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The Club At Runaway Bay Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Runaway Bay
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times
Date Last Played: October 24, 2010

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The Club At Runaway Bay Review

At the south end of beautiful Lake Bridgeport is a fun track that was named by Golf Digest one of the best golf courses to play in the country in 2008 - 2009.  The Club at Runaway Bay has 18 holes with a great layout that leverages the natural rolling terrain and offers several panoramic views of Lake Bridgeport.  

If you've got a fade and a draw that you can control, then you'll love this course - 15 of 18 holes are doglegs either left or right!  In addition to managing the doglegs, most of which require a good shot off the tee box to make the turn, you'll need some good club selection to handle the wind and elevation changes off the tee box as well as the shots to numerous uphill or downhill greens.  The doglegs also give you some risk reward opportunities to try and fly the trees to shorten the dogleg and give you a shorter 2nd shot.  For example,

  • the first hole will tempt you to try and fly the trees for a good opportunity at a birdie on this short 342 yard dogleg right par 4
  • #8 is a 495 yard par 5 with a dog right (another opportunity to try and fly the trees), then a challenging downhill shot to the green protected by a pond in front on each side of the green
  • #12 is a fun one that is a gentle uphill dog right to a two tier heart shaped green with a bunker and steep hill on the left side - pin placement can be a killer
  • #17 was our favorite - a 504 yard par 5 with a blind uphill shot off the tee box then down hill toward a green set off to the right and guarded by a pond and bunker - the second shot needs to be precise to have a clear shot to the green which may be blocked by the trees

The fairways are ample and the first cut is wide and playable - after that you'll be under some trees (easy to chip back to the fairway) or OB in some yard.  When we played in October, the fairways were dry and brown in spots and the rough was a little rough. 

The bent grass greens were in pretty rough condition with lots of damaged spots that were sanded.  In fact, three of the greens were under repair and temporary greens were set up.  The greens are about average size and lots of different shapes.  The back greens seemed to be tougher with more severe slope and undulation plus some tiers, spines, and ridges.  In November, we got an email saying the greens were back and there were no temporary greens.

The greens were very soft, allowing us to stop the ball on a dime - unusual for Texas greens!  They seemed very true and could have been cut a little thinner.  The bent grass greens were running about average speed (9 to 10) and seemed to be easy to read.  We talked to a guy who regularly plays The Club at Runaway Bay and he told us that the greens were normally in very good condition - he would rate the a 9 compared to a 6 on the day we played.

The bunkers were small to average size, with thick and somewhat gritty sand.  A number of them were steep faced and you need to do what you can to stay out of them.

The Club at Runaway is an excellent layout, with scenic vistas, some fun and challenging holes, an excellent pace of play, and a very good value.  This is a track where you can turn in a good score if you can manage the wind, elevation changes, and dog legs.  The course needs some TLC, water, and fertilizer to make it a must play. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,751 74.0 130
Blue 6,326 71.9 128
White 5,411 66.7 118
Red 5,130 65.6 117

Course Information

Greens Type:
Bent
Greens Condition
6.5
Greens Difficulty
7.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Hilly
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 29 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
7.3 out of 10
Beauty:
8.5
Difficulty:
7.5
Variety:
7.5
Fun to Play:
7.5
Value:
7.5
Condition:
6.5
Front Nine Rating:
7.3
Back Nine Rating:
7.3
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$27.00 to $45.00

Service is ok, the grill serves some good food, the pro shop has all the basics, and the range and putting green are good. Pace of play is normally excellent. No cart service was available on the Sunday that we played.

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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.