Bentwater - Grand Pines Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Website · Locate This Course

Dsc_0584 Dsc_0608 Dsc_0586

Bentwater - Grand Pines Review

Review of Grand Pines Golf Club at Bentwater

Sitting on 1400 acres between San Houston National Forest and over a mile of shoreline on beautiful Lake Conroe, Bentwater is a gated master planned community with lots of amenities (yacht club and marina, fitness center, tennis courts, country club and restaurant, and day spa) and 54 spectacular holes of golf. 

Each of the three courses is a little different from the others and each has it's own unique personality:

  • Grand Pines is the newest and most exclusive of the three private courses and plays through stately pines, across creeks and ponds, and around lots of sand traps - making it the most challenging of the three 18s
  • The Weiskopf 18 has broad fairways, Tiff Dwarf greens, sugar-white bunkers, and three good holes on Lake Conroe  - read our review of Weiskopf
  • The Miller Course, designed by internationally acclaimed Scott Miller is contoured around a natural creek and a 3-acre lake and features the pine straw roughs used at Augusta National as well as Champion Bermuda greens with Lake Conroe as a backdrop.  Here is a link to our review of the Miller Course at Bentwater.

Grand Pines is a stunning course on 182 acres surrounded by Sam Houston National Forest and it was designed by Jeff Blume to preserve the natural beauty of the area - which means there will never be any homes, yards, streets, or barking dogs - it's just you, nature, and lots of stuff to challenge your golf game. 

Here are a few of the reasons why we love this course and why it made our list of the Best Private Courses in Texas:

  • Grand Pines is very demanding and will throw a lot at you but it's fair and if you play strategically you'll have a good round
  • the course is scenic with white sand bunkers, towering pines, lush fairways, and glistening ponds
  • the layout is outstanding with no two holes similar to the previous hole
  • the pace of play is excellent with a minimum of 10 minute intervals
  • the conditions are outstanding and the service is top notch - you can even order from your cart and food or drink will be delivered
  • plenty of ice water on the course as well as ice buckets, bottled water, and cold apples on a couple holes plus lemonade and iced tea at the turn - a great treat when it's 100 degrees outside

Some of what you'll encounter during your round on Grand Pines includes: very challenging green complexes that require some precise approach shots; forced carries over water and natural areas; a 2 inch or more rough that is difficult to hit from; some uphill as well as downhill shots; strategically placed bunkers; some risk reward opportunities; plenty of contour, undulation, and mounding in the fairways creating some uneven lies; tight to wide-open landing zones; dense forest that will devour your golf ball if you spray it.  Sounds challenging, and it is, but Grands is fair but does require some shot making and strategic play!

The layout is outstanding and there are some really fun holes, for example:

  • #9 is a great 570 yard par 5 with a deep ravine that you need to carry off the tee box followed by a dog leg right with a huge fairway bunker at the turn and than a shot across the lake to the green
  • #10 requires some shot making to stay short of the creek on the drive and then carry the creek and avoid 5 bunkers on a slight inline up to the green
  • #13 is a 551 yard par 5 with a fairway split by a lot of dense trees - the right side is safer but will most likely require two shots to make the dog leg left and give you a shot at the green while the left side is very risky (a natural area and 5 bunkers to avoid) but a lot shorter and an opportunity to be on in two - all of that is followed by a raised green surrounded by 3 more good sized bunkers
  • #18 will make you want to play Grand Pines again - a beautiful 446 yard par 4 with a huge oblong fairway bunker and then a shot over a pond to the green with 2 bunkers on the back side

When we played Bentwater's Grand Pines in August, it was in excellent condition from tee box to the cup and meticulously maintained.  The fairways were lush, plush, and soft and the rough was around 2'' and challenging but in very good condition. 

The greens at Grand Pines are huge, fast at around 11, but fairly soft and true.  Most are raised (making a bump and run very difficult) and well guarded with water, bunkers, slope, swales, or mounds - putting a premium on your approach shots.  A few of the greens were still recovering from some minor winter damage around the fringe (like 95% of the courses in Texas) but the greens were still very playable.

The bunkers range from small pot bunkers to some huge multi-fingered monsters.  Some are very step and deep and others have a thin lip that you might get lucky and bounce out of. The sand is soft and thick and a joy to hit from.

Bottom line - a fantastic layout that is fair but demanding, top notch service, and excellent conditions.

Dsc_0590 Dsc_0594 Dsc_0596

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,100 74.1 146
Blue 6,181 72.3 141
White 6,147 71.2 129
Gold 6,712 73.1 143
Red 5,321 72.2 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jeff Blume
Greens Type:
Mini Verde
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 65 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Initiation Fees: $40,001 to $55,000
Monthly Dues: $401 to $600

Service is excellent, the practice facilities are good, the pro shop has everything you need, and the clubhouse has a good restaurant.



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.