and 3 par 5s. The back is more demanding and is home to some very fun and unique holes. It's not surprising that Moody Gardens has won several awards and accolades some of which include:
- "Top Ten Newly Remodeled Courses in the Nation with Green Fees Under $65" by Golf Digest
- #6 "Best Outlying Course" and #1 "Most Scenic Course" by the Houston Chronicle
Here's why we really love this course:
- the fairways were ample, lush, plush, rolling and contoured
- the greens were near perfect, ran at a good speed, and demanding but fair
- the bunkers are filled with soft thick sand that is a pleasure to hit out of
- some of the fairways are wide and forgiving where you can pull out the big dog and let-er-rip - just don't miss
- yardage markers are everywhere and easy to find
- there are some outstanding par 5s and some challenging par 3s with intimidating carries over water
- the cart lady was friendly and showed up just in time
- the rates are reasonable and a value for such a good quality course
- the layout is demanding but fair and requires some good course management and club selection
- it will test you game, strategy, and risk reward tolerance and demand some accurate shots to score well
- you'll need to manage forced carries, some risk reward opportunities, dog legs, tough approaches, hidden bunkers, natural areas, and lots of water
Moody Gardens Golf Course is home to some fun and unique holes, some of which include:
- #5 is a 570 yard slight dog leg left with a good risk reward shot to try and hug the left side and miss the bunker and natural area
- #8 has a very demanding approach shot to a green with water around the right and back plus a huge bunker
- after #9 you may need a drink or another sleeve of balls - a 162 yard carry over water to an oblong green with a huge bunker across the front and a smaller one in back of the green
- #12 is a short 346 yard par 4 where long hitters with lots of guts might try to go for the green but you'll need to carry the water, natural area, two bunkers, and palm trees to stuff it on the green
- #18 is outstanding and requires a precise drive to position your approach shot over the water to the green and avoid the fairway bunker, water, and natural area
When we played in May, the fairways were perfect - lush and plush from tee box to the green. Most are rolling and contoured which can mean some uneven lies. They are ample but if you spray the ball you're in a bunker, natural area, or wet.
The Moody Garden Golf Course bunkers were in very good condition with soft thick sand. They ranged from huge to small pot bunkers and most had some tough lips. Some are hidden and will surprise you.
The greens are all shapes and sizes and were in excellent condition when we played. All have some slope and a few have minor contour. They were running a little slow, around an 8, but very true. The fringe is wide and puttable.
This is the only public course on the island and it is well worth playing.
Head Pro's Corner
Course Slope & Ratings
Texas Outside Rating
- Overall Rating:
- 8.9 out of 10
- Fun to Play:
- Front Nine Rating:
- Back Nine Rating:
FEES & AMENITIES
Rates: $49.00 to $78.00
Service is very good and friendly. The pro shop is well stocked and the practice facilities are adequate. The restaurant serves a variety of food.
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.