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Wildcat Golf Club - Lakes Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Houston
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Date Last Played: May 29, 2012

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Wildcat Golf Club - Lakes Course Review

Review of Wildcat Golf Club's Lakes Course

Home to two outstanding 18 hole layouts, Wildcat Golf Club is the preferred golf club of Houston's professional sports teams and now it's also one of Texas Outside's Preferred Courses!  Built on a landfill, the Lakes and Highlands courses both feature elevation changes of up to 100', spectacular panoramic views of Houston's downtown skyline, the Galleria, and the Reliant Stadium complex.

Common to each of the courses are good conditions, a links layout with topography similar to the Texas Hill Country, friendly service, Matt Swanson's Golf School, and first class facilities.   Each 18 hole layout has it own unique personality and characteristics: 

  • The Lakes Course has water on 7 holes, lots of undulation, scenic vistas, excellent greens, and dramatic elevation changes
  • The Highlands Course is the hardest of the two courses thanks to well-placed bunkers, deep ravines, blind shots, and native grass that will devour your golf balls

We loved playing the Lakes Course and hated to see our round end and can't wait to get back and play this fantastic course again.  Some of what makes the Lakes Course a blast to play includes:

  • every hole is unique and different from the previous hole
  • strategy and shot making come into play on most every hole if you want to score well
  • greens that are in excellent condition and include slope, tiers, and undulation
  • the course will throw a little bit of everything at you - blind shots, forced carries, hidden greens and bunkers, split fairways, deep native grass, lots of water, contoured and rolling fairways, risk reward opportunities, and lots more that makes playing The Lakes Course fun and challenging
  • huge elevation changes that require you to club up or down and offer stunning views of Houston

What makes playing the Lakes both fun and demanding it that every hole is very different and unique and has something to test your shot making, club selection, and course management skills.  But don't let the challenges scare you, the course is very fair and has five sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 4906 to 7016 yards - don't bite off more than you can chew.  The first time you play the Lakes, make sure you get a yardage card because the hole tips are invaluable.  The second time you play the Lakes, it should be much easier to turn in a lower score.  

After the first five holes, you may say "why is this called the Lakes" and you'll quickly find out when water comes into play on the next 8 holes.   Each of the holes is fun and some are outstanding, for example:

  • three holes have a split fairway and force you to make a decision at tee on which way to go - the right choice offers a much easier and safer approach to the green
  • #2 is a fun 573 yard par 5 with a blind shot off the tee from the back three tee boxes to a downhill dog right heavily contoured fairway followed by a second shot to a split horseshoe fairway and then an approach shot over a ravine to an uphill oblong green with a pot bunker in front and huge bunker in back
  • #5, a 443 par 4, requires a carry over a natural area with an oil derrick in its center to a fairway that snakes its way through 3 huge bunkers (one of which is split by the cart path) to the green
  • #12 is the ultimate risk reward hole with an intimidating carry over the lake to a landing zone following by a shot over water that cuts into most of the fairway and a demanding approach shot to a small circular island green with a huge bunker on the right side - and a lake runs from tee to green on both sides of the fairway
  • #18 will make you want to play this course again - a fantastic finishing hole with an uphill blind shot followed by a dramatic downhill shot to a very narrow oblong green guarded by 5 pot bunkers

The fairways are heavily contoured, sloping, and rolling with lots of ups and downs - you'll need to manage the extra roll, the uneven lies, and the slope.  Dramatic elevation changes, both up and down, require you club up or down and in several cases you'll face a blind shot and lots of intimidating forced carries from the back three tee boxes.  Most of the fairways are ample with a wide playable rough but miss both and you're wet or lost in the native areas.  The fairways were in ok condition but had some rough and bare spots.  

The greens on Wildcat's Lakes Course are all shapes and sizes from oblong and narrow to small to about average size.  They have plenty of slope, tiers, and swells, plus a lot are elevated making bump and runs tough.  Most are also well guarded.  They were in near perfect condition, rolled true and at a great speed (around 10),  and held the ball well.  

The bunkers were also in near perfect condition with soft fluffy thick sand.  They range in size from small deep pot bunkers to some huge multi-fingered monsters!  The lips very in size and some are pretty steep.

Bottom line, Wildcat's Lakes Course is one of the most fun and unique we have played in Texas - a must play!  Can't wait to play it again. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,016 73.2 135
Gold 6,535 71.2 131
Blue 6,045 68.9 114
White 5,482 66.3 103
Red 4,906 68.7 111

Course Information

Course Architect:
Roy Case
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
9.0
Greens Difficulty
9.0
Fairway Condition
8.0
Bunker Condition
9.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Very hilly
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 36 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Beauty:
8.8
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
10.0
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
8.8
Front Nine Rating:
9.5
Back Nine Rating:
9.4
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$57.00 to $75.00

The facilities are first class with valet service, upscale locker rooms, a well stocked pro shop, and a great restaurant and bar - the Bourbon Chicken Poor Boy sandwich was excellent. The practice facilities are adequate and service is very good - friendly and helpful.

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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.