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Starr Hollow Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Private Course · 9 Holes · Par 36/35
Tolar
Website · Locate This Course
Date Last Played: September 21, 2013

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Starr Hollow Golf Club Review

Review and Rating of Starr Hollow Golf Course

This review of Starr Hollow Golf Course with give you Texas Outside’s perspective and rating of Starr Hollow Golf Course.  Starr Hollow is located in some fairly remote but beautiful countryside an hour or so south west of Fort Worth on the 3000 acre Starr Hollow Ranch in Tolar, Texas. Some have described the course as fun, serene, and beautiful with fairly tight rolling tree lined fairways and lots of wildlife – a true oasis in the middle of a working country ranch!  In fact as you turn into the ranch and drive the three miles to the clubhouse, free range black angus, longhorn, and deer are grazing next to the road.  The ranch is located on the same grounds used as a hideout by the infamous outlaw Belle Starr, the so-called “Bandit Queen of the Wild West.”

Starr Hollow Golf Course was built by legendary businessmen Marvin Leonard who also built the prestigious Colonial Country Club and Shady Oaks Country Club.  Joe Finger designed this exclusive nine hole private course which has around 100 members and has been played by the likes of Deon Sanders, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, Don Henley of the Eagles, and Ben Hogan who claimed the course was “too quiet.” After a round of golf on Starr Hollow Golf Course you’re likely to agree, as we sure did. The course is well deserving of all of the accolades it has been awarded, some of which include:

  • For the last 18 years, the Dallas Morning News has named the course as the “Best 9 Hole Course in Texas”
  • Named in the "Top 25 Best 9 Holes Course in America by GolfWorld
  • Travel & Leisure called it a "Lone Star Secret"
  • Fort Worth Magazine labeled it "Augusta in Tolar"

It's hard to beat the scenery of gently rolling hills, sprawling trees, and a pretty lake and the great conditions, very friendly service, an excellent pace of play, lots of wildlife, peace and quiet, and an excellent layout. Speaking of wildlife, most of the holes are named after wildlife that you might see during your round, like Angus Acres, Duck's Downfall, Jack Rabbit Jump, Quail Crossing, and Deer Playground.  What a joy to play and Starr Hollow is home to several fun holes like: 

  • #4 is called "Bass Bait" because it dog legs right around Starr Hallow Lake and off the tee the fairway slopes toward the lake where the bass are waiting for your golf ball
  • #6 is a 360 yard par 4 and you can bring out the big dog and let-er-rip to a wide landing zone that slopes right to left - you'll need some good positioning for a downhill shot to the green with a sprawling tree blocking the right side
  • #9 is an excellent finishing hole - a 515 yard par 5 that plays along the lake on the left side of a very tight twisting fairway and requires accuracy all the way to par and the approach is a tight carry over the lake to the green  that's shaped like the state of Texas is two tiered, sloping, and guarded by two bunkers
  • #11 is a 383 yard par 4 with a great risk reward opportunity to shorten the hole is you can fly the trees and the hill and stay in the fairway

Part of what makes this an interesting course to play is that it has two different sets of tee boxes and each green has two different pins - play the first nine from one tee box and the white flags and the back from the other set of tee boxes and the red flag on the green.  The boxes are set apart from each other with gives you a very different shot off the tee box - for example, in a couple places one tee box will offer a tighter tee shot and from another tee box you'll get a  good risk reward shot to dogleg left fairway.

When in played in mid September, all of Texas was still suffering from a severe drought, but the overall conditions at Starr Hollow Golf Club were in very good condition from tee to pin and the course is very well maintained and manicured. 

The fairways are flat to rolling, all tree lined, and some have some gentle slope and contour.  No homes, no sirens, no barking dogs - just the wind whistling through the trees, the roosters crowing, the cows mooing, and my golf ball ricocheting off the trees or kurplunking into the sand or water.  The fairways were like velvet (with a few brown spots from lack of rain) and the roughs were a mixture of grass and dirt.

The Starr Hollow Golf Club greens were also in near perfect condition, but a little (around an 8) slow thanks to recent aeration.  Most of the greens are good sized and have some minor slope and tough breaks to read. 

The bunkers were perfect and a joy to hit out of - maybe that's why I ended up in so many of them.  The sand was soft, fluffy, and thick, and the lips were manageable. 

Head Pro's Corner


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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 5,955 75.6 120
Gold 5,661 73.7 122

Course Information

Course Architect:
Joe Finger
Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
9.3
Greens Difficulty
8.0
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Easy
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 21 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Beauty:
9.0
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
8.8
Fun to Play:
9.8
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.3
Front Nine Rating:
9.0
Back Nine Rating:
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Service is excellent and country friendly. The practice facilities are adequate and the pro shop has a limited supply of the basics. From what we hear, the grill cooks a fantastic hamburger.

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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.