Cleburne Golf Links Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.1

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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Cleburne Golf Links Review

Review & Rating of Cleburne Golf Links in Cleburne, Texas

The old Cleburne Municipal Golf Course was redesigned and redone July 2009 and the new Cleburne Golf Links may be home to the only true Scottish links course in the metroplex.  The course has a real links feel to it thanks to the wind, tall dense native rough, and wide-open fairways as it plays along the edge of Lake Pat Cleburne - reminds one of the links courses in Ireland. The course was designed by John Colligan, a local who has also designed Mansfield National and Squaw Valley - another couple of great courses.

John's philosophy is that "golf should be enjoyed, not endured" - cheers to that philosophy. He made that happen at Cleburne Golf Links - with 5 sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 7068 to 5399 yards plus a junior tee box at 2695 yards.  The tips provide a good challenge for scratch golfer and has several long carries, while the other tee boxes offer something for all skill levels.

We found the Cleburne Golf Links to be pretty easy and we had a good enjoyable round - the fairways are forgiving, the rough is wide and playable, and greens are big and manageable.  However, the wind can be ferocious, the 14 bunkers are small but deep and treacherous, and if you miss the fairway you're lost in tall dense native grass.  You have a view of Lake Pat Cleburne from every hole and a lot of the holes play along the water, but it only causes problems on 4 holes. Six holes are doglegs and the rest are mostly what-you-see is what-you-get - pretty open and straight. Bottom line, this is a course where you can relax, not get beat up, and have an opportunity to score very well.

There are some fun holes, like:

  • #4 which is a 320-yard par 4 with a slightly elevated tee box, a carry over a lake, to a green set off to the left on a peninsula with the lake around three-quarters of the green
  • #5 is a 584-yard par 5 with a slight dogleg right and a fairway split by trees at 180 yards out - the left side approach is safer but narrow and the right is riskier but shorter to the green which is huge because it is a shared green with #12
  • #8 is a picturesque 160-yard par three with a carry over water to a green with a left front bunker and a ridge across the middle
  • #11 is another good hole - 564 yards that plays shorter if you can hug the left side or you can risk the right side narrow approach as the water cuts in splitting the fairway leading to the green.

When we played in May the fairways were not in the best condition - dry, thin, and lots of weeds.  Playable with lots of extra roll.  The fairways are wide and forgiving, but if you miss them you'll never find your ball.

The greens are large with a mixture of some slope and contour plus a few ridges and tiers - nothing significant but your need to study them carefully before putting! The greens were in pretty good condition,  a little bumpy, and a tad slow (8 or so) when we played.

The bunkers are all small pot type bunkers and most are fairly deep - try hard to avoid them!  The sand was ok but the edges needed a little TLC.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,068 74.0 126
Blue 6,140 69.6 116
White 5,493 66.0 108
Gold 6,605 72.2 122
Red 5,399 66.0 108

Course Information

Course Architect:
John Colligan
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 14 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$26.00 to $46.00

Service is good, the pro shop has the basics, and the practice facilities are good. The clubhouse has a great patio overlooking the lake the burger is one the best I've had in a long time!



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.