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White Bluff -- New Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Whitney
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: September 02, 2012

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White Bluff -- New Course Review

Review of White Bluff's New Golf Course

White Bluff is one of our favorite Texas Resorts because it's on beautiful Lake Whitney, has a variety of accommodations, excellent amenities, and two very good golf courses - the Old Course and the New Course.  White Bluff Resort is a part of  Double Diamond Resorts which also owns The Cliffs at Possum Kingdom, The Retreat in Cleburne, and  Rock Creek Resort on Lake Texoma. The Cliffs is one of our favorite courses in Texas and a must play and The Retreat and Rock Creek are excellent private courses.

Both of the White Bluff courses were designed by Bruce Lietkze and each has it's own unique personality and characteristics.  For example,

  • the Old Course has more scenic vistas, a traditional front nine, an outstanding back nine, several elevation changes, and a back nine that is regarded as the hardest of the nines at White Bluff - read our review of the Old Course
  • the New Course is more traditional and is regarded is the harder of the two courses thanks to water on 16 holes, some tight approaches, and an extra 200 yards

Both courses are demanding but fair and common to each course are excellent conditions, some very fun and memorable holes, and good service.  Both courses have a 4 star rating from Golf Digest and are consistently rated as some of the best resort courses in Texas by several sources, including Texas Outside's Best Texas Resort Courses

The New Course opened for play in 1998 and Lietkze designed this 18 to be fair but challenging.  As such White Bluff's New Course will test your shot making and course management skills during your round.  You'll find plenty of water to contend with, forced carries, elevation changes, some huge bunkers, tight approaches, complex greens, and some risk reward opportunities.  But don't let that scare you from playing this 18 - it's really fun, fair and playable, and very manageable. 

Talk to the pro about the course to get some ideas on how to manage the course if you want to score well.  His biggest tip to us was to target to get to the 150 and not beyond because most of the potential trouble is from 150 yards and in - water, bunkers, berms, trees, elevated greens, and more.  It worked and we turned n a pretty good score.

The front nine of the New Course is fairly traditional and straightforward  and the first three holes on the front start you out with water and trees and somewhat narrow fairways. The next five holes are more open and have a links feel.  An example of a couple fun holes that we loved on this nine include:

  • #2 is a 374 yard dog leg right that requires a precise drive off the tee box to avoid the water on the left, trees on the right, and berms and trees if your drive is too long
  • #4 is a fun 387 yard sharp dog leg left to a green with a pond across the font and two bunkers protecting it - a good risk reward opportunity to try to fly the trees on the left side and avoid the bunkers and water for a short chip to the green
  • #8 is is a 424 yard par four that looks easy from the tee box but the green complex is very challenging - the green is elevated, has plenty of slope and undulation, and  there are three big bunkers guarding it - pin placement can be a killer

The back nine on the New Course was our favorite it has a number of very fun, challenging, and memorable holes.  #10 will set the stage for this nine - a dog leg right 411 yard par 4 that horseshoes around a lake, has tall berms along the left side, and requires a precise shot to a two tier green - accuracy from tee to green is required, there is little room for error.  Some of the other holes we really enjoyed included:

  • #12, the signature hole is a real beauty - if you're long and straight on your drive you'll find the pond in front of a 75' tall white bluff where the fairway dog legs right and leads to an elevated green with the pond and creek guarding the approach shot
  • #13 is fun - an elevated tee shot that must carry a pond and then an uphill dog leg left shot to a guarded green 
  • before you tee off on number 16 you should drive up and take a look at what you're up against and determine how to play this 515 yard par 5 with a blind uphill shot, then a long downhiller over a multiple terraced fairway and a carry over two creeks on the way to an elevated small green - you'll want to play this one over again

When we played White Bluff's New Course in early September it had just reopened after redoing the greens and it was in perfect condition.  The fairways were lush and plush, the rough was thick and challenging, and the entire course was well maintained and manicured - what a joy to play.  The fairways range from wide open to tight off the tee box and a majority are lined with berms on one or both sides and lots of trees. The first cut was fairly wide and a tad thick but playable - but miss it and you're wet or lost in the trees.  Approach shots demand forethought and accuracy thanks to strategically placed bunkers, elevated greens of a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

The greens on the New Course had just been replaced with mini-verde and they were still maturing but they were in near perfect condition.  Since they were new, they were a tad hard but ran true, and at a very good speed. The greens range from average to huge and most had some slope with subtle breaks but not a lot of undulation. 

The bunkers ranged in size from big to bigger and some are real multi-fingered monsters.  The sand was soft and thick and fluffy and the lips are manageable at 1 to 2 feet - of course there were a few exceptions which were steep and deep and treacherous.  All of the White Bluff New Course bunkers were well maintained. 

The New Course makes for a memorable round - quiet and peaceful, a great pace of play, fun holes, excellent conditions, and demanding but fair.  

White Bluff has some fantastic stay and play options and it's well worth a weekend trip.  Read our review of our Stay and Play at White Bluff.  Make sure you play both courses.
 

Head Pro's Corner


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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 7,014 75.5 144
Blue 6,600 73.4 139
White 6,216 72.1 130
Red 5,307 68.0 116

Course Information

Course Architect:
Bruce Lietkze
Greens Type:
MIni Verde
Greens Condition
9.5
Greens Difficulty
7.5
Fairway Condition
9.5
Bunker Condition
9.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 16 holes and the 32 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.8 out of 10
Beauty:
8.5
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
8.5
Fun to Play:
9.5
Value:
8.5
Condition:
9.5
Front Nine Rating:
8.6
Back Nine Rating:
9.3
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$45.00 to $85.00

Service is very good and very friendly, the pro shop is well stocked (in fact they won Merchandiser of the Year), the grill has some very good food, and the practice facilities are good. Everything is very well maintained and manicured.

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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.