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River Ridge Golf Club - River Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.6

Golf - Public Course · 27 Holes · Par 72
Sealy
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times
Date Last Played: November 22, 2008

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River Ridge Golf Club - River Course Review

River Ridge is located on the Brazos River just west of Katy and offers 27 holes of fantastic golf. The courses have been sculptured into a generous 350 acre Brazos River valley with gently rolling and sloping terrain which is covered with more than 1500 old growth pecan trees and stately oaks, plus sycamore and ash. Each nine is built on more than 120 acres, which is substantially larger than most modern day nines and you'll notice the difference once you get on the second hole.

Each nine is unique and has it's own set of characteristics. The Parkland Course is heavily treed and the most challenging, the River Course is more open and has some really fun holes, and the Ridge Course provides an easier and more relaxing round.

Golf Digest has named River Ridge as one of the "Best Places To Play" for the last four years in a row! In addition, River Ridge go a "Four Star" Rating from the Houston Chronicle (January 1999); a Top 3 winner for "Best New Public Courses" and "Best Public Courses"; #2 "Favorite Public Courses"; "Top 12 Courses in Texas" and #1 "Best Public Course Value" in the Houston Chronicle 2000 Golf Survey. Additionally, River Ridge was the only daily fee course in Texas noted in Dan Jenkin's Golf Digest article, "Best Modern 18 Holes." River Ridge is also home to a number of qualifying rounds and major tournaments like the Ronald McDonald Dave Marr Cup, Texas Golf Mid AM qualifier, USGA Women's Public Links Qualifier, and the Houston Amateur Golf Association tournament.

Although each nine is different, here is what is common to all three:

  • the fairways are well groomed and in excellent condition
  • the greens seem larger than normal, pretty fast, and very challenging with plenty of slope
  • you'll find lots of soft sand in strategically placed bunkers, some of which are steep faced
  • each nine is designed to take maximum advantage of the ponds, creeks, rolling hills, trees, and natural landscape
  • the 6000 square foot pavilion is excellent for tournaments
  • with 4 sets of tee boxes, any of the nines is playable yet challenging for any skill level
  • each nine rewards well placed shots and penalizes poor club selection and course management

The River course is really a fun 9 - pretty, tough but fair, and some great holes. Number 2 for example is a par 4 dog left 398 yard beauty that requires a very precise tee shot to avoid Lake Victoria and a long trap on the left, bunkers on the right for long hitters, and trees/rough on the right for slicers. If your tee shot is perfect, the second shot needs to carry the water to an oblong green protected by bunkers in the front and trees in the back. This is the kind of hole you want to play again.

What also makes this nine fun and exciting is it's diversity of challenges including water, trees, lots of traps, narrow fairways, elevated well protected greens, and even a tree in the middle of the fairway protecting the green. The variety on this nine is excellent and although it has a number of different challenges, they are avoidable. Great nine holes! The slope and rating are based on playing the River and Parkland course.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 3,330 71.5 129
Blue 3,077 69.7 124
White 2,832 67.0 116
Red 2,543 70.8 121

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jay Riviere
Greens Type:
Tiff Dwarf
Greens Condition
9.5
Greens Difficulty
8.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Beware of water on 3 holes and the 33 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.6 out of 10
Beauty:
8.5
Difficulty:
8.0
Variety:
9.0
Fun to Play:
9.5
Value:
7.5
Condition:
10.0
Front Nine Rating:
9.0
Back Nine Rating:
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$35.00 to $79.00

Service is ok, the Pro Shop is well stocked, the practice range is good, and the food is ok.

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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.