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White Bluff -- Old Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.9

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Whitney
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: September 01, 2014

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White Bluff -- Old Course Review

Review of White Bluff's Old 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 
  • 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 - read our review of White Bluff's New Course

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 Old Course opened in 1992 and the front nine is pretty open and straightforward - it's your warm up nine for the back and your opportunity to score well.   In most cases you can see the pin and what you're up against, so bring out the big dog and let-er-rip but don't miss or you'll be under the trees in the rough or lost in the forest.  By no means is this nine a walk in the park or boring - you'll need to manage bunkers, water, rolling fairways, dog legs, blind shots, and several uphill as well as downhill shots.  #8 is a good example - a 400 yard par 4 with an uphill dog leg left shot from an elevated tee followed by an uphill shot to a long skinny green with a huge bunker protecting the front and water on the right. 

White Bluff's Old Course back nine is fantastic and it will throw a little bit of everything at you to make for a fun and challenging round.  You'll encounter elevated tee boxes and greens, rolling fairways that range from wide open let 'er rip to fairly tight, creeks and ponds on 6 of nine holes, some huge strategically placed bunkers, forced carries, a couple risk reward opportunities, and a gallery of roaming deer who watch your swing carefully but never critique it or giggle when you dribble the ball just past them.   A coupole of our favorite holes on this nine include:

  • #12, a 389 yard par 4 and the #5 handicap is a good example of the what to expect on the back nine because it has some of everything that makes this nine fantastic - an elevated tee box, an intimidating carry over water off the tee with a tee shot that needs to land between two big fairway bunkers that pinch the landing zone, a one to two club uphill shot to a well guarded and big odd shaped green with both slope and a ridge (a popular hole for two and three putts) plus a stunning view of Lake Whitney - wow, what a fun hole!
  • #13 is a challenging 158 par 3 with a forced carry over a deep ravine to a slightly elevated green with 3 bunkers and no room for error - unless you are deadly accurate, bring out an old ball
  • #14 is a fun uphill tee shot and then a sharp dog left to a downhill oblong sloping 3 tier green with 3 large traps - front and back left and one in the middle right to keep balls from going into the a creek crossing  the fairway in front of the green

All of the Old Course greens are mini verde and they were in near perfect condition when we played in September.  They were smooth, about average speed, held the ball pretty well, and ran true.  Some of the breaks can be very subtle and surprising. 

The fairways on the front nine were also in near perfect condition as was the rough.  The back nine fairways were a little dryer.  Most of the fairways are wide open and ample off the tee box.  The rough is playable and wide - after that you're lost in the trees or natural areas.  The fairways are flat to gently rolling on the front and have much more contour and some dramatic elevation changes on the back.  And it's peaceful and quiet with nothing to distract you - no freeway noise, kids crying, dogs barking, or jets flying overhead - except for plenty of deer grazing, crossing the fairway, or carefully watching your swing.

The bunkers are very well maintained and average to large in size.  The sand is soft and thick and the lips are manageable.

Bottom line - an outstanding 18 and a fantastic back nine that we can't wait to play again.

The pace of play on the weekends is fantastic - most of the members play in the morning during the week and White Bluff is a pretty well kept secret.  White Bluff also has an outstanding Stay & Play package - read our White Bluff Stay & Play review to learn more about our stay and play at White Bluff. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,866 74.6 138
Blue 6,424 72.3 133
White 5,878 70.2 127
Red 5,132 66.6 116

Course Information

Course Architect:
Bruce Lietkze
Greens Type:
Mini Verde
Greens Condition
9.8
Greens Difficulty
8.0
Fairway Condition
9.5
Bunker Condition
9.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Little tough
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 10 holes and the 41 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.9 out of 10
Beauty:
8.8
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
8.5
Fun to Play:
9.5
Value:
8.0
Condition:
9.5
Front Nine Rating:
8.5
Back Nine Rating:
9.3
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$45.00 to $85.00

Service is very good and friendly, the pro shop has the basics, and the practice facilities are adaquate. Pace of play is normally excellent. The Old Course doesn't have a full grill, but does have some snacks and hot dogs.

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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.