Twin Lakes Golf Course is one of those hidden gems that after you play it the first time you’re likely to say “where have you been all my golfing life?” Twin Lakes plays through some beautiful east Texas country side and is centered around a large lake that comes into play on several holes – the course is also very peaceful and quiet with no barking dogs, airplane or truck traffic, or emergency vehicle sirens and I’m sure that the birds and squirrels chirping or an occasional moo won’t cause you to spray the ball or lose focus. The fairways are gently rolling to flat and tree lined and several holes play around the largest of the twin lakes. The course is beautifully landscaped and when the azaleas, roses, and crepe myrtles bloom you won’t find a more colorful course in Texas. In addition to all of that, the conditions are near perfect, the layout is fun and fair, service is country friendly, and the rates are reasonable. Can’t get much better than all that!
The first hole sets that stage for the front nine and when you tee it up on the elevated tee boxes on either of the two back tee boxes you’ll be looking at an intimating carry over the lake to a wide but gently sloping uphill fairway – par this one and you’ll have a good front nine. This nine is home to huge greens, straight away let-er-rip fairways, some uphill and downhill shots, a few tight tree lined fairways, and some fun holes. Besides #1, we really liked:
We enjoyed the back a little more than the front and thought it was more challenging and interesting with four fun holes with forced carries over the lake, smaller more challenging greens, and it’s a hundred to three hundred yards longer than the front, plus it’s home to fantastic finishing hole that will make you want to play Twin Lakes again. Some examples of the back nine include:
When we played in late June, we were shocked by the condition of the greens and fairways – both were near perfect. Every other course we had played earlier in the year was suffering from drought conditions and a severe winter with multiple freezes and even snow. The fairways were some of the best we’ve played in a long time and we felt guilty taking a divot. Most of the fairways at Twin Lakes Golf Course were ample with a good sized first cut that was a little thick but playable – miss both and you’re wet, in a dense tree farm, or under the trees, some of which you’ll be able to find your ball and get it back to the fairway.
The greens were also perfect and showed no signs of damage that seemed typical of most of the other courses we played this year. The majority of the greens on the front are oval and huge while the back nine greens seem smaller and more challenging. All the greens have some slope ranging from gentle to moderate. On the back, study the GPS because the greens are odd shaped and some have more severe slope and one has 3 tiers. The greens at Twin Lakes Golf Course held well, ran true, and had subtle breaks that we found challenging. Our only complaint was we thought they were a tad too slow – around an 8 or so.
The bunkers range from large to larger and all are strategically placed. When we played they were in very good condition with firm sand and we seemed to be following the sprinklers so most were wet and challenging. The lips were only a few inches high but seemed to always catch the ball preventing a roll in and roll out. We went home with plenty of sand in the shoes and hair!
Bottom line – depending upon where you live, you may have to drive a ways to get to Twin Lakes, but it’s worth it. Excellent conditions, fair but demanding, scenic, friendly service, fun, and an excellent value. Check out their stay and play with Mill Creek RV Resort in Canton. Make it a fun weekend - camp or stay in one of the cozy cabins at Mill Creek, enjoy their resort style amenities, explore Canton, and play Twin Lakes a couple times. Make sure you step outside the bar and try the aquatic driving range – place a few bets and hit a few balls at the floating buoys and targets - beware, it's addictive!
Rates: $30.00 to $60.00
The Clubhouse has a bar, restaurant with excellent juicy burgers, sandwiches, and more, and a pro shop with the basics plus a patio overlooking a lake and tree farm. An outdoor pavilion has men's and women's locker rooms with showers. The driving range is adequate and there is a small putting green. Outside the restaurant is an aquatic driving range with targets floating in the lake - you try to hit them with floating golf balls - it's a blast so don't leave without trying it. Service is country friendly.
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.