Timber Creek Golf Club is home to 27 holes of very good golf that takes advantage of the 316 acres of tall stately East Texas pines and towering oaks and includes 13 bridges that cross a meandering creek that can present some challenges, rock outcroppings, and plenty of sculpturing that was created by moving one million cubic yards of dirt.
The course was designed by Jay Riviere and first opened for play in 2001 and is currently considered to be one of the top 10 courses in the Houston area. Part of Jay's genius in designing each of the nines is that from the tee box, you'll know where you want to hit it and where you don't - no guessing but you need to execute on each shot to score well.
Jay seemed to design each nine to fit a different skill level - from the novice to the shot makers. Each nine has it's own unique personality and characteristics:
Timber Trails is one of those nines where you really need to choose the right set of tee boxes and not bite off more than you can chew or you'll be buying rounds at the clubhouse. This is the longest nine, 3575 yards from the tips, and the hardest with lots of forced carries, dog legs, tighter fairways, and 27 challenging bunkers.
To test your nerve, Timber Trails starts off with the #1 handicap hole - a 482 yard slight dog leg right along a narrow tree lined fairway (spray the ball and you're history) with three huge bunkers and a small pond on the right. Par this beauty and you'll most likely have a good round.
This nine is loaded with some fun, interesting, and challenging holes that put a premium on accuracy. Seven of the holes have forced carries over the creek or a pond and #7 has two forced carries, 4 bunkers, and a small pond near the green. #2 is a fun 165 yard par 3 with a carry over the pond to a heart shaped back to front sloping green guarded by a couple large bunkers. #6, a 427 yard par 4 requires a precise drive to carry the creek and stuff it in a landing zone that is pinched by a bend in the creek encroaching into the fairway.
When we played Timber Creek Golf Club in May, the tree lined fairways were dry thanks to a drought in the Houston area but they were still in very good condition. They are gently contoured with some mounding, a playable first cut, and most are fairly tight. The dry conditions resulted in a lot of extra roll that could be both good news or very bad news if the extra roll took you into the bunker or creek that you didn't think you could reach.
The Timber Trails greens were in very good condition outside of a few spots that were recently patched due to some winter damage. They vary in size and shape from huge to about average and most are guarded by 2 to 5 bunkers. They held the ball well, rolled true, but were a tad slow - around a 7 to 7.5. Most had some very gently slope and little to no undulation. Putting was not a problem for us.
The problem was the forced carries and trying to avoid the bunkers. The bunkers are thin lipped but the sand is thin, gritty, and challenging.
The slope and rating are based on playing the Pines and Timber Creek together.
Rates: $47.00 to $62.00
The Timber Creek clubhouse is fantastic - good locker rooms, well stocked pro shop, a bar, and very good food (the Philly is excellent) in the grill. The practice facilities are great and the service is excellent.
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.