Vaaler Creek Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.9

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Blanco
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times · Stay & Play
Date Last Played: September 07, 2015

Img_3154 Img_3190 Img_3187

Vaaler Creek Golf Club Review

Review and Rating of Vaaler Creek Golf Club in Blanco

Vaaler Creek Golf Club, located just south of Blanco, opened for play in July 2009 and Michael Lowry designed the course to take advantage of the natural terrain which includes creeks, ponds, rolling hills, trees, native grasses, and fauna – all of which makes Vaaler Creek both visually stunning, challenging, and a blast to play.  This is a course where during your round you're likely to say "where have you been all my golfing life - I love you!"

This memorable layout will challenge the accomplished players with pinched landing areas, strategically placed bunkers, tough greens, forced carries, elevated tee boxes, blind shots, and challenging approach shots.  Average golfers can pick a set of tee boxes that fits their handicap and have a fun yet demanding round.  The front tees at Vaaler Creek are very friendly for the ladies or very high handicappers.  You'll want to play this course again because the second round on Vaaler Creek will probably save you quite a few stokes thanks to some hard learned lessons on where not to hit the ball during the first round.

Vaaler Creek Golf Club is a part of the Rocking J Ranch housing development and the course plays up and down the gently rolling hills with tree lined fairways.  There are a scattering of homes overlooking the fairways but it's really just you and nature – very quiet and serene with the birds chirping, wind whistling through the trees, the occasional loud “moo” heard from the local cow, and the sound of your golf ball ricocheting off the trees and rocks or kerplunking into the water. 

The Vaaler Creek fairways were in very good condition when we played in September and most are ample with a very playable first cut – but miss the cut and you’re in the trees, creeks, ponds,  or natural areas and will most likely need to reload.  On the way to the green you’ll encounter strategically placed bunkers, blind shots, elevated tee boxes, rolling contoured fairways, forced carries, a couple risk reward shots, dog legs, blind shots, and more to keep you on your game.   With a slope and rating of 140 and 73, Vaaler Creek Golf Club is no walk in the park and it will give you a run for your money.  From the tips it's a little short at 6864 but seems to play much longer.

The front nine is a little harder, seems a little prettier, and has some very challenging greens.  While the back has three fantastic holes.  Both sides at Vaaler Creek have some really fun, unique, and memorable holes.  For example: 

  • #2 is a 350 yard par 4 with a sharp dog leg right that requires a near perfect approach shot to carry the pond (when there is water in it) to an oblong green with no room for error
  • #6 is a 415 yard par 4 that requires a great drive to make the 90 degree right turn - short drives can try a fun blind risk reward shot by trying to fly a tall tree covered hill to stuff it on the green
  • a split fairway on #10 forces you to make a decision at the tee box – do you go for the elevated and slightly open fairway on the left or try to carry the water and nail a tight landing zone on the right to save a few yards on the way over a creek and uphill to a well guarded raised green – either way a very accurate drive is required or you’re in trouble
  • #18 is very intimidating – from the box you can’t see the lake but you have a good look at a big downhill fairway with a tree splitting the landing zone and a severe slope to the lake on the left side of the fairway, if you survive the drive, then you have a decision – can you carry the lake or do you try to lay up to make the carry a little shorter (a least a 100 yards) to what seems like an island green. 

The greens help define Vaaler Creek and give the course a lot of personality and character.  The front nine greens are very demanding - most are elevated and you need to plan for that on your approach shot as well as try to manage the slope, tiers, and undulation.  A number of the greens on the front nine have some severe slope and undulation – several times we watched our ball hit and roll back down and away from the pin.  The back greens are a little flatter and easier but you still need to manage the elevation and slope.  When we played the greens were near perfect - soft, smooth, true, and rolling a tad slow at around 8 to 9 - normally they are around 9 to 10.  The Vaaler Creek greens range from average size to huge and they are a variety of shapes.  

The majority of the bunkers are strategically placed or guarding the greens.  They vary in size, are fairly steep and deep, and have soft thick sand.  When played they could use some TLC around the edges to get rid of the grass.  The good news is that there aren't a lot of bunkers and they seem easy to avoid.

Vaaler Creek has an excellent stay and play package.  We stayed in a very well appointed 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo over looking the 10thtee box at a very reasonable price.  Here is a link to our review of the Vaaler Creek Stay & Play.

Bottom line, here are some reasons why we love this course and you should go out of your way to play it:

  • excellent conditions and a very good value
  • lots of variety and some outstanding and memorable holes that you'll want to play again
  • great greens and bunkers that are fun to hit out of
  • demanding but fair with a good mix of some risk reward opportunities
  • an excellent stay and play

The only negative is that thanks to record heat and the severe drought, some of the ponds and creeks were dry. 

Head Pro's Corner


Img_3179 Img_3166 Img_3185

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,864 73.0 140
Blue 6,299 70.6 129
White 5,692 68.6 121
Red 4,577 64.1 111

Course Information

Course Architect:
Michael Lowry and JR Newman
Greens Type:
MiniVerde
Greens Condition
9.3
Greens Difficulty
8.3
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
8.0
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
No
Course Map
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 15 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.9 out of 10
Beauty:
8.7
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
8.5
Fun to Play:
9.8
Value:
8.5
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
9.3
Back Nine Rating:
8.7
Img_3174

FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$55.00 to $65.00

The pro shop is small but has the basics, the practice facilities are good, and the new grill, next to the pool, has some good food. The deck overlooking the pond is fantastic and a must for a cold beer after your round.

Img_3188

 

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. 

 

About Texas Outside

Texas Outside has been alive & well since 1996 - that's ancient by today's internet standards! Texas Outside was originally developed by Lone Star Internet which is an Austin based web development company with an excellent reputation & client base. In March of 2006, we purchased Texas Outside & made a commitment to add new, exciting, & informative content on Texas outdoor activities & fun things to see & do.

Read More >>>

Contact Us

Please feel free to send us your suggestions.

Suggestions or Comments: