Raven Nest Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.5

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Huntsville
Website · Locate This Course
Date Last Played: October 18, 2009

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Raven Nest Golf Club Review

Review of Raven Nest Golf Course

Just north of Huntsville, Raven Nest is a Pete Dye design that open in 2003 and shortly opened was rated as a "Best Place to Play" by Golf Digest. Owned and operated by nearby Sam Houston University, the course is home to the Professional Golf Management program, the only one in Texas, and the Sam Houston Bearkats. Pete Dye did an excellent job of blending this fantastic layout into the rolling hills, wooded areas, and marsh lands, making Raven Nest both fun and challenging to play.

Raven Nest a links feel to it with wide and open fairway boarderedded in most cases with marsh and natural areas. With yardages ranging from 5416 to 6943 and a slope of 121 to 131, Raven Nest is no pushover. If you can keep it in the fairway, manage your shot making, and putt, you'll score very well - but doing all of that of 18 holes isn't that easy. In most cases, you can pull out the driver and let 'er rip, but miss the playable rough and land in the natural area you'll need to add a stroke because you'll never find your ball, much less be able to play it!

The fairways are forgiving and in excellent shape, but you'll encounter some berms, bunkers, mounds, and severe slope and contouring that need to be managed. The bunkers range in size and all of them had soft and thick sand. The greens are a wide variety of shapes and sizes and when we played in October, they were:

  • in near perfect condition
  • fairly fast
  • hard to read with subtle breaks due to slope and some undulation
  • soft and held well

We found the greens to be one of the major factors making Raven Nest challenging - most are well protected, some are turtle top or uphill, and all of them had some slope or subtle break. Not sure if we are unique, but we struggled with the greens finding it hard to read some of the break and difficult to manage the speed - meaning 3 putts were not uncommon for us.

 

There are some really fun and challenging holes, for example: #5 is one of the prettiest holes with a narrow sculptured fairways sloping toward the center and this 461 yard beaut requires two carries over natural areas to reach a well protected green; #10 is a fun 422 yard par 4 with a left to right sloping fairway and an uphill shot to a tough little green; and #16 is a deceivingly hard 335 yard par 4 that offers a good risk reward shot to shorten the hole, but watch out for the bunkers, natural areas, rough, and small well protected uphill green. Fun course and a fantastic value.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,943 72.6 130
Blue 6,574 70.3 124
White 6,001 67.6 112
Red 5,416 69.8 121

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tripp Davis
Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
9.0
Greens Difficulty
8.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Hard walk
Course Map
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 48 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.5 out of 10
Beauty:
7.5
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
8.0
Fun to Play:
8.5
Value:
10.0
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
8.2
Back Nine Rating:
8.0
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$37.00 to $37.00

Service is very friendly, the pro shop has all the basics, the grill is good, and the range and putting green are adequate.

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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. 

 

About Texas Outside

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