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Wildcat Golf Club - Highlands Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Houston
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: October 25, 2012

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Wildcat Golf Club - Highlands Course Review

Review and Rating of Wildcat Golf Club Highlands Course

Just south of downtown Houston are two fantastic 18 hole courses at Wildcat Golf Club, The Lakes and The Highlands.   Each of the courses has it's own unique personality and characteristics but common to both is that they were designed by Scottish architect Roy Case, are home to the highest elevations in Houston some of which are up to 100 feet, are typically in excellent condition, and both are a blast to play.

The Lakes Course has acres of seemingly countless lakes, dramatic elevation changes that can't be rivaled by any other course in Houston, water on 8 holes, stunning views, and some fantastic and unique holes.  Read our review of The Lakes Course at Wildcat Golf Club. 

The Highlands Course is a little harder (a half stroke or so) than The Lakes and it has a unique feel - at times it feels a Hill Country Course with rolling fairways and stunning views and on other holes it has a links feel with wind, natural areas, and open treeless fairways.  The Highlands Course will test your game and course management skills thanks to lots of forced carries, elevation changes, blind shots, wind, dog legs and strategically placed bunkers.  And the panoramic views of the surrounding country, the downtown Houston skyline, the upscale Galleria shopping area, and Reliant Stadium, which is Houston's sport complex, are stunning.

The course itself is also stunning with the views as well as the lush green fairways, contrasting sand bunkers, and the natural areas with a wide variety of vegetation.  All of the fairways are lined with natural areas and almost every hole has a forced carry off the tee or on one of the other shots to the green - I contributed several of my golf balls to the natural areas.  The forced carries will make this course very challenging for short hitters or women.

Wildcat's Highlands Course has some fun, demanding, and unusual holes, for example:

  • #6, a short but demanding 336 yard par 4 that's got a slight uphill tee shot to a pinched fairway caused by a large bunker on the right plus a smaller pot bunker in the middle, survive that and you need to stuff it on a green with a severe ridge  
  • #9 is a blast and requires a precise drive to avoid two bunkers and the ravine at the end of the fairway, then a good second blind shot to carry a very intimidating ravine, and a precise shot to a downhill green - if you've played the course before and know the layout, you might risk going for the green on the second shot
  • #14 is a short 349 yard par 4 but its a little tricky with a pinched fairway, a huge fairway bunker, and a hidden bunker on the right front of the green, a small bunker on the left, and a long narrow green
  • 17 and 18 will make you want to come back and play The Highlands again because they offer a little of everything - lots of obstacles including water, bunkers, forced carries, uphill shots, tiered greens, blind shots, and more

When we played in October 2012, the fairways were in very good condition and the rough was thick and challenging - miss the rough and you're lost in a natural area.  The fairways are rolling, sloping, and contoured and there are lots of uphill as well as downhill shots. 

The Highlands Course greens were also in very good condition - fast, smooth, and true.  They ranged in size from small to about average, most are guarded, some are raised, and all have some slope and contour. 

The bunkers varied in size and shape from small oval pot bunkers to some real monsters.  The fairway bunkers had very firm gritty sand and the greenside bunkers varied from soft and fluffy to thin and firm.

Bottom line - if you're in Houston, Wildcat Golf Club is a must play and make sure you play both courses.

 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,954 73.6 138
Gold 6,549 71.7 134
Blue 6,116 69.3 122
White 5,617 67.4 114
Red 5,005 64.7 106

Course Information

Course Architect:
Ray Case
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
9.3
Greens Difficulty
8.8
Fairway Condition
9.3
Bunker Condition
9.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Hard
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 2 holes and the 45 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.8 out of 10
Beauty:
9.0
Difficulty:
8.8
Variety:
8.0
Fun to Play:
9.3
Value:
8.8
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
9.0
Back Nine Rating:
9.0
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$57.00 to $78.00

Service is ok, but the cart lady didn't show up that often. The proc shop is well stocked, the locker rooms are first class, and the practice facilities and Matt Swanson School of Golf is good. The grill serves some excellent food!

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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.