Sammons Golf Links Review
Sammons Golf Links Review
Review of Sammons Golf Links
Originally built in the 1920’s, Sammons Golf Links has been redesigned and renovated a number of couple times, the most recent being in 2011. Prior to the last renovation, the course was in pretty rough condition and some of the greens were unplayable. New management and a some significant redesign and rerouting in 2011 have resulted in very good conditions and a commitment to continuous improvements. Some of the 2011 changes included: new Emerald Bermuda grass greens; rerouting some holes so both nines return to the clubhouse, a new very demanding par 5, and some of the best par 3's in this part of Central Texas.
What makes Sammons Golf Links well worth playing are very affordable rates, pretty good conditions, some fun holes, demanding par 3s, and two very different nines. At first glance, this short (4727 to 6562 yard) par 70 course appears to be a walk in the park but beware, it requires some shot making as well as course management skills to score well. But you best not bite off more than you can chew because you’ll encounter:
- some long par 3’s (195 to 237 yards), a couple of which are all carry across the water
- some risk reward opportunities that will temp you and bite you if you miss
- elevated tee shots as well as some long uphill climbs to the green
- water on 16 of 18 holes
- several very tight fairways as well as tough approaches to the green
- some holes that will temp you to pull out the big dog and try to drive the green
- bunkers, creeks, lakes, mounds, and trees to contend with
Sammons Golf Links front nine favors accuracy and strategy over distance thanks to some very tight fairways and challenging approach shots, creeks that cross the fairways, trees that pinch the fairway or block shots not perfectly placed, and bunkers that guard the greens. The front is fair but demanding and you may want to leave the big dog in the bag on several holes. Plus you’ll find some uphill climbs coupled with wind that will require you to club up. Every hole on the front is a little different from the previous hole.
The back nine at Sammons Golf Links is a little easier – the fairways are more open and forgiving, it doesn’t throw quite as much at you, and in some cases you can let-it-rip and possibly nail the green. You’ll still need to manage the water, some elevation changes, a risk reward opportunity, a 197 yard par thee that’s all carry to the green, and greens that are odd shaped and have more slope and undulation than the front.
When we played in February, the fairways and rough were dormant but in pretty good shape but very firm which meant lots of extra roll, which in some cases resulted in a wet or out of bounds ball! The fairways at Sammons Golf Links range from flat to gently rolling, from wide open to very tight, and from straight ahead to twists and turns to get to the green. There are a couple surprising elevation changes you'll need to managage. The rough was cut thin and very playable but there were several bare or dirt spots.
The greens at Sammons Golf Links are about average size and range from what appears to be relatively flat, but with subtle breaks, to some greens on the back that have a tier and some slope and undulation. When we played they were a tad bumpy and very slow – we were told that a recent fertilization was washed away and resulted in the greens not being in as good condition as they normally would be.
Of the 16 bunkers, all but two are guarding the greens. Most were smaller than average, with lips that ranged from not bad to fairly steep and deep. The sand varied from thin and firm to a little crunchy. Unlike the ponds and creeks, we didn’t seem to have any problem avoiding the bunkers.
Sammons Golf Links is well worth playing and it’s home to some very fun holes, a few of our favorites included:
- prepare to be tested on the very first hole and you will probably want to leave the big dog in the bag unless you were hitting them perfect on the practice range – it's a 454 yard par 4 with a carry over a creek that turns and runs up the right side of a very tight fairway, then cuts across the fairway about 100 yards in front of the green and runs back up the left side of the fairwya
- #2 is a downhill 195 yard shot over a creek to an elevated green with 2 bunkers and the creek on the right side
- #7 is the #1 handicap hole – 623 yards that requires an accurate tee shot to position you for the second shot and to avoid running downhill into the creek, then a long uphill shot to the green with significant trouble on the left, OB on the right, and two green side bunkers
- the approach on #11 can make or break your game – a creek in front of the green goes left into Lake Polk which surrounds most of the rest of the green which plays like an island green
- #12 will temp you to try and hug the right side of a dog leg right fairway that runs along Lake Polk and if you're gutsy you may want to try to fly the lake to make the hole a little shorter - a conservative shot to the left may outrun the fairway and leave you with an approach shot that is blocked by a huge sprawling tree
- some of the other holes on the back offer a long uphill climb to the green, an elevated tee shot over a pond and to a dog left fairway, and an elevated let-er-rip shot to a wide open fairway plus a good risk reward opportunity to try and fly some tall trees on a dog leg right fairway
Bottom line, we were pleasantly surprised at the variety, affordable rates, and fun but demanding holes – well worth playing.
Course Slope & Ratings
- Course Architect:
- John Sammons
- Greens Type:
- Emerald Bermuda
- Greens Condition
- Greens Difficulty
- Fairway Condition
- Bunker Condition
- Little Hilly
- Beware of water on 16 holes and the 16 sand traps.
Texas Outside Rating
- Overall Rating:
- 8.5 out of 10
- Fun to Play:
- Front Nine Rating:
- Back Nine Rating:
FEES & AMENITIES
Rates: $18.00 to $33.00
Service is good, the pro shop is well stocked, the grill has everything from breakfast burritos to Philly cheese steak sandwiches to salads, and the range and putting green are adequate.
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.