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