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The Falls Resort and Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.7

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
New Ulm
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times
Date Last Played: November 30, 2011

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The Falls Resort and Club Review

Named after the series of cascading waterfalls created by eight crystal clear deep blue lakes, The Falls Resort & Golf Club in New Ulm, is a spectacular layout and one that should be added to your Texas Golf Bucket List.  Located 90 miles west of Houston in what Houstonites would describe as the “gateway to the Hill Country,” The Falls was designed by Jay Riviere and Dave Marr and opened in 1985 and is currently managed by Troon who has a reputation for excellence and a portfolio of some fantastic courses throughout the United States.  Over the years, The Falls Resort and & Golf Club has won a number of awards and accolades ranging from Top 20 Courses in Texas to 7th Hardest Course in Texas to 4 Star Best Places to Play. 

The Falls golf course plays through some beautiful rolling countryside and as such plays much longer than the five sets of tee boxes claim as yardages ranging from 4654 to 6765 thanks to lots of uphill tee as well as approach shots to the green.  In addition to lots of ups and down, The Falls will throw lots of everything at you that makes golf fun, frustrating, and expensive thanks to lots of lost balls.  You’ll need your “A” game with excellent course management and club selection skills to score well here – with a slope of 73.1 and rating of 140 from the tips, The Falls will test your course management and club selection skills. There are elevation changes requiring you to club up or club down, blind shots, very tight tree lined fairways, water on 12 holes, 56 strategically placed bunkers, sharp dogs, forced carries, risk reward opportunities, swales and grass bunkers, and challenging green complexes. 

This is a course where you will most likely want to leave the big dog in the bag because The Falls puts a premium on accuracy rather than distance.  But don’t let all that discourage you from playing this course, you just need to move up a set of tee boxes, play smart, and enjoy the peace and quiet (except for the birds, deer, squirrels, and balls ricocheting off the trees and kurplunking into the water) and beautiful scenery with a variety of majestic trees draped with eerie gray Spanish Moss.  The Falls is a course you will want to play again, and again, and again and each time the knowledge you gain will help improve your score. 

The front nine on The Falls is unquestionably one of the best nines we have played in Texas – well manicured with perfect greens, fairways, and bunkers; very challenging but fair if you play smart; very scenic with trees, manicured fairways and greens, ponds and streams with cascading waterfalls; unique holes every one of which is different from the previous hole; and some very fun and unique holes plus several “Wow” holes.

Speaking of “Wow” holes, some of our favorites include: 

  • The first hole gives you a good idea of what this nine is all about – an elevated tee shot with little room for error thanks to trees and three strategically placed bunker needs to be precise to make the turn and head back uphill along a narrow fairway with one long monster bunker plus two others leading to a sloping green guarded by two more bunkers
  • #2 is fun – a 373 yard downhill dog leg right with a good risk reward shot to try and carry the trees off the tee and then a precise shot across a pond to the green with two facing bunkers
  • #3 could be the most difficult par 3 in Texas – a 209 yard shot that’s all carry over the lake which also pinches the skinny fairway leading to a green with three bunkers – you’ll want to play this one again
  • #6 is a 407 yard par 4 that requires a precise drive to position you for what may be the toughest approach to the green – a carry over the lake to an elevated green with significant slope off the right to some treacherous mounds, swales, and steep and deep grass bunkers; trees guarding the backside; plus three nasty bunkers along the front
  • #7 is even better and tough to describe but some of what you’ll encounter is a lake that can come into play at the end of the fairway, a forced carry of at least 150 yards to a raised and guarded green, a tree in the middle of a skinny fairway blocking the safer approach to the green, plus more trees protecting the front of the green if you didn’t want to risk flying the lake

The back nine at The Falls is spectacular, but a letdown after the front nine.  This nine is more straightforward and much easier.  The fairways, some of which have a scattering of beautiful homes set back under the trees, are a little more forgiving, and there are 3 par 3s, 3 par 5s, and 3 par 4s.  You’ll still need to manage some long uphill shots, water on 5 holes, 26 bunkers, blind shots, and carries over creeks and ponds.    And there are some great holes like #17 a 480 par 5, which the yardage book claims that “this is where a good round goes bad” – which happened to me – because it’s up hill on a sloping left to right fairway, followed by a shorter than it looks layup down to a creek, and finally an uphill shot to a green with two bunkers in front and a lost ball for anything right of the green. 

Despite the harsh winter, severe drought, and record heat, The Falls was in near perfect condition.  The fairways were perfect – soft and lush.  The rough was well maintained and playable – it was dense grass and tended to hold the ball on top.  Miss the narrow tree lined fairways and the rough and you're buried under the dense trees or long gone where only birds and squirrels dare go. 

The greens at The Falls golf course were also near perfect – smooth, true, great speed, and held the ball pretty well.  They were about average to large, all shapes and sizes, with a puttable fringe.  They all have some slope and a few have a tier and some undulation.  Breaks are very subtle and hard to read.  Putting for us was a challenge.  And you needed to be accurate on the approach – the greens are raised and well guarded by water, bunkers, trees, swales, steep slope, or mounds.

The bunkers were also in perfect condition with soft, thick fluffy sand.  They ranged in size from small to some real monsters.  In most cases the lips were tall but manageable. 

What a fantastic track that you need to go out of your way to play.  Since it is a little out of the way, why not make it a weekend and book a room in the Inn or Villas.  We really enjoyed our stay in a well done upscale and well appointed two bedroom, two bath Villa with a deck overlooking the 10thhole.  Plus The Falls has tennis courts, a great pool area, a splash park, restaurant, bar, and more.  Read our review of The Falls stay and play package to learn more. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,765 73.1 140
Gold 6,163 70.9 134
Blue 5,696 68.5 126
White 5,348 71.9 131
Red 4,651 68.2 119

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jay Riviere and Dave Marr
Greens Type:
TIF Dwarf
Greens Condition
10.0
Greens Difficulty
9.3
Fairway Condition
9.8
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Long
Course Map
Beware of water on 12 holes and the 56 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.7 out of 10
Beauty:
9.8
Difficulty:
9.5
Variety:
10.0
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
10.0
Front Nine Rating:
10.0
Back Nine Rating:
9.3
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$50.00 to $75.00

Service is very good, the pro shop is well stocked, the snack bar has a delicious huge burger, and the practice range is adequate. The Stay & Play accommodations are excellent.

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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.